Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

sticky buns closeup

The smell of yeast always brings me back to when I was little. My father made the most delicious French bread, and he used a super cool yeast thermometer that I always considered to be somewhat magical. Other than helping him out occasionally ("helping" as in "probably hindering in some way"), I'd never baked with yeast before. So, yet again, TWD is helping me break new ground! Madam Chow chose Pecan Honey Sticky Buns this week, and man, were they delicious.

sticky buns closeup

The brioche dough was a pretty interesting experience. The dough hook on my KitchenAid finally got broken in, and did it ever! The machine was dancing all around while the dough was coming together. I was a little nervous, but it finally did come together into a ball.

sticky buns closeup

During the rising period, I got a bit worried when little pools of butter began to form around the edges. For some reason, my apartment tends to be inordinately hot. I had to open a few windows and then the dough started looking OK again.

sticky buns closeup

After the overnight chill, I froze the other half of the brioche recipe for a rainy day and got down to business rolling out the cinnamon buns. Roll them out... then spread MORE butter on top (unbelievable amount of butter in this recipe), and then the cinnamon sugar. My glaze (sans pecans, since A. and I both think they ruin a good sticky bun) was already melted and waiting in the pan.

sticky buns closeup

sticky buns closeup

sticky buns closeup

After I cut the buns, I arranged them on top of the glaze for the second rise. I put them in the oven, although my whole apartment is so warm I guess I didn't really need to. Anyway, here's the video... (hopefully this one is a bit better than the madelines!)

After they rose and then baked, I flopped them out onto the serving plate and... voila! Yummy, gooey sticky buns. Sooo delicious.

finished sticky buns

Apologies to the coworkers who have to have the day-after sticky buns... although I wouldn't say no ;)

Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Makes 16 buns

For the Glaze:
1 cup (195 g) light brown sugar Note: I used dark brown, so the weight might be more
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup (80 g) honey
1-1/2 cups pecans (whole or pieces) Note: I omitted this

For the Filling:
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
3 tablespoons (40 g) light brown sugar Note: dark brown again
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Buns:
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).

Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan is perfect for this). Note: I used a nonstick 9x13 baking pan.

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. 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 Note: I still got 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 Note: I heated to 350 F since my pan had a dark finish.

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 (this recipe makes enough for two brioche loaves. If you divide the dough in half, you would use half for the sticky buns, and you can freeze the other half for a later date, or make a brioche loaf 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 1/3 cups (490 g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 g) 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.
--end of recipe--

As always, check out all of the other entries over at TWD!


Engineer Baker said...

Coworkers can't complain too much - those look delicious!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Kim, these are some beautiful buns! I love how nicely golden and sticky and caramely (oops, I don't think that is a word) they are. :)

Jess said...

Scrumptious indeed - love the photos!

Bumblebutton said...

Love those little caramel dribbles off the plate. Delicious!

ostwestwind said...

They look absolutely yummy!
Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

mimi said...

wow, your sugary stickiness looks so yummy with its dark color. great buns!

Christine said...

I wouldn't say no to day old sticky buns! They are beautiful and I love the pics!

CB said...

LOVE THE VIDEO! That was so cool. I admit I watched it more than once. HAHA! Beautiful pictures as always...
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Prudy said...

Your glaze looks heavenly!

Marina said...

Representing coworkers:
Not a single complaint was uttered.

Aside from looking delicious, they tasted simply heavenly.

Thank you for sharing the buttery goodness with us ;o)

Katrina said...

they are beutiful with the dark brown sugar glaze!

bakersbakery said...

Beautiful sticky buns! I love the dark glaze. Must be the dark brown sugar?

Mara said...

holy decadent yummy goodness, those look insanely good. everyone's photos look good, but that first shot, i think i drooled a little. FAB !

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Good gravy, your buns looks divine! Well done!

rainbowbrown said...

Oy. Good, good buns. Yep...

steph- whisk/spoon said...

i wouldn't say no either....mmmm.

karen said...

love the little video. what a great idea. these look real good. :)

LyB said...

I love your little video, so cool! And your sticky buns turned out great!

Jayne said...

Day after anything home-baked is better than anything "fresh" from a package! I'm sure your coworkers weren't complaining! Those look yummy!

kim said...

thanks everyone! :)
@katrina & bakersbakery, i do think the dark color is from the dark brown sugar, since everyone else's seemed to be much lighter in color. but dark is all i had on hand, so there ya go!
@CB, karen & lyb, i'm glad you liked the video ;) i just thought it was so cool to "see" them rise, hehe.
@marina, i'm so glad you enjoyed them! a. rated them at "80%" as good as the day before, so not bad at all ;) btw you are on my thank you note to-do list... :)

Heather said...

oh...those look like killer buns! so delicious! Great job!

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

My serving plate will not stay that full if I had sticky buns on them. I tend to agree about omitting the pecans - too much of a good thing, I think!

Sydney said...

those look utterly amazing!

Carol Peterman said...

I say the more color, the more flavor! My husband shares your philosophy about nuts ruining a good sticky bun. His half of the pan had no nuts, and mine had extra.

diva@theSugarBar said...

holy smokes that looks sexily good! yummy.

Madam Chow said...

Wonderful step-by-step photos - I love it when bloggers do that! And the video made me want to whip up another batch!

Lori said...

That looks very scrumptious!

Shari said...

Those look delicious! The color is beautiful.
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

danielle said...

Nice swirls. Great pics of the dough.

Cecilia said...

Beautiful pictures of scrumptious buns! I got a bit worried as well when I saw the butter pooling as the dough rose. I didn't think about how warm my kitchen was, though. I just ignored it and proceeded onwards. Whoops!

Kevin said...

Those sticky buns look so good!

Garrett said...

Your coworkers got more than mine...I horded them all for myself and roommates :-)

Sharon said...

Great looking sticky buns. Loved the video clip.

Dianne said...

Your buns looks so beautiful!

Thanks for the link to the gf pancakes on my blog. For some reason it got put into moderation and I jsut found it, but they look fabulous!

BAKE-EN said...

You are a photo goddess! I always love your pictures. Fabulous buns!

UK Foodie said...

You're photos really are fantastic!

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