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Today's Case

Colonial Sweet Buns

Subject: buns
From: Nina
Date: 4/30/2021, 10:25 AM

On 4/29/2021 9:11 PM, Nina wrote:


I'm searching for a recipe for a sweet bun that was given included 
with and served before meals at two Northern NJ restaurants that my 
family used to dine at that have long closed. The buns at both 
restaurants were identical, in my memory. 

The first restaurant was The William Pitt Inn in Chatham, NJ.  
The second was The Afton, in Florham Park, NJ.

The sweet buns were spiral cut.  The dough was wrapped around small 
chopped nuts (pecan or walnut?) mixed with a cinnamon sugar goo, and 
were served warm with butter on the side. 

They were so delicious that my Grandmother would ask for extras and 
smuggle them home, wrapped in a napkin, via her purse. 

I saw that your website had a listing for a recipe for Buns - Sticky - 
Dog Team, and another Buns - Cinnamon (Bakery Fresh) that both used 
mashed potatoes in their dough. I don't know if either of these are 
similar, but the Dog Team buns with the brown sugar bottom and walnuts 
sounds similar in form... but I just don't know if the potato dough 
is the recipe from the two restaurants I mentioned.  

By the way, both restaurants were Colonial Era in themes/decor and 
served basic foods like Turkey, Meatloaf, etc. 

I have already searched the internet for these two restaurants' sweet 
bun recipes, but to no avail. They aren't at all like "Cinnabon", nor 
are they iced. They also are not like "Monkey Bread".

Please help me, Dr. Phaedrus.  "You're my only hope."


Hello Nina,

I wish that I could say that I found this recipe, but I'm afraid that I had no success. I searched every resource available to me, and I found several mentions of "The Afton" in Florham Park and a few mentions of  "The William Pitt Inn" in Chatham, but I did not find any mention at all of the buns that you describe from either place.  I found an image of a menu from The Afton, but it did not mention the buns. I do have an old recipe book with two recipes from "The Afton", but they aren't for buns. One is for "Southern Bisque" and the other is for "baked ham."

"Sticky buns", "Chelsea buns," and "cinnamon rolls" were all popular Colonial recipes, and many recipes for these call for cinnamon and nuts. There are a lot of recipes for these buns or rolls on the Internet, but I could not find a recipe with any connection to New Jersey or to the two restaurants that you name.  Perhaps you could find a recipe in a Colonial New Jersey cookbook or just a cookbook of Colonial recipes or perhaps you could get help from the New Jersey Historical Society.

I'll post this for reader input.


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