Monday, March 17, 2014

Sticky Buns

Sticky Buns from Food Therapy
Sticky Buns
I love the weekend.  One of the reasons I love the weekend so much is breakfast.  I love eggs. I love toast. I love grits. I love potatoes. I love buttermilk pancakes. I love waffles. I even love my steel-cut oatmeal with all the toppings. But, I absolutely adore, love, and worship breakfast pastries. Doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, morning buns, and the ooey-gooey goodness of a sticky bun. Mmmm...I'm getting dreamy just thinking about it.  Yes, pastries are my weakness.  I dream of the day when I don't care about my figure anymore. The kids will have kids of their own. I'll be stuffing each and every one of my grandchildren with the devil's food, and stuffing my mouth with doughnut after doughnut after doughnut. So what!

Sticky Buns from Food Therapy
Well, that time is not here yet, and I am not completely free to gorge.  That does not mean that I can't indulge every now and then.  And, what better way to begin your weekend morning and feed that craving than with an easy recipe for sticky buns.

Sticky Buns from Food Therapy
I find that the most difficult thing about making pastries from scratch is the wait time.  Working with anything made of yeast takes time to not only put together since you have the rising time to work in, but usually you will have another rising time after you've created your masterpiece.  For those who don't always plan ahead (ahem! often times that is yours truly), I kind of, sort of, found a way to cheat.  It's a good cheat though so don't judge me.

On Friday night, while Gary and I were watching Diners, Dives, and Drive-Ins, there was a segment on a restaurant that makes their own sticky buns.  Oh, my! It was glorious.  And, yes, he made his all from scratch. Huge amounts of beautiful, soft dough was rolled out with a gigantic layer of fatty, European butter spread across it. He folded it in half and then in half again, creating layers and layers of just dough and butter.  Then, he let it rest. Then, he rolled it out again.  Then, he added the brown sugar and cinnamon, and rolled it up again. After he sliced the buns, he placed them in a muffin tin, and, yes, let them rise AGAIN. Who has time for all of that unless you do it for a living? I want my sticky buns and I want them NOW, preferably with my morning coffee.

With inspiration in hand, I set about to make a plan for my sticky buns to be done in less time. And, that's where the handy puff pastry I've come to love came into play.  The puff pastry sheets come frozen. So, the most planning that came into play was remembering to take them out of the freezer the night before to thaw out in the refrigerator.  When I woke in the morning, I took the sheets out and let them warm up just a little so that they rolled out easily without splitting apart.

Rolled out pastry sheet with mascarpone cheese on top
Once the sheets were rolled out, I thought instead of a layer of butter, a layer of mascarpone cheese would be a nice change.  And, since blood oranges are in the grocery at the moment, why not add some of their juice on top.  I love the combination of cinnamon and citrus flavors.
Blood Orange juice added for flavor
The next step was to combine the brown sugar and cinnamon on top. Then, roll, roll, roll, into perfect logs of sugar and flour.


My log of loveliness
The next part is my favorite part, slicing the rolls and taking a look at just how pretty they are inside.  Such sweet little things that are about to make me very happy.


One tip I did learn from the show was to place my buns in muffin tins rather than free-form on the baking sheet. It helped keep the buns from falling apart. They were slightly gooey in the middle, but who the heck cares! The sugar turned syrupy and dripped to the bottom of each muffin spot, helping the walnuts stick to the top. When you take them out of the pan and flip them over, the walnuts stick right to what is now the top of the bun. And, if any is left in the pan, scoop it up and plop it on top of its mate. Or, do like me and eat those sticky walnuts up!

For a print-friendly version of the recipe, click https://sites.google.com/site/foodtherapystickybuns/

Ingredients:
1 package of frozen puff pastry, 2 sheets
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
Juice of one Orange (I used blood oranges but you don't have to)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 cup of walnut pieces

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a 12-muffin muffin pan with cooking spray.

Follow the package directions for thawing out your puff pastry sheets.

When they have thawed and are soft enough to roll out, prepare a work surface by sprinkling a small amount of flour in order to keep your sheets from sticking.

Roll out your sheets and spread a thin layer of the cheese across the surface of your puff pastry.

Squeeze the juice of one orange on each sheet, on top of the cheese layer.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread the mixture on top of the sheets, getting as close to the edges as possible.

Begin rolling the sheet from one side, rolling it to the middle of the sheet.  Then, roll from the other side so that they meet in the middle.

With a pastry cutter or serrated knife, carefully slice your dough logs into 2-inch slices.

Sprinkle walnut pieces in each of the muffin tins and then place your buns in the muffin pan. Give them a small smush to make the walnuts stick better to the buns.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until the buns have browned to your liking.  Let them cool for at least five minutes before turning them upside down.