Usually on the weekends when we have extra time, we like to make desserts – so one weekend, I asked Daniel what he felt like making and the little boy in him said he wanted to make Chinese Coconut Buns. I was like – what is that? He told me when he was young, his parents would take him out for Dim Sum and he would always order the Coconut Buns – which are soft buns that is filled with a sweet coconut filling. These are also similar to the Filipino’s Pan de Coco. Nowadays, only certain restaurants or bakeries offer these buns, so it’s been awhile since he’s had them. I’ve probably never had these before, so it’s not only my first time making it, but also eating it! What surprises me is that Daniel doesn’t like to eat sweets, but this Chinese dessert is one of his favorites. They are actually quite filling to eat, since you get the denseness from the bread along with the thick coconut, honey, and butter mixture. The only thing I would forewarn you is that the filling is very sweet, so if you prefer less sweetness, don’t add a lot of honey. To make these buns, we seeked out a recipe courtesy of Jun-Blog that helped us recreate Daniel’s favorite childhood treat!
The first step in making the bread is activating the yeast. Simply take 2 tsp or 1 pack instant yeast, 1/4 cup tepid water, and 1 tsp sugar. Dissolve yeast in tepid water, which is water with a temperature anywhere between 100 and 110 degrees F. To proof yeast, add 1 tsp sugar and let stand for 10 minutes. If the mixture doubles in volume then yeast is active.
Next is making the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together 3 1/2 cups flour, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tsp salt. Then add 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup melted butter, 3 eggs, and the yeast and combine well.
If you don't have an electric mixer to knead the dough for you, then I guess you'll be exercising your arms by kneading it by hand.
Let the dough rest in a bowl greased lightly with canola oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about an hour or until the size doubles.
While the dough is rising, prepare the coconut filling by adding 1 cup coconut flakes, 3 tbsp melted butter, 5 tbsp honey, and 1 egg yolk into a food processor.
Mix it together until it forms a paste-like consistency.
Now to create the bun: Punch the dough and divide it into two. Roll each half into an 8-inch log and cut into 3- to 4-oz pieces. There will be around 5 to 6 pieces. Roll each piece into a 5- by 3-inch rectangle. Place 1-1/2 tablespoon coconut filling lengthwise along the center. Bring the the long sides up and over the filling and pinch all the edges to seal. Make sure the edges are adequately sealed to prevent the coconut filling from spilling out while the buns are baking.
Place the pieces with the seam-side down on a greased baking sheet with around a 1/2-inch space between buns. Let the buns rise for another 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. To make the egg wash, whisk together 1 egg and 1 tbsp water together in a small cup. Lightly brush the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds on top. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Your house will smell like a bakery when you are done baking these wonderful Coconut Buns. It's best to eat them when it's warm and soft with a cup of coffee or tea. I enjoyed a few bites, which is all my sweet tooth could handle, and shared the rest with family and friends. This turned out to be a great recipe from jun-blog and we are so thankful that he was able to share this with us. That is what's so great about the internet - there's a wealth of information out there that can help you cook your favorite meals and treats. We hope that our step-by-step photos of recreating these Chinese Coconut Buns will help motivate you to make it on your own! Good luck!
To view or print-out this recipe, click here: Chinese Coconut Buns at Jun-Blog