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As we sink into the depths of cooler months, the flicker of warm spices is all the more enticing. Within these unabashedly sticky buns is a swirl of the heaviest of those hitters—Peni Miris Cinnamon, Makhir Ginger, Kandyan Cloves, Baraka Cardamom, and black Aranya Pepper for an extra spark. Outside, they’re cloaked in buttery maple caramel punctuated by the snap and crunch of roasty, toasty pecans. The caramel has the tiniest pour of golden syrup (a light treacle), to keep the glaze from fully soaking into the buns below, instead granting a shining, gilded finish.
And those buns, they’re as pillowy as you’d hope, with a featherlight crumb and an earthy sweetness owed to an unexpected something-something—sweet potatoes. Similar to the tangzhong in shokupan, the introduction of potato starch increases the ability of the dough to hold moisture. For this recipe, use a baked sweet potato, let it cool slightly, then pass through a ricer or food mill.