sticky buns

Hi. Has it been long enough since Christmas breads and buns for this? Are you really serious about your New Year's resolutions or can I tempt you with something sticky sweet and carb-laden?

I know I've mentioned these before, but they really do deserve their own post. Pecan sticky buns (or in this case, walnut sticky buns) are one of my favs. Thanks, Martha Stewart.

You have to plan ahead a bit, as the dough needs to sit overnight and they need to be shaped and rise again in the morning, but I'm telling you they are worth the wait. And since they're best eaten fresh, I'd wait for a time when there aren't just two of you sitting around the fire... although we've done that too.

I rely on my Kitchenaid mixer to do all the work with this recipe. Since I've never tried kneading it all by hand, I'll just give the mixer instructions...

pecan sticky buns
makes 12

1 1/4-oz package active dry yeast
1/2 C plus 1 Tb warm milk (not hot!)
3 C all-purpose flour
1/6 cup granulated sugar
1 teas salt
2 eggs
1/2 pound (2 sticks/1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut in pieces, plus more for buttering tins
1 1/2 C pecan halves
1 C light corn syrup (or just get the squeezable bottle and don't bother measuring)
about 2/3 C packed brown sugar
a little more than 1/4 C sour cream
about 1/2 Tbs ground cinnamon -- several shakes of the cinnamon shaker

The night before...

Line a glass baking pan (13x9) with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, combine yeast and milk. Let stand until the yeast is creamy (10 mins.)

In the bowl of your magic mixer (fitted with the dough hook) combine flour, granulated sugar and salt. Add yeast mixture and eggs. Mix on low until completely combined.

Raise speed to high and add butter, several pieces at a time. When all the butter has been added, continue mixing until the dough is smooth and shiny. This takes a long time, like 8 to 10 minutes to fast mixing. (Now you see why I entrust this job to a machine.) Transfer the dough to the lined baking pan and spread it out. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill overnight.

The next morning...

Take dough out of the fridge and let stand at room temperature until slightly softened (15 mins.)

Meanwhile, generously butter a standard muffin tin. Chop most of the pecans, and with about 1/2 cup of the pecan halves, split them lengthwise. Keep the two types separate. In the muffin tin, pour a bit of corn syrup in each cup. With my corn syrup in a squeeze bottle (how industrial does that sound, eh?!) I just add enough to cover the bottom, maybe a 1/8-1/4 inch deep. Add about a teaspoon of brown sugar to each and divide the halved pecans among the cups. Set aside.

Roll out dough lengthwise, 1/4 inch thick, and into a rectangle (about 12 x 15 inches.) Spread sour cream over the surface, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle cinnamon and 1/3 C brown sugar over the sour cream. Cover the mix with chopped pecans. Roll the dough lengthwise.

Using a sharp knife, slice the roll into 12 slices and place in the muffin tins. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover muffin tin with parchment paper and let rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes. I put mine on the preheating oven.

Transfer sticky buns to the oven. I recommend placing a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any drips. Rotate the pan to get even baking. Bake until buns are dark golden brown, about 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and immediately turn buns out onto a sheet of parchment paper. Replace any pecan halves that fell off the buns, and let cool a bit before eating. Wow. Yum.

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