3 weeks ago
Sunday, December 14, 2008
When I was in Barnes & Noble the other day, I picked up a copy of Ina's new book, Back to Basics, which immediately landed me a spot on the "naughty" list, since I am not supposed to buy things for myself right before Christmas. But I figured if there was ever a time to pick up some pointers on returning to the basics, Ina-style, it would be in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I christened the book with her coq a vin, which didn't work out so well for me, but I blame that on the chef and not the recipe.
When I was flipping through the book, the recipe for Easy Sticky Buns immediately caught my attention. I love sticky buns and have long wanted to make them, but the yeast thing usually stops me at the last minute. Because believe it or not, I don't actually enjoy kitchen failure, even though I experience it a lot. It makes me cranky, and who wants to be a Scrooge this time of year? I especially dislike failing after investing 48 hours of kneading/waiting/rising time into a kitchen project. So the vast majority of the time, when I come eyeball to eyeball with a sticky bun recipe, I'll blink and end up going with something like cinnamon muffins instead.
But Ina's Easy Sticky Buns are made with frozen puff pastry sheets, so you won't need to deal with yeast bread maybe rising and maybe not, and you won't have to clear two days out of your schedule to make them. How did I live for almost 36 years without knowing about frozen puff pastry sheets? These things can make even a hack like me feel like a real pastry chef! Only you and I will have to know the truth.
You start out my mixing together some butter and brown sugar, and dropping the mixture into a muffin tin by the tablespoon. Top with chopped pecans (or leave them off of some if you plan to serve to people who are allergic to nuts or just don't like them. I kept a couple nut-free for my one year old, who shouldn't have nuts yet):
Unroll the puff pastry sheets, brush with melted butter, and top with brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins:
Roll up like a jelly roll, ending up with the seam side down:
Cut each roll into 6 even pieces (about 1.5 inches wide). I tried to eyeball at first and made light marks on the top of the pastry with the knife, and ended up with twenty-four 1/8 inch rolls, four 1/2 inch rolls and one seven inch roll. Then I got a ruler out and was able to mark off six 1.5 inch rolls:
Place cut side up on top of the butter/sugar/pecan mixture in the muffin tins.
Place muffin tin on baking sheet lined with parchment and place into a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. They smell unreal when they are baking, and they come out looking golden and puffy:
These are seriously delicious sticky buns. Are there better sticky bun recipes? Probably, but for 10 minutes of prep time and 30 minutes of baking time, I think these can hold their own with any sticky buns out there. Thank you, Ina, for bringing real, mouthwatering sticky buns within the reach of the marginally-talented home baker!
EASY STICKY BUNS, from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
12 tablespoons (1 & 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
1 package (17.3 ounces/ 2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
FOR THE FILLING:
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.
Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with half of the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1½ teaspoons of the cinnamon, and ½ cup of the raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down. Trim the ends of the roll about ½ inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1½ inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.
Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon) and cool completely.
Posted by Cathy at 11:09 AM