Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Honestly These Are The BEST Sticky Buns

Recently some friends and I had another fun Baking Day. We made scones from scratch...no mixes allowed... then made a nice no knead bread, but the best bread of the day was the sticky buns. Sticky Buns were the most requested recipe the last time we baked together and I happen to have an awesome one. It started life as a Sourdough Sticky Bun recipe. In truth the sourdough tang cuts the sweetness in a very nice way, but since my sourdough starter has been gone for a year, pretty much, I altered the master recipe to use sweet dough.

This is about as far from diet food as you can get. The recipe also makes a lot of buns, so I also figured out how to make them so that you could finish off the buns using frozen dough rolls. That means you can bake just a few or the whole shebang. Just don't crowd them when you put them in the pan. It also means that you don't have to get up at 4 am to start the rolls in order to have baked buns by breakfast. That's got my vote!

Now, let me tell you about these. They are very buttery, soft in the middle and coated with a sticky sauce that is really a brown sugar caramel. When eaten just a little warm they are one of the best breakfast treats you can imagine. Leftovers (if there are any), warmed a little, make a great midnight snack or tea time treat. Basically, they are excellent and decadent and soooo delicious whenever you have them.

Think of the recipe as a multi-part exercise in kitchen fun. As with most yeast doughs, you start out proofing the yeast, letting it re-hydrate and bloom in barely warm water. Then you make a rich dough and let it rise. Now for the fun part; rolling out the dough, spreading it with lots and lots of melted butter, then sprinkling on a generous amount of cinnamon, then even more brown sugar and rolling the whole thing up into a log.

You can cut the log into rolls with a sharp knife, but do try the cool trick of sliding a length of dental floss (any kind will do) under the roll, bringing an end up on either side of the roll, crossing the ends and pulling quickly. Presto!

The floss cuts the roll without squashing it and the roll is ready to be laid, cut side down, on parchment paper. Once all the rolls have made it to the parchment paper, they go into the freezer, right on a baking sheet. When frozen solid, you can put them into a seal-able freezer bag to wait until you are ready to bake.

If I know I'll be baking the buns in the morning, I will prepare the pans with melted butter and brown sugar the night before, take the buns out of the freezer bag and put them over the butter mixture, still frozen, then pour on the heavy cream. (I told you this isn't diet food, didn't I?) The pan goes into the fridge overnight. That lets the buns thaw so that in the morning they rise more quickly.

In the morning take the pan out of the fridge, let the buns rise while you preheat the oven, then put the pan in the oven to bake. Even if the rolls still look unrisen and frozen, they still bake up to be lovely, golden brown buns, filling the pan and surrounded with bubbling caramel topping. Well, it becomes topping when you take the pan out of the oven, let it cool slightly, then flip the pan over, with the rolls then coated with the gooey, decadent caramel topping. (See photo at top of post.) Serve and enjoy while they are still warm, but give 'em a few minutes because very hot sugar can burn. While they cool that little bit, just take in that amazing cinnamon-sugar-yeast bread aroma like in the mall, only better. If you make these, let me know how you like them. And give thanks that DeeDee let me have this recipe for the best sticky buns ever, so I can share it with you. Aren't you glad I did?

Unforgettable Cinnamon Sticky Buns from DeeDee 
Frozen slices version
Makes 20 - 24 rolls

1) 1 Pkg yeast
    1 1/2 cups warm water (about 108-110 degrees F)
    1 teaspoon sugar
Place yeast, water and sugar in a small bowl. Let stand 5 minutes to proof the yeast.

2) 1 cup all-purpose flour, whisked with 1 cup water until smooth
    1/2 cup melted butter, cooled (1 stick)
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 eggs, beaten
    2 teaspoons salt
Add the yeast mixture to the the flour/water mixture. Mix in the melted butter, sugar, eggs and salt.

3) 6-8 cups all-purpose flour
Add enough flour to make a soft dough (6 - 8 cups). Oil a large bowl or rising container, Add the dough, turn to coat, cover and let rise until doubled.

4) Divide dough in half. Work with each piece separately.

Roll the first piece of dough to a 12" x 10" rectangle.

5) 1/2  stick butter (1/4 cup), melted
Spread dough liberally with melted butter, leaving a 1/2 inch rim around the edges unbuttered

6) 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon

7) 1/3 pound brown sugar
Cover with the brown sugar, leaving a 1/2 inch rim around the edges without brown sugar
(Optional - sprinkle with 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans for Pecan Sticky Buns)

8) Roll up from the long side and cut into 1 - 1 1/2 inch slices (cut 10-12). I used dental floss to cut them and they turned out great that way. Here the first batch is laid out for the freezer, but to bake right away, go to step 11.

9) Repeat from step #4 with the other half of dough. You will have a total of 20-24 slices.

10) (OPTIONAL): Place slices, cut side down, on a parchment or silicon mat lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm. Remove from sheet and seal airtight in a zip closed gallon bag. (I put a small piece of waxed paper between the slices to make them easy to remove when I was ready for them.) Return to freezer until ready to bake.

11) When ready to bake, remove frozen slices from freezer (if you froze them). Cover bottom of two 9 x 13 inch pans well with 1/2 cup melted butter each (which means you will use 4 sticks or 2 cups butter for the recipe). 

12) Sprinkle with about 1/3 pound brown sugar in each pan (which means you will use a full pound plus 1/3 of a pound of brown sugar for the whole recipe). 

13) Add the freshly cut or frozen rolls, cut side down. Pour about 2/3 cup heavy cream around the rolls in one pan and 2/3 cup heavy cream around the rolls in the other pan (for a total of 1 1/3 cups heavy cream). Let rise until doubled.

14) Bake in preheated 400 degree F oven for 25 - 30 minutes until brown.
Let rolls cool slightly before serving so no one gets burnt with the hot sugar. Serve with the bottom, sticky, side up. Suggest that ones taken home be reheated in microwave at half power for 1 minute.

I also figured out a lemon version, but that will be in another post.

1 comment :

  1. They do indeed look very sticky! Love the look of the lemon ones