Tuesday, May 27, 2008

TWD: Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

This week’s Tuesday’s with Dorie recipe is Pecan Honey Sticky Buns, from Dorie Greenspan’s book "Baking, From my home to yours". Madam Chow of Madam Chow’s Kitchen must have read my mind, picking this recipe. I was just thinking I need to get back to my cinnamon roll challenge. I’ve made 5 or 6 different recipes (it’s becoming a blur) in search of a recipe I can call my own.

Here are my lovelies ready for the oven (wow, did that just sound like the witch from Hansel & Gretel, or what, LOL?). That's the lowly end-of-the-log bun there in the middle front pan,poor thing:

For my sticky buns, I left out the pecans. I should have been daring and tried them, but just looking at the picture in the book made me think "blech!". Another change I made was to make half sticky buns and half "not-sticky" buns. I frosted the plain rolls with cream cheese icing while still warm from the oven.

The verdict? They tasted great and the filling was spot on. Dorie's "goo" topping is just about perfect. Next time I'll follow her instructions, though, and bring it to a boil first rather than just warming it (I was paranoid about the goo being too sticky). Notice mine ran all over kingdom come.

One criticism, and I had suspected this based on my previous batches, (and it's not really a criticism, more of a personal preference) but I feel that brioche is too fragile to stand up to the gooey topping. I think caramel rolls like this need a regular sweet bread dough. Now, the rolls I topped with cream cheese icing were downright addictive. I would stick with brioche for those. This is only my second time making brioche and it is a melt-in-your-mouth dream. I'm thinking maybe cream cheese danishes would be great with brioche. But anyway, I'm off on a tangent here.

It was a great challenge and as always, I learned tons. For one, I learned was that seven buns in a 9-inch pan is OK...

... but nine buns in a 9-inch pan is not OK.

Seriously, how did I get seven in one and nine in the other? LOL

See you next week, when it's brownie time again!

Makes 15 buns

For the Glaze:
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup honey *I substituted Lyle’s Golden Syrup
1-1/2 cups pecans (whole or pieces) *I omitted these
2 T. cream *this is my addition

For the Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Buns:
1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche Dough (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating it overnight).

Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan is perfect for this). *I used two 9-inch round pans.

To make the glaze: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter, and honey to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. *(I only warmed this slightly past melting the butter.) Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, evening it out as best you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle over the pecans.

To make the filling: Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl. If necessary, in another bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.

To shape the buns: On a flour-dusted work surface, roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months . . . . Or, if you want to make just part of the recipe now, you can use as much of the dough as you'd like and freeze the remainder. Reduce the glaze recipe accordingly).

With a chef's knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends of the roll if they're very ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch thick buns. (Because you trim the ragged ends of the dough, and you may have lost a little length in the rolling, you will get 15 buns, not 16.) Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.

Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wax paper and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled and, in all likelihood, touching one another.

Getting ready to bake: When the buns have almost fully risen , center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove the sheet of wax paper and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and gorgeously golden; the glaze will be bubbling away merrily. Pull the pan from the oven.

The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicone mate or buttered foil. Be careful - the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.

Golden Brioche Dough
Make the entire recipe, then divide the dough in half after chilling. You can freeze the other half for a later date, or make a brioche loaf or a second recipe of sticky buns out of it.

2 packets active dry yeast (each packet of yeast contains approx. 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm

To make the brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can-- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.

Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight.

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