Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Sticky Tuesday...

I'm back for my second week of TWD. I was a bit intimidated by this week's recipe because of the yeast involved...yea, never worked with that stuff so I'm clueless. I waited until Monday to get started and realized it would have to sit and rise and chill and all of that good stuff. I didn't have time for all that...I was tired, my stomach hurt...and well, that scared me (you know, like Meredith on Grey's Anatomy...scared of life, scared of love, scared of failure....yea, I was scared of the sticky buns). Oh, and did I mention that the cookbook warned that if you don't have a stand mixer, you should use your own hands because the motor will probably blow if you use a hand mixer. HA! If the motor would give on my hand mixer, how in the heck were my poor little hands going to make it through it?Wimp, wuss, whatever... but I didn't want to give up entirely so I picked up a can of crescent roll dough and made my life easier. Hey, I didn't give up, that's good for something, right? Here is the recipe straight from the Dorie cookbook...and I'll throw the dough recipe in here too, just for sh*ts and giggles.

Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

For the Glaze:
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cups pecans (whole or pieces)

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 (assuming you want to take the easy way out - the all out way is below):
1 can of Pillsbury crescent rolls

Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan is perfect for this).

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 dissovle the sugar. Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, evening it out asbest you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle the pecans over the glaze.

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. (If using the store bought dough, just roll it out and pinch the seams together. Using your fingers or a pastry brush (I used a spatula), 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 glae 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 - using the store bought dough, it made exactly 12) Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.

(No need to do this step if you bought the dough) Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wax paper and set the pan in a warm place until the buns ahve 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: If you used store bought dough, just pop them in and bake according to the package directions.

Using the brioche recipe - 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.

**Just before being popped into the oven

The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven (I used a spoon to pick them up and flip them over, then I spooned excess glaze and pecans onto the top). If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or buttered foil. Be careful - the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.
**Right out of the oven
For the Buns (assuming you want to really go all out):
1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche loaves (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating it overnight)
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 1/3 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

What You'll Need for the Glaze (you would brush this on brioche loaves, but not on the sticky buns):
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

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. (After this, you can proceed with the recipe to make the brioche loaves, or make the sticky buns instead, or freeze all or part of the dough for later use.)
The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.

Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)
Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.

Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.

**You will most likely have some of the glaze and pecans left over even after covering each bun generously, so just take a spoon and dig in! Don't forget this part, it's important, ok?


Joelen said...

Oh my... the buns look fabulous! One of these days I will tackle them from scratch when I get over my yeast intimidation. I'm all for the easy way out - lol.

Amy (Aggiesgirl06) said...

Wow!! These look awesome!!! Well done!!

Christine said...

Great job! Looks yummy!

LyB said...

Oh, you so have to try the brioche dough, nothing compares!

Bumblebutton said...

Whatever works for you! But yeast is not scary--yeast is your friend! They look yummy--and no one the wiser...except everyone who reads your blog!

Madam Chow said...

Hey, it's okay to use a little help when you need it! They look yummy, and I'll bet people liked them.

Prudy said...

Yours look particularly gooey and yummy. I can't believe how much I'm craving them again when I just made them on Friday. Congrats on a job well done!

ostwestwind said...

Yeast needs just patience ...

Well done!
Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

Lori said...

The buns look great!

April said...

The brioche is definitely worth the work! These are still some great looking bunw!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

haha--looks just like the ones in the book, anyway! i would never try making bread with a hand mixer either...it would totally kill it. but if you do get a stand mixer at some point, making yeast bread is really pretty easy (nothing to fear, meredith).

Anonymous said...

Tampa Bay here too! You really shouldn't fear the brioche, it's very easy by hand.

Lani T said...

You're like the MacGyver of the cooking world. No stand mixer? No worries, I'll just pull my trusty crescent dough from the fridge and make it work. From the girl who didn't even attempt this week (and I have a stand mixer), you make me proud!

Rachel said...

You can do the brioche, but you do need 2 days. Welcome to the group!

mimi said...

your buns look terrific, but i bet one day you and yeast will have a wonderful relationship! it really isn't all that bad, really!

Maryanna said...

Those look delish!!

Peabody said...

You did not give up...that is something. Job well done.

Jayne said...

Those look great - but really, yeast is not to be feared!! Give it a shot!