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Thursday
Feb162012

Stickiest Buns

Here's a recipe that will be a 100% crowd pleaser among any "non-dieter" (adotped from Bon Appetit, circa 2002).  If you ever have to bring a dish to a brunch or breakfast do not hesitate with this one.  The recipe is fairly simple and you can make the buns a day or two in advance.  I brought these from West Hartford to Ludlow, VT last weekend (in raw form) and they proved to be a perfect morning "pick me up" after a long day of skiing and night of drinking with friends.   We were lucky enough to stay at our friend's ski house so I had full access to a kitchen to bake them off.  

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the amazing restaurant we went to in Ludlow, VT.  If you are ever around or near Okemo, make sure you stop at Downtown Grocery.  This small establishment serves a super creative farm to table menu and the atmosphere is perfect for enjoying good wine, food and friends.  The chef, Rogan Lechthaler is native to Vermont and has worked in Vermont's Relais & Châteaux Pitcher Inn as well as some of Boston's finest restaurants. He has also been featured at New York's James Beard House with other top chefs from Vermont.  We at the flatbread for a starter course and then I had the veal chop (one of the daily specials).  

A big thank you to Ron and Debbie Greenberg and Ken and Lisa Carlson for a great weekend!

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 1 c warm water (105°F to 115°F)
  • 4 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 c dry nonfat milk powder NOTE:  If you cannot find milk powder, you can google some alternatives (such as using regular milk while reducing other liquids found in the recipe). 
  • 1 1/4 t salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 1/4 c (or more) all purpose flour

Glaze:

  • 1 1/4 c (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 3/4 c (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/4 c dark corn syrup
  • 1/4 c water
  • 2 c pecan halves (optional)
  • 4 t sugar
  • 4 t ground cinnamon

Directions:

For Dough:
Mix 1/4 cup warm water, yeast, and pinch of sugar in small bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 8 minutes. Using electric mixer, beat remaining sugar, butter, milk powder, and salt in large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in remaining 3/4 cup warm water and yeast mixture, then 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time. Using rubber spatula, mix in 1 cup flour, scraping down sides of bowl frequently (dough will be soft and sticky). Sprinkle 1/4 cup flour onto work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes.

Butter another large bowl. Add dough; turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm area until doubled, about 2 1/2 hours.

For Glaze:
Butter two 10-inch round cake pans with 2-inch high sides. Beat brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, honey, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in medium bowl to blend. Spread half of glaze in bottom of each prepared pan. Sprinkle 1 cup pecans over each.

Punch down dough. Divide dough in half. Roll each dough piece out on floured work surface to 12x9-inch rectangle. Brush any excess flour off dough. Spread remaining butter over dough rectangles, dividing equally. Mix 4 teaspoons sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over rectangles. Starting at 1 long side, tightly roll up each rectangle into log. Cut each log into 12 rounds. Place 12 rounds, cut side down, in each prepared pan, spacing evenly. Cover with plastic wrap. (Can be made 1 day ahead; refrigerate.) Let buns rise in warm area until almost doubled, about 1 hour (or 1 hour 25 minutes if refrigerated).

Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake buns until deep golden brown, about 30 minutes. Run small knife around pan sides to loosen sticky buns. Turn hot buns out onto platter. Cool about 30 minutes and serve.

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