Here’s a delicious way to use up any leftover mincemeat or cranberry sauce—drop it in spoonfuls over cinnamon-sugared dough before rolling it up into buns. You could bake these in a regular baking dish, but arranging them in a tree shape on a parchment-lined sheet is a fun way to serve them over the holidays.
By Julie Van Rosendaal
Put the warm water in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) and sprinkle with the yeast and a pinch of the sugar.
Let stand 5 minutes, or until the yeast is foamy. (If it doesn’t foam, toss it and buy fresh yeast.)
Add the milk, egg, flour, butter, salt and remaining sugar to the yeast and stir by hand or with the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer until the dough comes together.
Continue to knead with your dough hook or by hand on the countertop until the dough is smooth and elastic — it should be slightly tacky, but not overly sticky.
Cover and let rest for an hour, or until doubled in bulk. (At this point, you could refrigerate the dough overnight and continue assembling the buns the next morning.)
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 10 x 15-inch rectangle.
Brush with melted butter and scatter with brown sugar; smooth the sugar to evenly distribute it, and drop the mincemeat in small spoonfuls evenly overtop—don’t worry about spreading it out. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Starting on a long side, roll the dough up into a log.
Using a serrated knife, cut it crosswise into quarters.
Cut each piece into thirds—this is easier than eyeballing it to get 12 even pieces.
Arrange the rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet starting with one at the top for the tip of the tree, then two underneath, then three, then four — and the two left over go on the bottom to make the trunk.
Cover with a tea towel and let rise for another hour.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the buns are deep golden.
Let cool for a few minutes before drizzling with icing.
To make the drizzle, stir enough orange juice into the sugar to make a drizzling consistency.
Drizzle overtop. Makes 12 buns.