Monday, June 16, 2014

A Baking Conundrum - Cinnamon Sticky Buns for Father's Day

There are few things more wonderful than the smell of butter mixed into dough, slowing baking in the oven until something golden brown and delicious becomes the final product.

On another note, today was Father's Day.

On a related note, among my dad's favorite foods are desserts.  More specifically, he loves all kinds of baked goods, especially anything with raisins.  

Now since I love baking, especially when the aforementioned magic of butter and dough take place, it leaves me in a difficult spot when I can't really tolerate wheat flour...or excess amounts of butter.  And sticky buns definitely use a lot of butter.

My solution?  Bake for a crowd that can tolerate my recipes so that I get all my baking urges out of the way.  There's something about kneading dough and the scent of cinnamon and sugar and butter mixing together to create a tantalizing aroma and just an overall comforting atmosphere. satisfy my need to bake and the need for some willing eaters, I tackled a sticky bun recipe for Father's Day.

Sticky buns aren't my own creation by any means, but after finding some recipes to reference, I set off on my own cinnamon and butter filled journey.

To see what I did, keep reading!

From the very beginning, I knew I wanted these to be loaded with pecans and raisins, and I was aiming for a really tender and soft dough. I don't actually work with yeast very often, so this was a bit of a new experience for me.  Because of this, it took me a little longer than it should have to actually make these, but I have a feeling that I will be trying this again in the future!

Prep: 30 minutes
Inactive: 1 hour
Bake: 30 minutes

Servings: 16

Dough Ingredients:
3.5 - 4 C. white flour
1/4 C. melted butter
3/4 C. warm milk (I used almond milk)
1/4 C. white sugar
1 egg
1/4 oz. package yeast 
1/2 C. warm water

Filling Ingredients:
1/2 C. butter
3/4 C. white sugar
2 T. cinnamon
1/2 C. crushed pecans
1/2 C. raisins

Glaze ingredients:
1/3 C. honey
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
4 T. (1/4 C.) butter
2 C. crushed pecans
1 C. raisins (optional)
lemon zest (optional)


1. In a large bowl, mix melted butter, warm milk, sugar, and egg together. Add 2.5 cups of flour and mix until smooth.  
2. In a small separate bowl, mix the yeast and warm water together to let the yeast activate.  Let it it for about 10 minutes or until the mixture foams.  Then, add it to the flour mixture above, and slowly add flour in until the dough comes together.  If it is too sticky, add more flour. 
3. Once the dough holds together, knead the dough on a floured surface with your hands until it is elastic and soft, but  not too sticky.  Spread butter over the dough, rinse out the large bowl and lightly butter the bowl as well.  Place the dough in the bowl, cover with a damp towel or cloth and let it rise for about one hour, or until the dough has doubled.

In the meantime, prepare the filling and glaze.

1. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together.  Have the raisins and pecans ready in small bowls.  
2. Melt the butter when the dough is ready.

1. In a saucepan, heat the brown sugar, honey, and butter on low heat until the consistency is smooth.  
2. Add the lemon zest.  The glaze should be a little more runny than honey itself, and it should not feel gritty.
2. Pour the mixture into a 13x9 pan, and sprinkle the pecans and raisins over the top.

Dough, Pt. 2:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
1. Once the dough has risen, roll it onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead out the extra air and then roll it out into a 15x9 rectangle.
2.  Brush the melted butter to cover the surface.  It' okay if there is some extra butter.  Then, brush the sugar/cinnamon mix over the butter and cover evenly.
3.  Add the raisins and pecans, if desired!
4. Slowly roll the dough up, making the rolls as tight as possible.  Once the dough is rolled, used a serrated knife to cut the dough into 16 slices.
5. Place the dough in the baking pan, and brush the remaining butter over the top.
6. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minute, or until golden brown.
7.  Immediately after baking (to prevent the glaze from hardening), invert the pan onto another large plate or dish.

Serve warm.  Or in my case, serve to my family warm while I eat the leftover glaze.  Hehee 

Recipes adapted from:

I added the lemon zest at the last minute, and I think it was a great addition to cut through the sweetness of the honey and brown sugar.  It balanced the flavors out a little bit, and just a few shavings was enough to make a difference!

dough after rising

glaze with pecans

I have to say, the smell of these while they were baking was absolutely intoxicating.

After baking, the "bottom" of the sticky buns:

And inverted onto another pan:

 A Father's Day well done!

Even though I couldn't eat the actual buns and only ate the glaze, I got some thorough and enthusiastic approvals.  It may seem strange to spend so much time baking something I can even eat, but it truly makes me happy just to go through the steps of making something from scratch and seeing the end result.  Plus, knowing I have a family around to enjoy my food is enough motivation to keep baking!

Next step?  Tackling a gluten-free and dairy free version!

Hope you all had a great Father's Day..or just a great lazy Sunday :)

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