There are some foods that are on my baking wish list. I have been really wanting to make a crepe cake lately. Without reason, really, as I’ve never made a single crepe before. Nor do I really love crepes (I know…gasp!). Or obviously, I have been wanting to get on the French macaron bandwagon. Which, I’m not going to lie about – I’ve tried to make several different times now, but each time they have melded into 1 single cookie sheet o’ macaron. Which, as you may imagine, simply does not photograph well.
But the dish that I have been eyeing forever, and I really mean a long long time, has been cinnamon rolls. I would always think that it would take too long, or it would be wasted effort. But then I would just sit there, imagining what warm, homemade cinnamon rolls would taste like, and I would start bookmarking recipes all over again. People, I have over 70 recipes of cinnamon rolls bookmarked. And I haven’t tried a single one. Intimidation, maybe?
Well, you will be happy to know that I conquered my fears! And not even with cinnamon rolls – I did one better with sticky buns. Caramel sauce! Pecans! Flipping the buns over before eating! These are like the more popular version of their cinnamon roll cousin. I basically rolled over (ha! “rolled”) the breakfast of my dreams to make the dreamiest breakfast ever. I haven’t deleted the 70 recipes yet, though – cinnamon rolls haven’t been crossed off the baking wish list quite yet. Maybe after the crepe cake.
Sticky Buns (ever so slightly adapted Flour via Food Network)
For Caramel Sauce
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- scant 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 recipe of Basic Brioche Dough, recipe follows
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup pecan halves, toasted and chopped
To make the caramel sauce, melt the butter on the stove over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar, stirring, to combine. Remove from the heat and whisk in the honey, cream, water, and salt. Let cool for about 30 minutes, or until cooled to room temperature.
On a floured work surface, roll out the brioche into rectangle about 12 by 16 inches and 1/4-inch thick. Position the rectangle so a short side is facing you.
Stir together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and half of the pecans. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Starting from the short side farthest from you and working your way down, rolling tightly. Cut off the ends.
Cut the log into 8 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2-inches wide.
Pour the sauce into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, covering the bottom evenly. Sprinkle the remaining pecans evenly over the surface. Arrange the buns, cut side down, evenly spaced, in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm spot to proof until almost tripled in size, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350. Bake until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool in the dish on a wire rack for 20 minutes. One at a time, invert the buns onto a serving platter, and spoon any extra sauce and pecans from the bottom of the dish over the top.
For the Brioche (recipe directly from Flour via Food Network)
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
- 2 1/4 cups bread flour
- 1 1/2 packages (3 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast o
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 5 eggs
- 1 3/8 cups (2 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 10 to 12 pieces
Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and the eggs. Beat on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until all the ingredients are combined. Stop the mixer, as needed, to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Once the dough has come together, beat on low speed for another 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will be very stiff and seem quite dry.
With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, 1 piece at a time, mixing after each addition until it disappears into the dough. Continue mixing on low speed for about 10 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. It is important for all the butter to be thoroughly mixed into the dough. If necessary, stop the mixer occasionally and break up the dough with your hands to help mix in the butter.
Once the butter is completely incorporated, turn up the speed to medium and beat until the dough becomes sticky, soft, and somewhat shiny, another 15 minutes. It will take some time to come together. It will look shaggy and questionable at the start and then eventually it will turn smooth and silky. Turn the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute. You should hear the dough make a slap-slap-slap sound as it hits the sides of the bowl. Test the dough by pulling at it; it should stretch a bit and have a little give. If it seems wet and loose and more like a batter than a dough, add a few tablespoons of flour and mix until it comes together. If it breaks off into pieces when you pull at it, continue to mix on medium speed for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until it develops more strength and stretches when you grab it. It is ready when you can gather it all together and pick it up in 1 piece.
Put the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough. Let the dough proof in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. The dough will be ready to make sticky buns. You can freeze the other half for up to 1 week.