Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Morning Sticky Buns

If this is wrong, I don't want to be right.
While I love to cook, I really don't do much baking.  Perhaps it's my desire to 'wing it' with nearly all recipes that repels me. A novice really can't improvise when baking - you have to follow recipes very closely, or all those magic chemical reactions that turn seemingly lackluster ingredients into something spectacular, just won't happen.

I make an exception to my no-baing rule when Christmas comes around. I like to make a variety of cookies and pastries, and this year I added a new one to the repertoire - Sticky Buns.  My dad used to always make some sort of sweet baked good on Christmas morning (his sour cream coffee cake can't be beat!), so I had a hankering to make something for the husband and me to enjoy and sticky buns just seemed like a good idea.

This is a recipe by Bobby Flay, and in typical Flay Fashion, it incorporates honey and citrus.  While these did take quite awhile from start to finish, there wasn't really anything tricky to them. And wow, they were SO good, definitely worth it.  My dad would definitely approve.

Sticky Buns a lá Bobby Flay
  • Softened butter for bowls and baking pan
For the glaze:
  • 1 cup light muscavado sugar (I just used used brown sugar since I didn't have this fancy one on hand)
  • 4 T unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted (I opted for pecans, since the hubs and I like them better, even though almonds probably mesh better with the other ingredients)
For the dough:
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1 cup warm milk (not hot, just warm)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus a pinch
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
For the filling:
  • 8 tablesppons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • (I also added a teensy bit of ground clove and nutmeg)
Hot out of the oven! Somewhat
different sizes, but they still taste great
For the glaze:
Combine all ingredients except nuts in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Boil until slightly thickened. Pour the glaze into a buttered 13x9 glass baking dish, and then scatter the nuts over the top.  Cover, and set aside.

For the dough:
Sprinkle yeast over warm milk with a pinch of granulated sugar. Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.  Melt 1/3 cup butter and whisk into yeast with vanilla and egg yolk.

Whisk the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir in yeast mixture to make a sticky dough.  Knead the dough on a floured work surface until soft and elastic, 6 to 8 minutes. Shape into a ball, brush with a little melted butter, and put into a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour. 

Knead the dough and reform into a ball. Return to the bowl, and cover with buttered plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 hours. 
In the dish, and ready to rise  for the last time
For the filling and assembly:
Roll the dough into a 10 x 18 inch rectangle. Spread soft butter over the surface. Whisk 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon together, scatter over butter.  Roll into a long tight cylinder, pinch long edge to seal (my roll came out slightly thicker in the middle due to some lame rolling pin skills, but it was still fine!). Cut into 1 1/2 inch rolls with string or dental floss. Evenly space the rolls in the pan, over and let rise at room temperature until doubled, about 1 1/2 half hours (I let them rise for 1 1/2 hours, and then covered them and refrigerated them so I could bake them first thing in the morning). 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Right before you bake them, brush with a little bit of melted butter. 

Bake until golden, 30-35 minutes.  Rest at room temperature for 10 minutes, unmold an serve warm.

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