Monday, March 5, 2012

Rock Buns

My Grandmother.....
When I was younger, my grandmother often came over and spent the weekend.  This was always so exciting, because I was lucky enough to have one of those grandmothers who spoiled me with attention, cuddles & kisses.  AND when we baked together she would let me put sprinkles on everything - & when your 6, the person who lets you put sprinkles on things is the next best thing to Santa Claus. 

One of the earliest memories I have in the kitchen is baking Rock Buns with my grandmother.  Rock buns are an excellent breakfast/snack foods.  Think muffins without the bottom (I only eat the tops of muffins...unless it is an amazing muffin - like a chocolate chip muffin - only then I might consider eating the bottom).  Rock buns are super easy to make.  They take maybe 15 minutes to mix, and 25-30 minutes to bake.  And you can put pretty much anything in the rock buns to make different variations - shredded coconut, cranberries, chocolate chips...the options are endless!

It was my grandmothers 87th birthday last weekend.  Like many 87 year old, her short-term memory is not too good, and she sometimes has a vacant look in her eyes.  It's the unfortunate signs of Alzheimer’s setting in. 

Her story is not unlike many woman with a South Asian background from her generation - Arranged marriage at 13, had her first child (of nine) at 15, complete with relocating to a new country at 50 & then losing her husband of 40 years (my grandfather - who I never had the pleasure of knowing) to lung cancer.  What makes her story unique, and why I still see her as the superhero from my childhood days, is when her husband passed away she pushed on, put her existing skills to use and embarked on a her first  career (outside of the home) as a seamstress.  Also, once she retired she discovered a hidden talent for art at 65, creating some of the most wonderful paintings that I am proud to have on my walls. 

I know that there may not be too many years left, and those that are will not be easy as her memories slip farther away.  But I will always be grateful for my memories, the cuddles & kisses and the Rock Buns.

Rock Buns
(makes about 24)


2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar (either brown or white, up to you)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate cups (optional)
1/2 cup coconut (optional)
1/2 cup cranberries (optional)
1/4 cup turbinado sugar or nonpareils for sprinkling


(1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
(2) Line a couple of baking trays with parchment paper; set aside
(3) In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder
Flour, sugar & baking powder...
(4) Add cold butter in pieces (I cut mine into 1 inch chucks); cut butter into flour with dry clean fingertips or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles a course meal
Course meal texture...
(5) Combine 'optional' ingredients with the flour/butter 'course meal' mixture

Optional Ingredients: 1/2 cup Cranberries & 1/2 cup Coconut                     1/2 cup Chocolate Chips                     

(6) In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and vanilla together
(7) Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture; fold flour mixture and egg mixture with a spatula until it just comes together
-if the mixture is too crumbly and does not come together, add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time and continue to fold until the mixture comes together like a rough cookie dough
Rock Bun dough with chocolate chips...                          Plain Rock Bun dough...                    
(8) Using two spoons, scoop about a golf ball sized mound with the first spoon and push it onto the baking tray with the second spoon
-It's okay if the bun is irregularly shaped (the idea is to make them look like a rock...hence the name - 'Rock Buns'...). 
Almost ready to bake!
(9) Brush each rock bun lightly with milk; sprinkle with nonpareils or turbinado sugar
Okay, now we are ready to bake...
(10) Bake for 25-30 minutes, until edges are golden brown
(11) Remove the Rock Buns from the oven and let cool slightly on baking trays before moving them to cooling racks
Baked Rock Buns...

(12) Rock Buns can be served slightly warm; alternately, you can warm them up (either in the microwave or in the oven @325 degrees) before serving them as well

My Dad likes the shredded coconut and cranberry variety....
I had 'a-ha' moment yesterday (I love Oprah) - rock buns with lemon zest.  I think I will be doing that sometime next weekend. 

Happy Cooking!


  1. I recently got some rock buns from a blogger in the Caymans. They were very good with coconut and raisins. However, I do like the idea of cranberries and chocolate chips better. I am saving this recipe, never made rock cakes but I am sure this will not disappoint. Have a nice evening!

    1. Thanks for the lovely comments Tina! These Rock Buns really are awesome. My sister came up with another potential combination....Jalapenos and Cheddar – I think I’ll be trying this combination as well.

  2. These rock buns looks amazing! They kind of look like scones but with crispier edges! Love it :)

  3. These look so yummy! I'd eat about four straight away... maybe its not such a good idea for me to make them!

    1. That's exactly what happens to me. I eat a bunch of them straight out of the oven then I go for a Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Thanks for the recipe and the story of your wonderful grandmother! Can't wait to bake up a batch!

    1. Thanks for the lovely comments and for stopping by! Have a great day :)

  5. Your top of the muffin comment made me think of that Seinfeld episode. The rock buns look absolutely delicious in the last photo!

    1. Haha. I do love that Seinfield episode...but it's true. I really don't like the bottoms of muffins ;)

  6. Delicious! Totally agree with Sarah!

  7. Ah that's a great story about your Grandmother - it's always so amazing what kind of effect the older generation has on us.

    1. Thank you for the lovely comment and for stopping by. Have a great day!

  8. Man you GET the whole Rock Buns thing....I'm having this vision of you letting a special 6 year old girl sprinkle to her heart's content :):) love you AG

  9. Even though she may get that vacant look, I loved reading this story. I didn't have a grandmother that baked with me, let alone have a sprinkle party. I think the memories you shared are beautiful. Happy 87th!
    I have never had rock buns, but they sound great.

    1. Hi Kita. I really appreciate your comments. Thanks for stopping by!