Oh, there’s so much to write about! There’s been so much cooking in this house since I last posted! Soups and stews and tuna casserole (oh my!).
However, I fear there would be riots if I didn’t write about my baking adventures of the past couple of weeks.
And by that I mean the sticky buns.
This will be another case of food blogs colliding. I Googled “sticky buns” and this was the first thing that came up. A recipe for Cinnamon Sticky Buns at SimplyRecipes.com.
I read quite a few recipes, but I kept coming back to this one. It had all the elements I was looking for: an egg-rich dough that was supposed to sit in the fridge overnight, plenty of cinnamon-sugar filling (with brown sugar, not white) and an ooey-gooey, sticky syrup mixture loaded with pecans in the bottom of the pan that ooze all over the baked buns when they were turned out of the pan.
I also loved that, for those who aren’t used to working with or proofing yeast, it had a link to a picture of what the yeast was supposed to look like when it was done proofing, all bubbling and foamy. Nice detail!
There are some out there, I’m well aware, who believe the pecans get in the way of all the yumminess, but I’m here to tell you they are necessary for the yummy. The provide a richness and a slight bitterness that balances all the sweet. I honestly don’t think I could handle all of that sweetness without the balance of some nuts. Walnuts would probably also be fine, but I really love the butteriness of the pecans. It’s really perfect, in my opinion.
The dough was easy to work with…dense and smooth because of the egg yolks. There is nothing quite like the feel of a yeast dough when it’s just right. It gets slightly shiny, it’s moist without being sticky, it’s almost velvety. It's really kind of sexy.
I did things a little out of sequence from the recipe. Because of timing, I put the dough in the fridge after the first rise and let it set there overnight. Then I took it out the next day, let it rise a couple of times, punching it down every couple of hours, before I rolled it out, prepped the goo for the baking pan and baked the rolls.
What did that extra rising time get me? A little more fermentation time, which means a little more flavor to the dough.
There were two things that annoyed me. First, the dough wouldn’t stay on the dough hook of my mixer and I’m not sure why. Maybe it wasn’t sticky enough. It was a rather dry day…the dough didn’t even take the minimum amount of flour the recipe called for. Maybe my egg yolks weren’t large enough. Or maybe it just wasn’t terribly humid.
That’s the thing about yeast doughs…you kind of have to play it by ear when it comes to adding the flour. Too little and your dough will be sticky; too much and your dough will be tough.
While they were baking, the house filled with this gorgeous, sweet, yeasty, cinnamony smell. I couldn’t help myself when they came out of the oven. As soon as they were cool enough, I had to try one. To my credit, it was one of the ends from the pre-cut roll, so it was kind of small.
The other thing that annoyed me…well, maybe annoyed is too strong a term. It just wasn’t quite what I was expecting even though it did taste wonderful.
The ooey-gooey syrup had a pronounced honey flavor. It certainly didn’t keep me from eating them. They were delicious! But I found as the week went on that it wasn’t quite the flavor I remembered from my mom’s rolls. So I need to experiment with the sticky topping. Maybe less honey or no honey at all and dark Karo instead of light.
All in all, it was a really tasty treat. Nice and chewy from the sticky syrup, plenty of cinnamon, a nice, tang to the bread and the crunch from the pecans.
I guess I’ll just have to keep experimenting till I get it right!