Lunchbox Treats – Mini Finger Buns

My little cherubs return to school next week, which for me means re-stocking the pantry and freezer with lunchbox goodies. The lunchboxes my kids take to school typically feature a sandwich (usually vegemite!), fruit, yoghurt and either a muesli bar or a home-baked treat such as a muffin or pikelets.
Finger Buns are an occasional treat I pop in, and I’ll admit to a strong craving for finger buns with my cup of tea about 10pm at night! They bring back fond memories of the school canteen – that soft, pillowy goodness sliced through the middle and buttered, and trying to lick the big sticky mess from your fingers before the recess bell rang.
I’ll buy finger buns from the supermarket when I see them on special and halve them – I find them far too big for little mouths! I bought a package earlier in the week and was quite shocked to see about a gazillion ingredients listed – surely I can make a healthier version at home? I can and I did – my mini versions are just perfect for popping into lunchboxes or for afternoon tea.

Mini Finger Buns
Makes 12
2 cups plain flour
1/3 cup caster sugar
3 teaspoon dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon butter/marg
1 tablespoon boiling water
food colouring, dessicated coconut, sprinkles, etc – optional
1. Preheat oven to 200 °C. Combine flour, yeast, salt & sugar in a bowl. Stir in warm water and oil. Knead in mixer with dough hook for 5-10 minutes. If you don’t have a dough hook, knead by hand on a floured surface for 5-10 minutes or until soft & fluffy, but still slightly sticky.
2. Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for 20-30 minutes or until mix has doubled in size. Remove and knock back to original size.
3. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Form logs from the dough and place 2-3 cm apart on the tray. Return to warm place to rise again for another 20-30 minutes. 
4. Bake buns for 12-15 minutes or until golden on top. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
5. Combine sugar and water together in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Brush glaze over the buns and allow to dry.
6. In a bowl combine the icing sugar, butter or margarine, and just boiled water. Spread icing over the buns and sprinkle with coconut.
* If you use a higher quality bread flour, you’ll get a lighter, fluffier dough. My kids tend to lick off the icing and leave bits of the bun behind, so ordinary plain four is fine for those less-discerning taste buds in my opinion!
* Add pink food colouring and 100’s & 1000’s for a more traditional finger bun. I wanted to keep away from colours so stuck with plain icing & coconut.

* These are best eaten on the day they are made – they do get stale quite quickly. I find if I wrap them individually in glad wrap and put them in the freezer soon after finishing them, I can take them out on a school morning and by morning tea they’ve defrosted nicely in the lunchbox.

As a comparison, here’s my mini version alongside the supermarket finger bun…

Think I’ll put the kettle on and have another one!