Sunday, September 30, 2007

Daring Bakers September Challenge - Sticky Buns


Busy mixer
Originally uploaded by watchjennybake.
When I saw cinnamon rolls and/or sticky buns announced as the September Daring Bakers challenge, I have to admit to sighing in relief. I have made cinnamon rolls many times, of many varieties, and it didn't look like I'd have to wrestle with caramel this time around. I read through the recipe, decided to make sticky buns, and realized... oops, still caramel. Darn! The recipe made it seem easy, but caramel has some kind of vendetta against me. I don't know why!

Rather than copying and pasting the recipe, please visit the blog of Marce, this month's hostess, to see the recipe. It comes from The Bread Baker's Apprentice, a cookbook I have long contemplated buying, and I enjoyed how some of the steps of the recipe were illustrated, and there wasn't just a picture of what the final result should look like.

The first picture (above) shows my Sunbeam mixer trying to knead the dough. It was making such a ruckus and trying to jump off the counter, that at first I put a towel underneath it, and then decided to knead by hand. My poor Sunbeam has been challenged severely, although the worst thing I did to it was make divinity, which almost burned out the motor. Eventually I want to get a Kitchenaid with a snazzy color but I enjoy kneading by hand so much I didn't mind helping my mixer out. I could get the dough to feel quite right, and wish I had added a little less flour.

Caramel mixture
While the dough rose in an oiled bowl, I prepared the caramel mixture. I was happy to see that I didn't have to cook anything on the stove, just mix butter and sugar and syrup together in the mixer and spread it into the pan I would bake the buns in. The recipe said corn syrup but that you could substitute golden syrup - I had a bunch of golden syrup leftover from making treacle tart, and happily used it. Now this is where following the recipe exactly would have been helpful. It said to spread 1/4" of the caramel mixture on the bottom of the pan. I did, and thought it looked scarce, and had a bunch left over, so I scraped all of it into the pan. Little did I know the regret this would cause later on.

You may also notice that only half the caramel is sprinkled with nuts - we have one nut lover and one nut apathetic in my house. I made a little for each of us.

Dough with cinnamon sugar
After the dough had risen, it gets rolled out and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. This step was the same for both the regular cinnamon rolls and the sticky buns. A step very familiar to me, although I was surprised the recipe didn't instruct me to leave a space to seal the rolls off (but I just did what it said). I also left all items resembling dried fruit out, since this was one of the ingredients we could omit if we pleased. If I had left them in, I would have been facing an entire pan of sticky buns to eat on my own. Yikes! The dough at this point was still not the texture I wanted - I made this recipe the first weekend of September and after reading other posts about it, it sounds like people let the dough rise longer if it wasn't quite ready. Well, I was anxious, and the rising time was soooo long already!!

Sliced buns
The next step is rolling the dough into a log and slicing into 12-16 equal slices. I learned long ago that the best knife to use when slicing dough such as this is a bread knife, and was happy to easily make nice slices of the buns. I went with 12 buns because I wanted to bake everything in one pan.

Sticky buns after rising
The buns get laid into the caramel, covered, and left to rise a second time. If I had made them the night before, this is the stage I could have put them into the fridge, but I didn't plan that far ahead. This is another place where I should have allowed for extra time to rise, but I looked at them, saw they had proofed slightly, told them "Time's up!" and stuck them in the oven. At this point the process had taken 3-4 hours, the house smelled like Cinnabon, and we were starving!!

Finished product in the pan
The buns smelled amazing while baking, well, until about 15 minutes before they were supposed to be finished. I opened the door and smoke started pouring out. You remember that extra caramel I lavished on the pan? Well, the reason you only put 1/4" on the bottom is that otherwise it bubbles over into the bottom of your stove. I had to take the buns out before I was really ready, and they were slightly underdone (not noticably, but not perfectly to my liking). I couldn't decide what to do about the oven for days - thanks to the advice from several Daring Bakers, I used lemon juice and baking soda, and it worked miracles (thanks everyone!!).

