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hummingbird buns

(1 rating)
Kitchen Crew
By Kitchen Crew

The iconic Southern hummingbird cake takes on the delicious form of a breakfast sweet roll! Incredibly soft, fluffy, enriched dough is wrapped around a layer of brown sugar-pineapple filling, sliced bananas, and toasted pecans, making these rolls a delicious variation on the classic cinnamon roll. And don’t forget the cream cheese frosting! Because you can’t have hummingbird cake (or rolls) without it!

Blue Ribbon Recipe

A FEW TIPS: - For best results, measure flour by weight or using the spoon and level method: First, loosen the flour in the canister or bag by fluffing it with a fork. Next, spoon the flour into your measuring cup until it's full. Then, holding the cup over the canister or bag of flour, use the back of a knife to level off the flour. - How to toast pecans: arrange pecan halves on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F for 8 - 10 minutes, until lightly toasted and fragrant. Allow to cool before chopping.

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
(1 rating)
yield 12 piece(s)
prep time 2 Hr 25 Min
cook time 25 Min
method Bake

Ingredients For hummingbird buns

  • 1 c
    whole milk, lukewarm (108-110 degrees F)
  • 1 pkg
    active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp
    plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 4 1/2 c
    all-purpose flour, divided, plus more if needed
  • 6 Tbsp
    unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 c
    sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 lg
    egg, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp
  • 1/2 c
    warm heavy cream, for brushing
  • 2 Tbsp
    unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp
    all-purpose flour
  • 1 c
    pure pineapple juice
  • 2 can
    crushed pineapple, drained (8 oz each)
  • 2/3 c
    light or dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 tsp
    ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp
    ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp
    ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp
  • 1 tsp
  • 1 c
    pecan halves, toasted and finely chopped
  • 2 - 3 md
    spotty bananas, sliced into thin coins
  • 4 oz
    full-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 c
    unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 c
    powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp
    vanilla extract
  • pinch
  • toasted pecans, for topping

How To Make hummingbird buns

  • activate the yeast
    To make the dough, add the warmed milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Let stand 10-15 minutes, until foamy and activated.
  • stand mixer mixing
    Add 2 cups of the flour, remaining sugar, the melted butter, sour cream, egg, and salt to the activated yeast mixture and mix together using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer until combined. Add 2 1/2 cups more flour and mix until a shaggy dough forms. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Switch to the dough hook attachment on your mixer and knead on medium speed for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth, elastic and slightly tacky. If needed, add up to 1/4 cup more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is the correct consistency.
  • dough rising in bowl
    Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large, lightly greased bowl. Turn the dough a few times to coat it in the oil. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
  • filling
    While your dough rises, prepare the filling. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan set over medium-low heat. Add the flour, whisking constantly, until smooth and lightly golden, about 1 minute. Gradually pour in the pineapple juice, whisking as you pour. Add the crushed pineapple, brown sugar, spices, and salt, and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium and bring the mixture to a boil. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch and cook, stirring constantly, for another minute. Remove from heat and pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl. Place uncovered in the fridge to cool completely.
  • dough rolled out with filling
    Grease a 9x13" baking dish with nonstick spray or butter. Punch down the dough to remove all excess air and let rest for 5 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured work surface and roll into an even 18x12" rectangle. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the cooled pineapple filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch bare border on one long side. Sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped pecans over the filling (saving the rest for garnish), then arrange the bananas evenly over the pecans.
  • rolling the dough
    Starting with the long side covered with filling, roll the dough into a tight jelly roll (TIP: use a slight up-and-over motion when rolling to prevent the bananas from sliding). Pinch the dough along the bare border to form a seal. Using unflavored dental floss, trim the ends of the log and then divide into 12 equal rolls. (TIP: if you don't have unflavored dental floss, use a very sharp serrated knife and cut in a gentle sawing motion. The rolls might be a little more squished, but that's okay!)
  • cut rolls in a dish
    Arrange the rolls in the prepared baking dish, then loosely cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm, draft-free place for another 30 to 45 minutes. To test if the rolls are ready to bake, gently poke the dough with your finger -- if it leaves an indentation and slowly rises, they're ready. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • baked rolls
    Brush each roll with warm heavy cream, then pour any remaining cream around the edges of the rolls. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned. (TIP: to get specific, the rolls are baked when an instant read thermometer reads 190°F when inserted into the bready part of the rolls). Let the rolls cool for 10 - 15 minutes before frosting.
  • frosting the rolls
    To make the frosting, place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until combined and creamy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the sifted powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt and mix on medium-high speed until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Spread the cream cheese frosting over the warm rolls and top with remaining pecans. Serve warm and enjoy!
  • 10
    OVERNIGHT MAKE-AHEAD VERSION: Prepare the dough as directed through step 3, allowing the dough to complete its first rise. Punch down the dough, cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge overnight. If the dough is too firm to roll out, leave at room temperature to soften a bit prior to rolling out. Filling can be made 1 to 2 days in advance. Allow the prepared filling to cool at room temperature, then cover tightly and place in the fridge until ready to use.