Tuesday 27 May 2008

A Sticky Situation

Welcome everyone to the Tuesday, May 27th, 2008 edition of Tuesdays With Dorie , the Internet baking club that is tastily baking their way through the delicious cookbook by Dorie Greenspan, "Baking, from my home to yours." Each week one member gets to choose one of the recipes and they, along with the rest of us, bake it together and reveal our results all on the same day. Tuesday! Reveal day! (If you would like to join the group it's really easy. The only requirements are . . . one, that you actually own the book, and . . . two , that you love to bake and are willing to participate 3 out of 4 weeks a month.)

The recipe this week was Pecan Honey Sticky Buns on pages 51-53, as chosen by Madam Chow of Madame Chow’s Kitchen . Ohhh . . . yummy, sticky and tasty, full of cinnamon and smothered with an oooey and goooey and moreishly sticky and nutty caramel sauce. What's not to like about those! I was really looking forward to this challenge.

I normally do my challenge on Saturdays, as this is my day off, and the only day of the week that I don't regularly have something else to do, like go to church, which is what I do on my other day off. (not that I am complaining, because I am not. I really love going to church. I look forward to Sundays as being my "Recharge my Spiritual Battery" day!) I should have had an inkling though, that all was not going to go according to plan when Saturday dawned and Todd ended up having to go to PC World three times for something that should have only taken one trip. When I went to my cupboard and saw that I was out of yeast . . . my heart sank. Could I? Dare I? Must I? I just could not possibly ask him to face the hourly increasing crowds of Bank Holiday weekenders jamming our roadways yet one more time . . . just to get me a packet of yeast. What to do? What to do???

I put my thinking cap on.

Now . . . I don't live in a neighbourhood where I can easily pop next door, cup in hand to ask for a cup of sugar or a packet of yeast. I live in a very rural place and so that was not an option. I do, however, have a big blue book of cooking receipts that are very treasured and very old and quite wonderful. I decided that I would make the dough part from an old Baking Powder Biscuit recipe that I inherited from my ex mother in law. It would make just the right quantity for this recipe, and it is the recipe that I have used to make cinnamon rolls with for years. I knew it would work perfectly. Sticky situation resolved, so to speak, and I hope you will all forgive me for this most cunning adaption! Other than the basic dough recipe, I stuck faithfully to the rest of the recipe, with most delicious results.

A baking powder biscuit is very easy to make if you know what you are doing. There are very definite techniques to follow if you want a lovely, tender and flaky dough, the most important of which is . . . "The less you handle the dough, the better." End of . . . They're really so easy, all you do is to sift the dry ingredients into the bowl, cut in the fat and then stir in the liquid. Easy peasy, lemon squeasy. A few strokes with a fork and you have a lovely dough that is ready to be lightly patted out. (On a floured surface of course) For this particular occasion I opted to use butter as the fat in my recipe rather than the required vegetable shortening. I thought it would give the dish more flavour and perhaps more closely resemble Dorie's brioche somewhat, although we all know that a baking powder biscuit and a brioche are nowhere near the same thing at all.

From that point on, the recipe was the same as Dorie's. I made the lovely caramel sauce on top of the stove and poured it into an oval glass baking dish I have that was the perfect size. I didn't need a huge one as they would not rise as much as a yeast dough recipe would. Thank goodness I had some pecan nuts, which reminds me . . . I used them all up so I need to get some more.

Normally when I make cinnamon rolls, I use only brown sugar, but Dorie uses a combination of white and brown. I have to say it worked very well, and I may use this combination from now on when I make my own cinnamon rolls. I spread my biscuit dough with the softened butter and sprinkled on the cinnamon sugar, then rolled it up as tightly as I could. As quick as a wink I had 12 delicious looking cinnamon rolls sitting in my glass pan atop some of the most luscious looking caramel sauce and nuts I have ever seen in my experience. Fingers crossed, I banged my dish into a hot oven and then awaited the results . . .

As I removed the dish from the oven I was pleasantly surprised as how nice they looked. Some of the caramel juices had bubbled up on the sides and they were looking decidedly delicious. How much better could you get than this???

I tipped them out and wowser, wowser, wowser . . . . I had died and gone to heaven. I have never seen anything so delicious looking in my life. It was all I could do to contain myself and wait for a bit to dig in. I wanted to break them apart right there and then and partake . . . but I couldn't. For one thing they were too hot, and I would have burned my fingers not to mention my lips, (Sugar burn <=== Not nice, speaking from experience here) and two, I had photos to take and as Todd knows only too well, neither fork nor spoon shall get in the way of photo taking. Let me tell you though . . . as soon as I had the photos done and I was happy with what I had snapped, neither one of us missed any time in getting stuck in!!!

These sticky buns are amazing. MAKE THEM NOW. Either with Dorie's delicious brioche recipe (which I have made in the past and can attest to as being truly tasty) or with my wonderfully tasty biscuit base (see recipe below). When I say "TO DIE FOR" here, I truly mean every word. These are real keepers!

Next week's recipe will be French Chocolate Brownies on pages 92-93 (Oh goodie goodie!) as chosen by Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook , and amazingly enough "I" (yes, that's me!!) get to choose the recipe the week after that!! Woo Hoo! Can you spell e-x-c-i-t-e-d?? Don't forget to drop over to the Tuesday's With Dorie blogroll and have a gander at all the other delicious delights baked by the members of the group this week!

*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 (this recipe makes enough for two brioche loaves. If you divide the dough in half, you would use half for the sticky buns, and you can freeze the other half for a later date, or make a brioche loaf out of it!):

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
What You'll Need for the Glaze (you would brush this on brioche loaves, but not on the sticky buns):
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water

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. (After this, you can proceed with the recipe to make the brioche loaves, or make the sticky buns instead, or freeze all or part of the dough for later use.)