Sticky bun
The finished product was delicious. Despite my rushing of the proofing, I felt like the dough was light and not that weird-sweet flavor of dough that has not risen correctly. The sticky bun part was tasty, but I think a little too sweet for me. The use of golden syrup lent a slight molasses taste to the buns which I think added a nice flavor dimension. On the other hand I felt the lemon zest was slightly overpowering, and might add less next time. I did like the way the caramel baked on its own, which technically should have meant less problems. I had plans to try an apple or orange version but never got around to it, but this recipe goes into my file as one I would make again. I would definitely do most of this the night before I wanted to eat them, however. 1 PM is a little late for breakfast!

Daring Bakers Blue Logo
Since this recipe is brought to you by the Daring Bakers, you can check out the other versions of this recipe by clicking on the blogroll on the left column of this blog. I have to warn you - there are now over 100 of us! I'll probably be spending the next few days reading and commenting on them!

Categories: Caramel, Cinnamon, Pastry, Yeast

45 comments:

breadchick said...

Jenny, you crack me up with your posts! Great job on the buns and I'm definitely trying the sticky buns now!!

Ivonne said...

Jenny,

Lovely photos! I'm so glad you were happy with the buns!

slush said...

Your stickies look divine! The caramel is perfect, and I am beyond jealous. Mine came out a hard brittle like substance. That didnt stop me from eating them however.

Great job!

Baking Soda said...

Hi Jenny! You've got some lovely swimming buns there. I didn't make sticky ones but this makes me wonder....

April said...

These look great! Next time I will use pecans as well!

Peabody said...

Spilled caramel in the oven is never good!
Your buns look fantastic.

Nazca said...

Learning the hard way is the only way! I know, I do it every month around this time! ;-)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I must have used a bigger pan because I used all the sticky carmel stuff and was fine. Actually it wasn't fine because it was so good people tried to eat more than they really could.
Even with a Kitchen Aid I still knead by hand most of the time. I just like the feel.
Lovely Buns you got Jenny.

Quellia said...

Jenny I did my first batch the night before and let them sit in the fridge over night - it took almost 3 1/2 hours for them to rise the next morning from the fridge, so you still might not have eaten them until lunch time!
Your buns look great and I'm glad the oven is doing better now!

Bruno said...

Yummy looking buns Jenny!!

Y said...

Your sticky buns look great! I'm hanging out to get a KitchenAid one day too. Can't really justify it at the moment, because the mixer I inherited from my mom, still works fantastically. Albeit it's like at least twenty years old and is so loud that I worry whenever I bake, that the neighbours are going to knock on my door and tell me that construction is not allowed on weekends!

Belinda said...

Jenny, I knew I would have a caramel incident if I were to try the sticky buns, so I went with the cinnamon rolls, but...overflowing caramel or not, your sticky buns look amazing...I'm coveting them now! :-)

Dharm said...

The buns look great - especially the sticky ones! Well done!

Brilynn said...

Caramel has got the best of me on a number of occasions, (ok, almost all of them)... Your buns look great though!

Katie said...

They look great, your caramel glaze is so glossy.

Meeta said...

Incredible looking buns! Glad these worked for you!

Pille said...

I'm the same - I've made cinnamon rolls many times, so I chose sticky buns this time to have at least some kind of challenge. Eventually I ended up making both, and while I won't replace my 'own' cinnamon roll recipe with Reinhart's, I'll be probably making sticky buns again..
Love the step-by-step photos of yours, Jenny!

Ilva said...

That last photo made me so hungry that I had to get up and get something to eat! wow!

Butta Buns said...

Even if they smoked up the oven, that's a neat picture of the buns looking like they're ready to burst out of the pan! All the scrubbing and pan cleaning though amounts to a lot of calorie burning in the end though. Or at least that was my justification for eating 3 in a row.

Rose said...

Yum! I'm going to have to make the sticky buns! :)

Hilda said...

