Twisted Sweet Adzuki Bean Roll

sweet buns w adzuki bean filling n

Stuffed sweet dough is fairly easy to make and yields delicious results. Sweet, nutritious adzuki beans burst from this roll sprinkled with black sesame seeds. 

I have happy memories of making both steamed and baked versions of sweet buns for New Year’s Eve in Alaska a few years ago. These Arctic anpan were enjoyed by everyone. Back in those days, I relied on my Zojirushi bread maker to mix and rise all the dough for me. Now that we are in Mongolia, I am determined to make all my dough from scratch without the aid of any kind of machine. I’ve found that my bread machine recipes need just a little tweaking in order to convert them to fully handmade.

This from-scratch sweet dough recipe is simple enough. In order to amp up the looks of this confection, I jelly-rolled sweet adzuki paste into the sweet dough, slashed the dough as you would miniature French bread loaves, brushed them with egg to give the finished product a golden brown sheen, and sprinkled black sesame seeds for added flavor and a dash of “wow.” A friend at work told me these confections reminded her of bakery goods she used to buy in fancy Vietnamese boulangeries.

Sweet Adzuki Bean Roll


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten (reserve 1 tbsp egg)
  • 6 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sweet adzuki paste*
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds


  1. Whisk sugar, milk and yeast together in a large bowl. Let stand for a few minutes until yeast starts to foam.
  2. Stir in egg, oil, and salt.
  3. Stir in flour and mix until well combined.
  4. Turn dough out onto floured surface.
  5. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  6. Place dough in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Roll dough into a thick rope.
  9. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces.
  10. Roll each piece into a rectangle, about 5 inches by 6 inches.
  11. Spread adzuki bean paste (about 2 tbsp) onto rectangle, avoiding the edges.
  12. Roll the dough, jellyroll-style. Pinch to seal the seam.
  13. Place rolls, seam side down on baking sheet.
  14. Repeat with remaining rolls.
  15. Cover rolls and let rise for 30 minutes.
  16. Slash the rolls a few times with sharp knife.
  17. Brush all rolls with reserved egg. Sprinkle rolls with black sesame seeds.
  18. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  19. Bake for 20 minutes. Finished buns should be browned and shiny.

*I made adzuki bean paste using just dried adzuki beans, water and sugar following the excellent directions from Japanese Cooking 101.

Dough recipe adapted from

Rustic Pear Gallette with Whole Wheat Blend Crust

gallette pear n

The sweet secret to this gallette is a generous layer of homemade cloudberry jam beneath the pears No cloudberries? Try raspberry, blackberry or apricot jam.

A gallette is a beautiful dessert that can whipped up on short notice – a perfect answer to a seasonal abundance of fresh fruit. During the summer, we made a delicious strawberry-port gallette with sliced almonds in the galley of our sailboat. Since it is wintertime, we decided to make the gallette a bit more full-bodied by adding wheat flour and some cornmeal to the crust. We happened to have pears on hand, but many other fruits readily lend themselves to this recipe. Enjoy a slice of pear gallette with a side salad, a favorite cheese and a freshly brewed cup of tea for a satisfying lunch in any season.

Rustic Pear Gallette


  • 1  cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (we made this from powdered)
  • 2 tablespoons cloudberry jam, or jam of your choice
  • 2 D’Anjou pears, thinly sliced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar mixed with a pinch of ground cinnamon


  1. Mix together flours, sugar, cornmeal and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Using a pastry blender, mix in cold butter. Continue mixing until cold butter is the size of peas.
  3. Slowly mix in buttermilk. Stir with rubber spatula until dough forms into a ball.
  4. Wrap dough in plastic and chill for about 30-45 minutes in refrigerator.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  6. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the size of a baking sheet.
  7. Place chilled dough on center of parchment paper.
  8. Roll dough to about a 15-inch circle. This is a rustic dessert, so no need to be a perfectionist here.
  9. Brush the entire rolled dough with jam.
  10. Arrange pear slices atop dough, leaving a 2-inch border.
  11. Fold border over pears, pressing down any folds of dough.
  12. Brush dough with egg.
  13. Sprinkle dough and pears with sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  14. Bake gallette 40 – 45 minutes, until dough is golden brown and pears are soft.
  15. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Bread

Walnut, cinnamon, and freshly grated Fuji apples make peanut butter sandwiches something to look forward to.

I love variety in my meals. I love sampling new foods and new food combinations. So it might seem paradoxical that I could happily eat a peanut butter sandwich every day for lunch. Jack… not so much. After a few consecutive days of peanut butter sandwiches, he diplomatically asks if we could change up the lunch menu. This year, I vowed to make lunches more interesting. Chili on rice, calzones, stew on baked potatoes, and salmon sandwiches have satisfied Jack’s need for variety. And so, with time ticking away toward the end of another year in the bush, I looked in the cupboard at the last third of our 80-ounce jar of Adam’s peanut butter. An idea! What if I made peanut butter sandwiches on fruit bread? Let me tell you how well this went over… When I asked Jack if he wanted salmon pizza or a peanut butter sandwich for lunch tomorrow, he chose a peanut butter sandwich! I’m not planning on going back to peanut butter every day, but we are both happy it is still in the rotation.

Apple Cinnamon Walnut Bread


  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon (we love cinnamon)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 grated Fuji apple (a little more than a cup)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped coarse


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In another mixing bowl, combine sugar and applesauce. Mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just moistened.
  4. Stir in grated apple.
  5. Stir in walnuts.
  6. Pour into a greased bread pan (8 in. x 4 in. x 2 in.)
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 55 – 65 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

We enjoy fruit breads and use the above recipe as a base. It’s easy to substitute different types of fruit and spices. Pear bread with ginger and banana bread with cinnamon and nutmeg are two other favorite fruit breads that make excellent peanut butter sandwiches or breakfast toast.