The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.

Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)

Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.

Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.

*Elizabeth's Baking Powder Biscuits*
Makes roughly one dozen

2 cups white flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup shortening (In this case I used butter)
3/4 cup of milk and water mixed in equal parts

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. Cut in the shortening with a pastry cutter, or two knives, until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add the milk/water mixture all at once and mix quickly with a fork until it all draws together into a soft dough. Dump out onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 3 times and then pat the dough out until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a sharp biscuit cutter, giving it a sharp tap straight down. Do not twist the cutter as you lift it up or you will have lop sided biscuits. A sharp up and down is correct. Place on a baking pan and bake at 200*C/400*F for 15 to 20 minutes.*

*Note - this is the temperature I used for the sticky buns and I baked them for 20 minutes. To do the sticky buns, just pat the dough out to a large square, about 1/4 inch thick and proceed as for the recipe. For whole wheat biscuits you can use 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups of white.


  1. They sound wonderful. We will be traveling back to CA tomorrow so I'll have to wait to try them at home. We did make your rubbarb pie today and loved it. Have a good Tues....it is still Mon. here but will be Tues in a few min. That is interesting isn't...what modern times that I can reply on your Tues. blog on Monday. Ha

  2. way to put on that thinking cap! less trouble than yeast dough, and they look every bit as sticky and delicious!

  3. They look so good. I can't wait until I have a function to make them for!

  4. Oh, Marie...I've died and gone to sweets heaven too--LOL! These look soo, sooo good! Genial using the biscuit instead--you are so clever! Hope to catch you for a chat...((BIG HUGS))

  5. Excellent adaptation. The photos are so good too.

  6. You verson looks absolutely delicious!

    Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

  7. What a way to solve a problem! Wow your sticky buns look delish!

  8. Delicious! I saw these on Peabody's blog about an hour ago and thought of cardiac arrest issues...

    Hope you're well Marie! xx

  9. Quite the problem solver! Those look awesome, and in much less time than Dorie's recipe!

  10. If I weren't already making Brownies for Emma's Brownie Ceremony tonight (for 40 people!), I'd be making these!

  11. What a clever girl! You saved the day! YAY!

  12. Marie, is it possible to put on 5lbs from just looking at these. I think that's what's just happened to me.

  13. They look great! Great job on improvising!

  14. Necessity is the mother of invention, right? They look incredible - nice job!

  15. Um, Marie, *drool, drool*! Those look absolutely fantastic! I have made cinnamon rolls both ways before, I prefer the yeast, but yours look wonderful!!!

  16. How creative! These baking powder brioche biscuits are perefect for a "I want sticky buns now" craving! :)

  17. They look wonderful Marie,x Gloria

  18. Your buns look wonderful. I am so glad you figured out a way to make these with another recipe. I would have thrown in the towel and given up. It is inspiring to read about such resourceful ladies!

  19. Your buns look so good! Good job improvising.

    P.S. I think the TWD rule is 2 out of 4 weeks in a month (not 3). :-)

  20. Good thinking on your feet! Glad they were so yummy--I'm going to try your adaptation next.

  21. I think it is a brilliant idea - that way you can have them now instead of tomorrow! They look wonderful. I hope you get the chance to try them from the brioche too!

  22. Fearless Kitchen27 May 2008 at 16:11

    This looks great. I want sticky buns... right now! I like how you've used the biscuit recipe in place of the brioche.

  23. What an awesome idea! I may try this as I was more annoyed than anything waiting for the dough to rise;) Great job!

  24. To quote the A Team: I love it when a plan comes together! Creative cooking!

  25. nice job improvising! they look delicious! :)

  26. Those look awesome- nice improvisations!

  27. Awesome job on the improv! Great job!
    Clara @ I♥food4thought

  28. Oh, I just love the name of your blog. It's beautiful. Congrats on gorgeous cinnamon rolls!

  29. Bravo on your ingenuity...your end results are absolutely delicious looking!

  30. Yum...feels like I already ate them just looking at the photos...nice job!

  31. Oh I wish I had some of those! They look delicious!

  32. Good job with the adapting!! They came out beautifully!

  33. great to know scone dough works equally well

  34. Those look so gooey and sticky and good!

  35. Mmmm, scrumptious. Can't wait to bake another batch!

  36. your blog is just fabulous! i came upon it from lynell and grammy's news blogs. amazing recipes, excellent photography and wonderful inspiring thoughts. thanks for what you do!

  37. Way to think on your feet!!!

  38. A cunning adaptation, indeed! You're very resourceful. They are delicious - I'm definitely reusing the glaze part of the recipe.
    Shari@Whisk: a food blog

  39. I've made biscuits very similar to this before, but I never would have thought of using that as the dough. Great job with thinking on your feet!

  40. OMG, sticky buns with biscuit dough!?! I mean, I love the brioche, but I've got a weak spot for biscuits, so my knees are getting weak at the thought!

  41. these look so sticky and delicious! great job making do w/what you had on hand so that you could participate in this week's challenge :) you do have to try this recipe w/dorie's brioche dough next time, though... mmmmmmmmm!

  42. Yum, yum, yum!!! They look great--no, perfect! One of my favorite recipes for pecan rolls uses a non-yeast dough, too. I can't decide now which I like better...

  43. Great improvisation! I have a recipe for cinnamon rolls that is leavened with baking powder instead of yeast. I may have to try making sticky buns with it, now that I've seen how wonderful yours turned out.

  44. How crafty you are!!
    What a mouth watering treat!!


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