This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was pecan honey sticky buns, chosen by Madam Chow's Kitchen. This recipe didn't really call out to me before, probably due to the honey in the name (I'm trying to like honey) and all the nuts on top (though I don't know why sugary pecans wouldn't appeal to me considering my new love of pecans). And making brioche to make these? I was a bit scared. I had this idea in my head that brioche would be this horrible sticky mess and would be so hard to make. But with the use of a Kitchenaid and Dorie's recipe, the most difficult thing was remembering to go back and punch the dough down every 30 minutes after it was in the fridge.
With how easy the brioche was to make, and how absolutely perfectly soft it was on the inside with the most delicious browned outsides - I know I'll be making brioche many more times. The brioche made these honey pecan sticky buns the type of cinnamon/sticky roll that I love. And I for some reason never thought of making a caramel to put the sticky buns in as they baked - I'm sure Dorie's not the first person to do this but wow am I happy to be introduced to this idea. I used to think that a cinnamon roll MUST have cream cheese icing, and while I do still love cream cheese icing, I think I actually prefer them without. As long as they have lots of gooey sugary cinnamony caramel type stuff, which is exactly what this one has.
Since you have to make a whole recipe of brioche (and this recipe uses only half of it), I had planned to make one loaf of brioche, half a recipe of honey pecan sticky buns, and save and freeze the other piece for half a recipe of brioche raisin snails (another Dorie recipe). BUT silly me, I forgot to wrap up that extra 1/4 and didn't end up halving the dough for the recipe, though I halved everything else - including the size that I rolled the dough out to and the dish that I baked them in. That's why my sticky buns were so fat. There was definitely nothing wrong with them but I want to try this recipe the way it was intended, with the dough rolled out thinner.
Thanks Madam Chow for choosing this insanely tasty recipe! I've been looking for a really good cinnamon roll recipe and I think I've now found it. If you don't like pecans, these would definitely be good without. And if you're a little wary of things tasting like honey, don't worry about it for this recipe as you can't taste it.
Other TWD recipes I've made:
Matcha Coconut Madeleines
Bill's Big Carrot Cake
The Most Extraordinary French Lemon Cream Tart
Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours
Makes 16 buns
For the Glaze:
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cups pecans (whole or pieces)
For the Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the Buns:
1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche loaves (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating it overnight)
Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan is perfect for this).
To make the glaze: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter, and honey to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, spreading it as best you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle the pecans over top.
To make the filling: In a bowl, mix the sugars and cinnamon together.
To shape the buns: On a flour-dusted work surface, roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months. Or, if you want to make just part of the recipe now, you can use as much of the dough as you'd like and freeze the remainder. Reduce the glaze recipe accordingly).
With a chef's knife, using a gentle sawing motion cut the log into 1-inch thick buns. Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.
Lightly cover the pan with a clean dry dish towel and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled and, in all likelihood, touching one another.
Getting ready to bake: When the buns have almost fully risen, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375F. Remove the dish towel and put the pan on a baking sheet.
Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and gorgeously golden; the glaze will be bubbling away merrily. Pull the pan from the oven. The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicone mate or buttered foil. Be careful - the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.
Golden Brioche Dough
Adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours
(This recipe makes enough for two brioche loaves. If you divide the dough in half, you would use half for the sticky buns, and you can freeze the other half for a later date, or make a brioche loaf out of it.)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm
Glaze (you would brush this on brioche loaves, but not on the sticky buns):
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
To Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can-- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.
Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, about 40 to 60 minutes.
Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight. (After this, you can proceed with the recipe to make the brioche loaves, or make the sticky buns instead, or freeze all or part of the dough for later use.)
The next day, butter two 8x4 inch pans.
Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)
Getting Ready To Bake: Preheat the oven to 400F.
To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.
Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.