Sticky Buns

Were you ever fans of Throwdown with Bobby Flay back in the day? I sure was. If you’re unsure about the premise, Bobby Flay would try to beat an award-winning cook at their famous recipe. These unsuspecting challengers were under the impression that Food Network was showcasing them on some sort of Food Network Special. Bobby Flay and his team would study their opponent’s recipe and practice making their own version. Bobby Flay would then show up and challenge them to a throwdown. Of course, the opponent would always say yes to the Throwdown lol, and the two dishes would be judged blindly. I used to love this show. I would always be at the edge of my seat, wondering who would win.

One of my favorite episodes was the Sticky Bun episode. Joanne Chang made these delicious looking Sticky Buns. She has a Bake Shop called Flour in Massachuttes. The only problem was I lived in New York. No, it’s not terribly far for me to drive to get one lol, but it was far enough. Massachuttes is about 3-4 hours from where Long Island, which is where I lived.

When I found out that Joanne Chang wrote a book called Flour, I bought the book. I bought the book for the Sticky Buns Recipe, and I’m sure the book has great recipes in it. However, if I’m being perfectly honest, I haven’t made anything else but those sticky buns lol.

This recipe is pretty straightforward. It really is. All of the dry ingredients including the yeast goes into the mixer. I know what you’re thinking a recipe involving yeast where you don’t have to activate the yeast first before adding the flour to it…. YUP!!! Easy. Next, you add some water and a few eggs. After that is incorporated into the batter, butter gets mixed in a little at a time. The mixing process is super easy, but it will take about 30 minutes. In the book they suggest that you don’t cut this recipe in half because there won’t be enough dough to engage the dough hook of your mixer, and the dough won’t get the workout it needs to become a light, fluffy bread. So.. That means if you’re in the mood for Sticky Buns invite a few people over. LOL… Kidding but not kidding, Joanne Chang says in her book that the dough freezes very well.  After the dough rises in the refrigerator you can always take part of it and freeze it up to a week.  

I recommend making the recipe either early in the morning or in the evening. The dough must rise in the refrigerator for 6 hours to overnight. Before you remove the dough from the refrigerator, you make what Joanne Chang calls the goo, and mix up a cinnamon sugar. Once the dough rises, you roll out the dough and sprinkle that delicious cinnamon sugar all over the dough. Next, you roll up the dough like a jelly roll or cinnamon bun and cut them. The goo gets poured into the pan where you’ll be baking these fantastic sticky buns. The dough must rise for 2 hours in a warm spot. They you bake them. These are so worth the work. They are absolutely delicious.

This recipe is from the book Flour By Joanne Chang

Brioche Dough

2 – 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 – 1/4  cups bread flour
1 – 1/2  packages (3¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup cold water
5 eggs
1 cup plus 6 tablespoons (2¾ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 10 to 12 pieces

Goo

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 – 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup water
 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Cinnamon Sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cup pecan halves, toasted and chopped

Directions
1. Add flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water and eggs to a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Beat on low speed for 3-4 minutes.  If needed stop the mixer to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all of the flour is incorporated. 

2. Once the dough has come together, beat on low speed for another 3 – 4 minutes. The dough will be very stiff and seem quite dry.

3. On low speed, add the butter one piece at a time, mixing after each addition until it disappears into the dough. Then, continue mixing on low speed for about 10 minutes,

4. It is important for all of the butter to be mixed thoroughly into the dough. If necessary, stop the mixer every so often to break up the dough to help the butter get mixed into the dough. 

5. Once the butter is completely incorporated, turn up the speed to medium and beat for another 15 minutes.  Then, turn the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute.

6. 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 one piece.

7. Place the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise  in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. At this point, you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Make Goo

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. 
  2. Whisk in brown sugar until the sugar dissolves. 
  3. Remove from heat and add the honey, heavy cream, water and salt. 
  4. Let cool for about 30 minutes, You should have about 2 cups.

Mix up  Cinnamon Sugar

Stir brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and 1 cup of pecans in a small bowl.

Assembling the Sticky Buns

1.On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 16 by 12 inches and 1/4 inch thick. Position the rectangle so a short side is facing you.

 2. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Starting from the short side farthest from you and working your way down, roll up the rectangle like a jelly roll. Try to roll tightly, so you have a nice round spiral. Even off the ends by trimming about ¼ inch from either side.

3.Use a bench scraper or a chef’s knife to cut the roll into 8 equal pieces, each about 1½ inches wide. (At this point, the unbaked buns can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. When ready to bake, thaw them, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, then proceed as directed.)

5.Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

4.The Book suggests to use a 9×13 inch baking dish, I wound up having to use a 9×13 and an additional baking dish that was a little bit smaller.  Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of pecans into the baking dish, and pour the goo over the pecans.  Place the buns cut side down and evenly spaced in the baking sheet.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to proof for about 2 hours, and the buns are touching.

Buns before they rise – above
Buns after they rise – below

6.Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool in the dish on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes. One at a time, invert the buns onto a serving platter, and spoon any extra goo and pecans from the bottom of the dish over the top.

7. The buns are best served warm or within 4 hours of baking. They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, and then warmed in a 325-degree-F oven for 6 to 8 minutes before serving.

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