Oh my gosh they look scrumptious, everyone is motivating me to try the sticky buns, I only made the cinnamon buns. I want a Kitchen Aid too.

Hilda said...

I think I definitely have to try the sticky buns now, I've been on the fence and only made the cinnamon buns, but yours look so fantastic, I'm sold.

Kelly-Jane said...

Your poor oven! Thank goodness it came ok! Your buns look fabulous, even if not just what you wanted them to be. Great pictures too.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Wow so you did cinnamon buns with the caramel glaze? That sounds so good! I wish I would have done that! It would have been better than the fondant! Next time.

Deborah said...

I hear you on the oven thing!! The same thing happened to me, but most of my caramel ended up in the bottom of the oven, leaving only a small bit on the buns. Yours look delicious, though!

Marce said...

oh my god, i almost died when i got to the part of the overflowing caramel, damn, caramel does have a thing for you, Jenny! hahaha but i´m glad you liked the results anyways and will give the recipe another go.

thepassionatecook said...

wow! that caramel must have burnt like lava! i will try and remember the trick with the baking soda... always useful! they still look lovely and i am glad you weer able to enjoy them in the end!

Rachel said...

These look great! Sorry they overflowed into your oven, but gave you a reason to clean the oven I guess.

Farah said...

Poor thing, I am glad you managed to get the caramel mess out of your oven - and your buns look perfect, in spite of the oven disaster! :-)

Lis said...

HAR! Okay well now I know the reason for the 1/4" hehe I gotta tell ya though.. if I could, I'd dive right in with those sticky buns swimmin in the caramel. *swoon*

Another fabulous post and challenge, sweetie!

xoxo

the pastry princess said...

lovely buns!! you did a great job with this challenge. and i love the action shot of the KA

Tartelette said...

Great post Jenny! Glad to hear the buns turned out good, in spite of the oven issue!

KJ said...

I'll have to remember that tip for cleaning my oven. I did pretty well on this occassion, but I am generally a hopeless judge of pan sizes.

Your buns look delicious. Great job.

joey said...

Your buns turned out terrific looking...even after the caramel overflow :) I really loved these sticky buns!

Annemarie said...

They came out looking lovely and sticky, though I can only imagine the panic (and regret) when opening the oven door. I still have a hard time believing that too much of a good thing isn't, really a better thing, but I guess sometimes that's the case...

marias23 said...

Whoa! Bunz overboard! Great job, hun!

Amy said...

Oh no! Bummer about the spilled caramel. The buns look fantastic!

Aoife said...

Burnt spillage and all, your sticky buns look beautiful! As much as a headache it must have been for you, it gave me the chance to learn from your mistake. Thanks for taking one for the team!

The Cooking Ninja said...

I had the same problem with my oven. My significant other baked something in it while I was away on holidays and I came back to my horror to find my oven with blacken stuff on the bottom.

Your sticky buns looks delicious and inviting.

Julie said...

Kitchen mishap photos are as inspiring as the perfect, pristine product photos! I'm glad you shared it. Your buns look fabulous! I'm a bit impatient when it comes to proofing, too.

Gabi said...

I can tell you've rolled a few cinnamon buns before- your "scrollwork" looks perfect!
i'm glad your oven cleaned up spiffy too :)
xoxo

Dolores said...

Oh Jenny, your boiled-over buns are *beautiful* and I'm relieved you were able to clean the oven with a minimum of extra effort. Forgive the late comment -- as the group grows it takes longer to make my way around to everyone.

Truffle said...

They look pretty good to me! I really wish I'd tried to sticky ones now. They look so tempting!

Andrea said...

Ohh, burning stuff in the bottom of the oven is such a pain, but your buns turned out quite lovely in spite of the overflow of caramel! Great job!

kiersten said...

jenny....your sticky buns look beautiful! I had the same overflow problem with my caramel but mine caught the oven on fire!!! Nice pix of the process!