12 April 2011

Sticky buns

Work has been nutty lately. I've got deadlines that would have made me faint only a couple years ago. I'm making genetic constructs in twelve days that would normally take two months. But I have a lot of help, including an amazing group of technicians that are spending their weekends busting their butts. How do you thank someone for spending their weekend in the lab?

With sticky buns, that's how. These sticky buns had research associates damn near weeping with happiness. Truly, I've never seen people react better to *anything* I've ever cooked. These come from the infamous Flour. You'll love 'em. Make a batch. Now.

It's based off of a brioche dough. The buttery-delicious-cakeish bread. For the dough:
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
2 ¼ cups bread flour
1 ½ packages active dry yeast or 1-ounce (28 grams) fresh cake yeast
13 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
½ cup cold water
5 eggs
1 38 cups softened, unsalted butter
Mix the flours, yeast, sugar, salt and water until wet. Add the eggs while mixing, one at a time.

Beat on low power for three to four minutes, until well-combined. Now add the butter, one small chunk at a time while beating. You want the butter to mix in well, so make sure it's good and soft before you use it.

Continue mixing the dough on low for ten minutes, until the dough is sticky and soft. You want it to pull away from the dough hook when you push your finger into it.

Put the dough into a bowl, and place in the fridge for at least six hours. This is partly to firm up the butter. Partly to get the yeast to ferment in the fridge, adding delicious flavours. Partly to allow the flour to hydrate. All of this is called "proofing". Tasty.

Brioche dough

Meanwhile, make the goo:
1 ½ cup unsalted butter
3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
23 cup honey
23 cup heavy cream
23 cup water
½ tsp kosher salt

Melt the butter and the brown sugar over medium heat.


Continue stirring until melted and all combined.


Now add the cream, water, honey and salt.


Mix well. Set in the fridge to cool overnight with the proofing dough.

The next day, cut the dough into two halves. Roll out each chunk of dough into two 12" by 16" pieces.

Brioche dough

Prepare the bun filling:
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cup pecan halves, toasted and chopped
Toast the pecans in the oven. 400°F for about 10 minutes, until they start to give off a delicious smell. Let cool and chop them into small chunks. Mix the brown sugar, white sugar, cinnamon and half of the pecans. Sprinkle this mix over the rolled out dough.

Roll up sticky bun

Meanwhile, pour the chilled goo into two 9"x13" baking pans (I use Pyrex). Sprinkle in the remaining pecans, half in each pan.


Roll both of the flattened-out doughs up into tight cylinders. Chop each cylinder into 8 pieces.


Plant 8 buns into each pan, equally spaced out.

Sticky bun

Cover with a cloth towel, and allow to rise in a warm place for two hours, until doubled in volume.

Sticky bun

Bake for 30-45 minutes at 350°F, until golden-brown and delicious-looking.

Sticky bun

Let cool a few minutes. Scoop out the buns, flip over and serve with a bit of goop drizzled over top.

Sticky bun

The reactions to this sticky buns were positively ecstatic. Sweet, delicious and high-calorie happiness. Fabulous.


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