What We Miss When We Move

For four years I lived in Anchorage Alaska. Yes, I was a short timer. When I first moved there I thought I would live there forever! Then winter happened! In October! And I found that cold weather makes me angry. If it is below zero, I hate you. I’m sorry, I don’t know you, but I hate everything and everyone when I am cold. It was horrible. I don’t like being angry. I like to be a nice person. Then I met a gorgeous fighter pilot and I didn’t have to worry about moving again. The Air Force decided when and where I was going to move. Easy! No more decisions.

There were times when Alaska was magical. And maybe it’s just that I’m nice and warm in my house in Idaho, but sometimes I miss Alaska. I would like to go ice-fishing again, ice skating on a pond, see the Northern Lights, go to Charlie’s Bakery. Ah, Charlie’s Bakery. Crazy craziness, only in Alaska. They have the most beautiful cakes and pastries, French baguettes, opera bars – glorious, yummy sandwiches and the best dim sum in town. One side of the menu is soups and sandwiches and the other side is traditional Chinese food. Sometimes it was so hard to decide if I wanted a sandwich or dumplings. I’m getting so hungry! One thing I always had was a coconut bun. So good. Probably full of dairy. Now I’m sad. Even if I go back to Anchorage I won’t be able to have a bun.

Coconut buns are a traditional item found in Chinese bakeries and not so traditional Alaskan bakeries. They take some time to make, with all the kneading and rising. I think they are worth the trouble, at least every other year.

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Dairy-Free Coconut Buns

1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage (not canned)
1/4 cup dairy free margarine
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour, or more if needed

Filling:
1/4 cup dairy free margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup soy milk powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup finely grated coconut

Directions

  1. Place 1/3 cup sugar and milk in a small saucepan, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add 1/4 cup margarine, and gently warm the mixture until the margarine melts and the mixture is warm but not hot (no warmer than about 100 degrees F (40 degrees C). In a large bowl, stir together the yeast with 2 1/2 cups flour until well blended, and pour the milk mixture into the flour-yeast mixture. Stir in 1 beaten egg, and mix until the mixture forms a sticky, wet dough.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead for about 10 minutes, gradually kneading in 1 cup of additional flour or as needed to make a smooth, elastic dough. Form the dough into a round ball, place into an oiled bowl, and turn the dough around in the bowl a few times to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with a cloth, and allow dough to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. I turned my oven to warm, turned it off and put the dough in to rise.
  3. Cream 1/4 cup margarine with 1/2 cup of sugar in a bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy, and stir in dry milk powder, 1/2 cup flour, beaten egg and the coconut until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Set the filling aside.
  4. Working on a floured surface, punch down the dough, and cut into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece into 8 equal-sized pieces (16 pieces total). Form each piece into an oblong bun, and flatten the bun with a floured rolling-pin or your fingers. Scoop up about 1 tablespoon of filling with a spoon, and place in the center of a bun. Pull and pinch the edges of the dough together to enclose the filling in the bun*. Repeat with all dough pieces, and place the filled buns, seam sides down, onto the prepared baking sheets. Cover the buns with a cloth, and allow to rise in a warm place 1 hour.
  5. Pre-heat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until the buns are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

*I flattened out the filling and then rolled the dough back over the filling so that there was coconut throughout the roll. (I should have taken a picture of that)

Also, the filling was sticky,really sticky.

The only thing I want to work on is the filling. I think the soy milk powder is too rich. I don’t care enough to make a yeast dough again right away though. And my kids weren’t impressed with these so I’ll be eating them all by myself. Maybe they freeze…who am I kidding? I’m sure I’ll eat them without much of a problem.

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