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TWD: Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

May 27, 2008

Omahgawd… Oh! sorry. My mouth was full of sticky sweet golden brioche pecan goodness. Ahem. Excuse me while I get a sip of coffee.
Now then, on to this week’s TWD. The recipe this week is Pecan Honey Sticky Buns, chosen by Madam Chow of Madam Chow’s Kitchen.

In the town B and I previously resided in, there is a big debate over who makes the best sticky buns, the local bakery or the local diner. I think the bakery wins hands down but I know many others side with the diner. Now I know who makes the best sticky buns around, ME (errrm… with Dorie’s recipe, of course)! I think perhaps the fantastic secret to these particular buns is that Dorie begins with the Golden Brioche Dough. Then add brown sugar, cinnamon, honey & pecans? How could this possibly go wrong? It can’t, it’s too brilliant.

Also this week I used Organic Raw Honey. Until now, I had no idea what I was missing! It tastes like wild flowers and has the consistency of butter. When put in a hot water bath it turns to delicious liquid gold. I’ll never go back to the honey bear!

Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
From Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours
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 I used Organic Raw Honey (local even) The taste really can’t be beat!

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 (I put mine in a slightly warmed oven) 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 I did not have whole milk so I “made” it using part skim and part heavy cream.

3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour I use King Arthur Organic.

2 teaspoons salt finely ground sea 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 (I used the shield that came with my 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. This can be a very long 10 minutes while your mixer is trying to leap off your bakers rack!

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 (or in my case one) 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 (I used the warmed oven again), 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 (mine took more like 25-30 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.
Then wrap in wax paper, tie it with a string and give it to your Fab Father in law on his birthday!*

Love this photo? It can be purchased here!

*I made the Sticky Buns between Friday and Sunday and yesterday used the other half of the Golden Brioche Dough to make a loaf for my Fabulous Father in law for his birthday. He always tells me how good he thinks it looks on my blog. I hope he enjoyed it! (I did get up very early in the morning to give it enough time to rise and bake it fresh for him.) :)

The CKC give-away is almost over! The deadline is this Friday at Midnight, NY time! Enter now!

34 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2008 9:20 am

    Your father-in-law is very lucky! The sticky buns look delicious! I’ll have to look for organic raw honey since the honey I used was a little too dominant in the glaze.

  2. May 27, 2008 9:26 am

    I am going to have to check out the local health food store for the organic honey! Your buns and bread look delish!

  3. May 27, 2008 9:31 am

    Your raw honey looks delicious! I’m glad you liked this one!

  4. May 27, 2008 9:33 am

    Your brioche loaf looks perfectly golden, I over baked mine a bit, unfortunately. Never mind though, it tasted delicious, as I’m sure yours did as well!

  5. May 27, 2008 9:36 am

    OOh, I love organic raw honey, too. So yummy! Great job.

  6. May 27, 2008 9:37 am

    The raw honey made that big a difference? Must try it.

  7. May 27, 2008 10:10 am

    These look wonderful! I am craving some sticky goodness right about now.

  8. May 27, 2008 10:11 am

    I bought that exact same honey last week!

  9. kdgreen permalink
    May 27, 2008 10:19 am

    Good to know about the honey. I have seen it but never tried it. Now, I will. The buns look fabulous!

  10. May 27, 2008 10:29 am

    These look so good!

  11. May 27, 2008 10:41 am

    The rolls and loaf look great. Good show.

  12. May 27, 2008 11:08 am

    Your sticky buns look wonderful! And I wish I could find some of that honey, it sounds divine!

  13. May 27, 2008 12:30 pm

    I hope your Father in Law enjoyed the loaf as much as we did!

    Your buns look absolutely delicious.
    Ulrike from Küchenlatein

  14. May 27, 2008 12:43 pm

    Yum – I think I need some of that honey!

  15. May 27, 2008 12:46 pm

    HAH i totally agree re: “best buns”..from now on i am making my own, forget store bought!!! I also used an amazing honey, a local wildflower one, so yummy! your photos are fab!

  16. May 27, 2008 1:02 pm

    Beautiful job, beautiful photos, particularly that jar of honey – WOW!

  17. May 27, 2008 1:47 pm

    Organic raw honey? Interesting! Now I wanna try some! Beautiful photos as always…
    Clara @ I♥food4thought

  18. May 27, 2008 3:01 pm

    great job and awesome pics!

  19. May 27, 2008 3:02 pm

    yum! they look so delicious. i’ll have to give that type of honey a try, it looks great!

  20. May 27, 2008 3:31 pm

    Great shots you have here. The buns look great! That honey looks great as well.

  21. May 27, 2008 8:48 pm

    These all look awesome! Great idea with the special honey!

  22. May 27, 2008 8:57 pm

    Oh, and your BRIOCHE! The loaf looks incredible…FANTASTIC job with it all!

  23. May 27, 2008 9:58 pm

    Those look unbelievable good!! Awesome job!

  24. May 27, 2008 9:59 pm

    what a wonderful birthday treat! love that you used the raw honey, i agree it tastes amazing!

  25. May 27, 2008 10:45 pm

    Mmmm… I love wildflower honey! (Oh, and nice buns! LOL)

  26. May 27, 2008 11:13 pm

    My pants got tighter just drooling over the photos. I LOVE that you used local honey. Kudos to you!

  27. May 28, 2008 12:10 am

    Gorgeous brioche loaf and sticky buns! I’m glad you indulged with the raw honey…i’m sure it made for unforgettable sticky buns.

  28. May 28, 2008 3:18 am

    They are pretty fantastic aren’t they. Yours look delish.

  29. May 28, 2008 9:32 pm

    Those look so good! Just look at all of those nuts!

  30. May 29, 2008 9:42 pm

    aren’t these just the best?!?! they look great. i didn’t realize until recently that honey is flavored by what the bees pollinate so there are so many different flavors beside clover honey that you can taste :)

  31. May 31, 2008 4:49 pm

    Awesome photos! And now I have to go get me some organic raw honey – it sounds wonderful!


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