I have a funny story.
Joe (JBS) and I have been together nearly 2 years, but we've been friends for almost 6 years! I first (officially) met him junior year of high school. He was in my lunch group; 6 or 7 of us would always eat lunch together and instead of going to the cafeteria, we took over an old chemistry teacher's class. I don't know why she let us eat there... or why Joe and Mu once ate off the floor there... but it was fun. We even built a makeshift fort near the microwave. Good times.
Joe didn't always eat a healthy lunch though. He usually just grazed off the girls' lunches, and would pick something out of the vending machine, usually a honey bun. There was one time that he asked us for change, and we gave it to him. As he headed out towards the vending machine, us girls chatted about how we hoped he wouldn't go get a honey bun like usual and how we wished he would eat healthier. That cutie came back with baked potato chips. He said he overheard our conversation and felt bad, ahah.
Fast forward 6 years, and my favorite nickname for him is honey bun. So now you know!
In honor of my honey bun, I decided to make some honey buns. I wanted to make something that reminded me of him, but also that made me step out of my cupcake box!
I'm afraid of making bread... Will it rise, won't it... and the recipe was all 'put it in the fridge for 30 minutes, take it out and slap it.. repeat for 2 hours.. let it sit overnight. Blah blah blah!' I felt like it was screaming "you will fail!" But then again, I was also pretty scared of macarons :)
I did discover shortly after making this that we do own a breadmaker... but I'm still glad I learned to do it from scratch first.
I don't actually like cinnabons or honey buns or pecans... or honey... or bread really. Anyway, this turned out ugly but still quite tasty. I mailed some out to Joe a couple of hours after making them, and I didn't know what to do with the rest.
*EDIT*: My sister came by and took the rest of the honey buns and can't stop raving about them; wants me to make more for a party! :)
The bread is a brioche dough by TWD and baked with glaze and cinnamon sugar. I would totally make this dough again! It was soft and fluffy. I added slightly less butter though, and it's not noticeable. My main issue was rolling it into a log and slicing it... I think I did it in the wrong order because a lot of the filling fell out. Also they weren't perfect circles. Bummer!
GOLDEN BRIOCHE DOUGH
- 2 packets active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup barely warm water
- 1/3 cup barely warm milk
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. salt
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm
- 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 the mixture with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a towel over the mixer to avoid being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off in a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour, then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-high just until the flour is moistened. You should have a fairly dry, shaggy mass.
- 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 a 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, 40 to 60 minutes.
- Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap into the bowl. Cover the bowl with 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 covered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
- At this point, you’ll have two loaves worth of dough. Split the dough in two. Set aside one piece for the buns and either freeze the other for another time or bake it in a loaf pan. Butter and flour the loaf pan. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange the logs crosswise in the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan lightly with wax paper and leave the loaf at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. Brush tops with a mixture of egg and 1 tbsp. water. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
PECAN HONEY STICKY BUNS
For the glaze:
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 stick 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 tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Generously butter a 9 x 13 inch banking pan.
- 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, evening it out as best you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle the pecans over it.
- To make the filling: Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl. If necessary, in another bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.
- 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 and freeze it for up to 2 months.) With a chef’s knife, using a gentle sawing motions, trim just a tiny bit from the ends of the roll if they’re very ragged, then cut the log into 1-inch buns. Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.
- Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wax paper and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
- When the buns have almost fully risen, preheat the oven the 375 degrees.
- Remove the sheet of wax paper and put the pan on a baking sheet. Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and golden; the glaze will bubble.
- Pull the pan from the oven. The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. Turn out onto a platter or lined baking sheet.
PS. Cinnamon sugar is AWESOME.
PPS. They are not kidding when they say to pull the buns off the pan within a couple minutes of removing from the oven.. I left the last one in there for a picture and the glaze solidified and I had to chip it off...