May 26, 2008

Check Out These Buns!

The Sweet and Savory kitchen has been dark more than not the past couple of weeks. Certainly not by choice. Trust me, I'd rather have been whipping up something tasty; however, my "real-life" schedule has been extremely demanding of late and kept me from blogging.

Things seems to be back on track now and commitments are at a manageable level now (well, less insane anyway).

This week, Tuesday passed me by like I was standing still and I neglected my weekly baking commitment to Dorie Greenspan and the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers. Madam Chow of Madam Chow's Kitchen hosted this week's recipe and selected Pecan Honey Sticky Buns.

I'm a little late to the party, but come bearing some yummy brioche dripping in honey loveliness to my readers. I ended up a little torn on whether or not I'd recommend these. Don't get me wrong. They are delicious! The name really says it all. But, I hold issue with the four sticks of butter. Yielding about 15 servings, it equates to about a quarter of a stick per roll. Zoinks! At the end of the day, this is a baking group, after all. And baking usually means butter. So, I guess I should consider the butter an blog-upational hazard and just get my buns to the gym more instead of belly-aching about it.

Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Makes 15 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:
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).

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.) 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.

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.

What you'll need for the Golden Brioche dough:
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.

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.

More Dorie recipes I've made from Baking: From My Home to Yours
Florida Pie
Peanut Butter Torte
Fluted Polenta and Ricotta Cake
Bill's Big Carrot Cake
Fresh Tangelo Cream Tart
Gooey Chocolate Cakes
Perfect Party Cake
Brioche Raisin Snails
Russian Grandmothers' Apple Pie-Cake
Snickery Squares
Pecan Sour Cream Biscuits
Almost-Fudge Gâteau


Bridget said...

Don't forget that you're only using half the brioche for those 15 rolls! So it's really only 2.5 sticks are butter for 15 rolls. Which, yeah, is still a whole lot. Classic Dorie!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Great job on these. And yes, the butter is slightly frightening. Your buns look terrific!

Engineer Baker said...

Work is overrated :P Beautiful looking sticky buns, and I'm glad you managed to get the time to make these!

LyB said...

They were certainly worth the wait, they look delicious!

Jayne said...

I just keep telling myself there's calcium in butter - it's a dairy product, after all - so it's GOOD for me. And yeah, I should get my buns to the gym more often, too. Great baking job!

Rebecca said...

Love that first photo! I think most of us send this stuff on to family and co-workers. Otherwise, we'd all grow a third buttock. ;)

Sweet and Savory Eats said...

bridget, I totally spaced the fact that we only used half the dough for the rolls. I feel a little better now. That also reminds me that I still have half my dough in the fridge. I guess I'll make a brioche loaf tonight. Mmmmm ...

ostwestwind said...

Although I am not fond of to much butter in a dish, in this recipe every gram was worth the taste.

Your buns look great

Ulrike from Küchenlatein

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I can commiserate about the amount of butter, I swear all this baking is giving me butter arms...LOL! But with such delicious things to make, I guess the gym is a necessity.

Anonymous said...

Yikes. 1/4 stick of butter per serving! I wish I had done the math before I ate half of my buns!

Yours look gorgeous! Mmm.

Anonymous said...

nice buns! ;)