Monday, June 25, 2012

The Ultimate Sticky Buns - Bon Appetit

Happy Monday everyone. I think that may be an oxymoron, unless you are retired, or just rich and don't have to work, or you get to bake for a living. Otherwise, going back to work sucks! So hopefully a little sweet treat will brighten everybody's day. Ah, I guess my day wasn't so bad, it's what you make of it I suppose.

I am lucky that my boss gets like every food magazine there is, and I benefit from this because when she is finished with them she brings them to work and leaves them on my desk. Not only is it great that I have a get away for the day and can sneak peeks at beautiful pictures and recipes during down time, but I also get great ideas and yummy recipes to try. When I saw the cover of Bon Appetit and caught my first glimpse of these heavenly sticky buns I knew I was going to have to make them. This recipe does take some time to make, it's not something that you can just throw together in a pinch. It's got a lot of inactive prep time, rising and chilling and rising again, but the good thing is you can do it a day ahead of time. I got rave reviews on these, so I would definitely make them again for a special morning. Now I'm not going to lie, this is a long list of directions. Roll with it.

The Ultimate Sticky Buns - Bon Appetit Style
Recipe Re-printed from Bon Appetit Magazine

2/3 cup whole milk
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from one 1/4-ounce envelope)
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature, plus 1/2 tablespoon, melted

1 3/4 cups chopped pecans (about 8 ounces)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (optional)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
All-purpose flour (for dusting)
1 large egg
Coarse sea salt (such as Maldon)

1. Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°–115°. Transfer milk to a 2-cup measuring cup; stir in 1 Tbsp. sugar. Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs; whisk until smooth. Combine remaining 4 Tbsp. sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add milk mixture. With mixer running, add 1/2 cup room-temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Knead on medium-high speed until dough is soft and silky, about 5 minutes.

2. If you don't have a stand mixer, fit your food processor with the standard chopping or dough blade. Combine remaining 4 Tbsp. sugar, flour, and salt in food processor. Pulse to blend. Add milk mixture; process until combined. With processor running, add 1/2 cup room-temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions. Process until dough is soft and silky, 2–3 minutes longer. Dough will be sticky but should not be greasy. If it is greasy, process for an additional 1–2 minutes.

3. Brush a medium bowl with some melted butter; place dough in bowl. Brush top of dough with remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic; chill.

4. Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 1–1 1/2 hours (or 2–2 1/2 hours if dough has been refrigerated).

5. Chill dough for 2 hours.

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spread out nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant and slightly darkened, 10–12 minutes. Let cool completely. Set 1 1/4 cups nuts aside for buns.

2. Melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, cream, honey, salt, and orange zest, if using. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until glaze is golden brown and glossy, 3–4 minutes. Pour 1 cup of glaze into baking pan (8x8 baking pan), tilting to coat bottom and sides. Set aside remaining glaze. Sprinkle 1/2 cup toasted pecans over bottom of baking pan and let cool.

1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and kosher salt in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Set filling aside.

2. Punch down dough; transfer to a floured work surface. Lightly dust top with flour. 

3. Roll out the dough into a 12x16" rectangle about 1/4" thick. Arrange the dough on the work surface so one long side faces you. Spread the cinnamon-sugar mixture over dough, leaving a 1" plain border on the side farthest from you.

4. Sprinkle 3/4 cup chopped pecans over the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

5. Beginning with the long edge closest to you, roll dough into a log, tightening as you roll, and patting in ends if they begin to taper. Pinch together the seam where the long side meets the roll to seal. Arrange the log seam side down on the work surface.

6. Using a large knife, cut the log crosswise into 9 equal pieces. Lightly flour the knife between slices if the dough is too sticky. Turn the buns cut side up and gently pat the top to flatten slightly. If needed, reshape to form round edges by cupping lightly floured hands around each bun and gently pushing and turning them in a circular motion.

7. Place the buns in prepared pan; space them evenly apart (buns should not touch each other).

8. Loosely cover pan with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let buns rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour, or 1 1/2–2 hours if dough has been chilled overnight. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill buns and remaining glaze separately. Store remaining pecans airtight at room temperature.

9. Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°. Whisk egg with 1/2 tsp. water in a small bowl. Brush tops of buns with egg wash. Bake, rotating pan halfway through and tenting with foil if browning too quickly, until buns are golden brown, filling is bubbling, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of buns registers 185°, about 50 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Spoon remaining glaze over. Sprinkle 1/2 cup pecans over. Let cool in pan on a wire rack.

10. Lightly sprinkle sea salt over. Serve buns warm or at room temperature.

Whew ok I'm tired.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Happy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread **from a mix**

I was feeling happy today and knew that I had to add some sprinkles to my life.  :)

The only bad thing about this is I am out of butter! As ashamed as I am to admit that, I have to improvise. I had a box mix sitting up in my pantry just waiting to be used. I wanted something sweet to put my sprinkles in that didn't need butter....some things are just meant to happen.

I have been fighting off a chest cold so I haven't been up for a marathon baking session, but still wanted to smell something heavenly wafting from my oven. Box mix is not my favorite but there is a time and place for everything. The funny thing is I can spend hours and hours in the kitchen working on a fabulous cake but the other half would still choose a box yellow cake with cool whip mixed with pineapple for frosting and banana slices sandwiched in the middle of two layers. It's what he grew up with as a boy, and his mom still makes it for gatherings to this day. When he takes a bite of that cake, not only is he enjoying the flavor but he is savoring the memories that he made over the years with his family while eating that cake. I realize that I can't compete with those beautiful memories he has, but I sure can make some new ones.

Enter happiness in a loaf pan......

Happy Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
From a Mix :)

1 pkg cake mix (french vanilla is what I had on hand)
3 lrg ripe bananas, mashed
2 lrg eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup mixed chocolate chip (I used a mixture I had left over, white, milk, and dark chips)
2 capfuls rainbow nonpareils (or jimmies or your favorite sprinkle) 
*sprinkle tops with rainbow sanding sugar (optional) 

**would have added nuts but the other half got to them before I did. :)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans. (13x9 would work fine also) 

2. Place bananas in bowl of stand mixer or large mixing bowl and mix on low to mash bananas. 

3. Add bananas, oil, and vanilla and mix until fluffy.

4. Add cake mix and mix on low for 30 seconds to moisten, and then raise speed to medium for about 1 minute until batter is light and fluffy.

5. Stir in chocolate chips, and rainbow sprinkles. Pour into prepared pans. Sprinkle with sanding sugar if using.

6. Bake in preheated oven 35 - 40 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Allow to cool on baking rack.


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