We have had guests for the past week, and I have been making breakfast for them.
Usually I eat a bowl of Kashi Heart 2 Heart with skim milk every morning. I also wear high-waisted beige, full-bottom briefs and my bra is actually a life jacket. I don't leave the house without a catcher's mask and sometimes I wear knee-socks on my hands. That's the exciting girl described by the breakfast above. Side Note -- I like Heart 2 Heart best because it doesn't remind me of Hamster Food, and there are no creepy, maybe dangerous, smiling people on the box.
"Good Friends! Finding you! In the night."
This week I took off the knee-pads and preventative ankle braces and got to work. This week I was up before 7:30 on most days, making pancakes with wild blueberry and fresh cherry compotes, Gruyere and Herb frittata with sauteed garlic tomatoes, oven home fries and finally the above -- Sticky Orange and Pecan Honeybuns.
I also made a cheesecake, but that was for lunch.
Of all of them, and to no great surprise, the buns won. As they always do, especially if you believed The E! Channel circa '01-'04, also known as "The Lopez Reign".
These buns start with the most-terrific, creamy, yeasty Fosters Market Dough, which can be made two weeks in advance and kept in arrested development in the fridge, tightly covered. Once you let it come to room temperature and roll, rise, it blooms into golden knots in the oven. I have never met an all-purpose dough I like as much as this, especially since it can be altered (to the small specifications I had) to suit the recipe's taste. For this recipe, I made the full batch of dough, scenting it with orange and speckling it with vanilla bean seeds. But you can make it as is, or use any of Sara Foster's adaptations, all available on the site.
Nothing is groundbreaking about these rolls, besides the double-saturation issue. While they may seem like decent, God-Fearing sticky buns at first glance, what turns these into decadent gut-bombs is the additional, all-sugar glaze that seals in moistness before the caramelized gunk is turned out over their prettily formed tops. They are delicious, with none of the embarrassing, mid-morning dryness issues other Sticky Buns deal with from time to time. Reheat them in a low oven the next morning, and you're golden. All without a prescription.
I use only 1/2 the dough created by following the Fosters' Market recipe each time I make these buns, meaning that there's a good chance that four or five days after you first experience these, you'll have a reason to do so again. The filling, topping and glaze amounts listed are for 1/2 the dough yield, and feel free to double if you want to go crazy and make even more people hate you.
I like to do that in increments. Savor it.
Sticky Orange and Pecan Honeybuns
Dough adapted from Fosters' Market Recipe
Prepare the recipe mentioned above -- Don't halve it, even though the amounts for the filling, topping and glaze listed below are for only 1/2 the amount of dough you will end up with.
However, to the milk, add an additional 1 1/2 Tablespoons of sugar, the zest from 1/2 an orange, half of a split vanilla bean, and after removing from the heat and cooling slightly (before adding to the yeast), add 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract. Prepare and rise as directed, then cut in half and store either one or both halves in the fridge, in a buttered bowl, tightly covered. Or, after the first rise, use one half immediately and proceed with the recipe, following the steps below.
1/2 stick Unsalted butter, softened (You may use more, you may use less)
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 teaspoons ground, good-quality Cinnamon
1/3 cup Clover Honey
Zest from 1/2 an orange
2 Tablespoons Unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup Clover Honey
1/2 (heaping) cup pecans (I chop half of them, and leave the rest whole)
Roll the dough into a long, even oblong rectangle or oval. The dough will be around 1/4 inch thick and 17-18 inches in length, from longest point to longest point. Smear generously with butter, using the back of a spoon and making sure to cover the entire surface, including the edges. Scatter evenly with brown sugar, Cinnamon and sprinkle with the orange zest and pecans. Drizzle the dough's surface with honey, and then roll vertically, starting from the longest side, into a tight, compact snake. Pinch the edges shut, and use your hands to lightly even out any thicker or parts. Cut off 1/2 inch of dough on each end (these have little to no filling), and then cut the snake into 1 1/2 inch logs.
Thickly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch, heavy aluminum round cake pan. Pat brown sugar in the bottom of the pan, evenly, and scatter with pecans and drizzle with honey. Set the rolls in, making sure they're close together, and don't worry about any gaps or spaces -- especially around the outside of the pan. Cover rolls with a slightly dampened (and wrung dry) dish towel and allow to rise for 15-20 minutes in a warm space.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake the risen rolls for 20-30 minutes, checking after 15, until golden brown, risen and the filling/topping is bubbling away like crazy. Remove from the oven and cool for two minutes, then use tongs to remove each roll from the pan and place on a platter -- if you like, you can invert the whole thing and call it done.
But I'm not that kind of girl.
1 cup powdered sugar, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh orange zest
Mix together, adding more orange juice if needed until you have an opaque, lightly-thickened icing.
Once the buns are arranged on your chosen plate, dry-side up, evenly trickle the glaze over the tops, allowing it to sink in and coat the sides of the buns.
Now, grasp the edge of the pan with a pot-holder clad hand and tip over the buns, allowing the remaining sticky honey-brown sugar gunk to swirl out and dump over the rolls. Scrape any stray pecans on top. Immediately run hot water in the empty pan, and serve your guests.