Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bake The Book: Maple-Pecan Sticky Buns

This recipe wins out as one of my favorites out of all the recipes I've made so far. I certainly have a sweet tooth and these sticky buns were the perfect combination of warm and sweet. In fact, these were very dangerous to keep on hand due to the fact I would have eaten them all, so my co-workers were loving me after I brought these in to share.

And best of all, this finishes off Chapter 3 (Chapters 1 & 2 were merely instructional, so Chapter 3 is the first chapter of real baking) of The Art and Soul of Baking. A milestone indeed! Don't ask me how many more the book contains. Let's just say it's 454 pages.

Anyway, back to the buns. The insides were filled with a creamed butter, brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Yum.


Here's the dough all ready to be rolled into a cylinder and cut.


Here are the rolls after they've been cut and flattened, sitting on top of the filling in the pan all ready for their rise.


And finally, the finished product. They are so pretty, aren't they?


Lovely for breakfast, the deep caramel flavor of the real maple syrup paired with pecans is to die for. You should make these now!

Recipe #12: Maple-Pecan Sticky Buns

1 recipe Rich Breakfast Dough (see below)

3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Make the topping: Place the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and blend on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and slightly lightened, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. With the mixer running on medium, pour the maple syrup in a thin stream down the side of the bowl and blend until smooth and homogenous. Scrape the topping into a 10-inch round cake pan and spread evenly. Scatter the chopped pecans over the top. Set aside while you make the buns.

2. Roll the dough: Dust your work surface with flour. Turn the risen dough out of the bowl and onto the flour. Press down firmly with your hands to expel as much of the gas as possible, but don't knead the dough or the gluten will be too developed for the dough to roll easily. Dust the top of the dough with flour. Roll the dough into a 10-by-16-inch rectangle. Position the dough so that one of the long sides is parallel to the edge of your work surface. Brush any remaining flour from the surface and underside of the dough.

3. Make the filling: Place the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in the bowl of a stand mixer and blend on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and slightly lightened, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Use a silicone or rubber spatula to spread the filling over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the long side opposite you.

4. Shape the buns: Beginning with the long edge closest to you, roll the dough into a cylinder, gently tucking and tightening as you roll. Wet your fingers and rub a thin film of water along the empty border. Finish rolling the dough onto the border. Roll the dough backwards so that the seam is facing upward and pinch all along it to seal the dough. Turn the seam side down and use a chef's knife to cut the roll into 10 equal pieces. Set each bun with a cut side up on your work surface and gently flatten it slightly with the palm of your hand. Place the buns into the prepared cake pan, spacing them evenly.

5. Proof the dough (second rise): Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until the rolls have almost doubled in size 45 to 60 minutes.

6. Bake the sticky buns: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position an oven rack in the center. Bake the buns for 30 to 35 minutes, until the buns are deep golden brown and the centers register 185 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer to a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then turn the buns out of the pan. To do this, run a thin knife or small spatula around the edge of the pan to loosen the buns. Place a large plate or rimmed baking sheet upside down on top of the cake pan. Wearing oven mitts, hold the cake pan against the plate and invert it. The sticky buns will fall out of the pan onto the plate, along with their syrup and nuts. Serve the sticky buns warm or room temperature.


Rich Breakfast Dough

1/2 cup warm whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, very soft

1. Mix and knead the dough: Combine the warm milk and sugar in the bowl of the stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Whisk by hand to blend well. Let the mixture sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until the yeast is activated and foamy or bubbling. Add the egg and yolk and whisk by hand until well blended. Stir in the flour and salt with a silicone or rubber spatula. Attach the dough hook and knead on low speed for 2 minutes. The dough may look ragged at this point, but don't worry--the addition of butter will smooth it out. Increase the speed to medium and knead for 1 minute. With the mixer running, add the soft butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to blend in before adding the next. Once all the butter has been added, decrease the speed to medium-low and continue to knead for 5 to 6 minutes longer, until the dough looks soft and silky.

2. Rise the dough (first rise): Lightly butter a bowl, scrape the dough into the bowl, and brush the surface of the dough with a little butter or oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. At this point, the dough is ready to be punched down and used in your recipe of choice.

Source: The Art and Soul of Baking


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