I sometimes wonder whom I’d be like if I were royalty. Would I be more like Princess Mia in “The Princess Diaries,” a little quirky and clueless but very down-to-earth and well-liked? Would I be more like Marie Antoinette, quiet and enchanting but profligate, aloof and out-of-touch? Or, would I be like Queen Elizabeth, staunch but likeable, prim and proper with a subdued sense of humor? (Do you also like how I included a fake member of royalty in there? My life is half make-believe.)
I’m not sure whom I’d be most like. I’d have to think about it some more (which is also why I can’t be left alone for long periods of time).
One thing I do know for sure — whether I’m royalty or just plain ol’ me, I’ll be having these honeycomb buns with my tea — or coffee or apple cider or hot chocolate or glass of water — many, many times in my future.
I wasn’t sure what to make of this recipe, at first — the photo of the buns on King Arthur Flour’s website shows them baked in their OMGADORABLE honeycomb pan, but seeing as I’m both cheap and lazy, I forwent purchasing said pan and instead went the mini-muffin pan route. The end result, though with far less squee, was delicious. They’re dense and crusty on the outside but yield an airy, light crumb on the inside thanks to their brioche-style composition. They’re the perfect size and extremely addictive when served warm (not that I would know anything about that…), and they taste just as good with tea or a bowl of chili. They’re almost like miniature popovers with a honey-butter glaze brushed on top. I repeat — HONEY. BUTTER. GLAZE. The trifecta of a good recipe, if you ask me. And perfectly worthy of whatever royalty you happen to be.
Adapted ever-so-slightly from King Arthur Flour
Yields: 20 mini buns
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
2 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey
In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment, combine flour, salt, honey and yeast. Add milk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla and stir until just combined. Remove dough from bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 7-10 minutes (or knead on low speed in stand mixer until smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes). Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch down risen dough and divide into 20 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place in lightly greased cups of a mini-muffin pan. Spritz lightly with cooking spray on top, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
When buns have risen, remove plastic wrap and bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes in muffin pan before turning out onto a plate. Meanwhile, make the glaze: Place butter and honey in a microwave-safe bowl and heat 45 seconds to melt butter. Brush glaze evenly over hot buns. Serve warm.