Friday, July 13, 2012

Turtle bread (cookie topped buns)

There are a couple of summer students/undergraduate students in our lab this year and ALL of them are super hard workers. One of them is always in early, often hunched over the lab bench pipetting reagents or doing some complicated calculations, scribbling away in his notebook. Another student is usually scurrying in and out of the lab, preparing for various experiments, a serious, pensive look on his face. Another is mostly hidden away in one of the equipment rooms, monitoring the UV trace on the computer as his sample is being processed. And another has taken over a big chunk of a grad student's work load and who may be getting her very own summer student to mentor.

All these students work extremely hard and incredibly long hours, sometimes working 12 hour work days (at least two are already in the lab before I arrive, and usually two are still remaining as I leave for the day)! These turtle buns are dedicated to our much appreciated summer students and represent how slow us grads would be without you! 

Recipe adapted from Aiya Matcha.

1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast
1 3/4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1 3/4 cup bread flour
1/4 cup white sugar
pinch of salt

4 1/4 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, separated
3/4 cup pastry or all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

3 tsp ground almond
3 tsp ground black sesame seeds
2 tsp matcha (fine powder green tea)

Extra white sugar
5 or 6 dark chocolate chips

Dissolve yeast in milk and let bubble for 5 mins. Add butter, egg, flour, sugar, and salt and mix until homogeneous. Let proof for several hours until at least doubled in size.

Meanwhile, prepare the cookie by mixing butter, sugar, and egg yolk (save egg white to brush on dough). Combine flour and baking powder until smooth. Separate dough into three equal parts. Add almond into one part, ground sesame into second part, and matcha powder into third part and mix until you get three cookie doughs with three different colours. Refrigerate.

Knead dough for 5 minutes, then separate into 16 equal parts, roughly 20 - 25 g each. Save one part to make the turtle heads. Knead the other 15 parts for 1 minute and roll into a ball. Place on buttered baking sheet making sure to keep them separated by at least 2 inches. Cut the extra part into 15 small pieces, roughly 4 - 6 g each and roll into small balls. Attach them to the large balls.

Let proof for about 1.5 hours or until turtles have increased by 1.5x in size.

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Roll out cookie dough about 5mm in thickness and cut with round cookie cutter. Brush tops of turtle dough with egg whites and place cookie on top. Score cookies in cross hatch pattern. Dust cookies with extra white sugar.

Bake for about 18 - 22 mins. Turtle heads should become slightly golden. Take out and cool for at least 20 mins or enough so that chocolate will not melt on them.

Melt the chocolate chips, and using the tines of a fork or the thin end of one chopstick, dot the eyes of each turtle and let cool for at least 30 mins.



  1. These are the cutest cookies! You're very creative Jen! Posting this on my Pinterest page.

  2. You bake really good. So much to inspire ourselves from. I need to thank you for 2 things, first for nominating me for 1 lovely blog award. Second, I forgot to visit the market due to my hectic schedule but your blog inspired me back once again to the places I love to visit the most.