The following “Chew This!” column originally appeared in “The Courier-Times” and / or “The Shelbyville News”. Check their websites for further information and dates.
Updated Sticky Buns
I remember my Grandma Barbra’s friend and neighbor, Sarah Darling, making some of the best pecan sticky buns I had ever had in my life! The whole neighborhood would look forward to the Holiday season, when Sarah would deliver them to all of her friends. She would painstakingly prepare the dough from scratch and let it rise several times before continuing with the recipe. One time, my Grandma Barbra and I went over to visit and just so happens, we were there when she was in the process of making her infamous sticky buns! I still remember the sights and smells of her kitchen on that day. It was really something to see and smell! Sarah worked wonders in the kitchen, but her sticky buns were her most popular recipe. It absolutely thrilled me, when years later, she gave my Grandma Barbra her secret sticky bun recipe! Of course, I had to have a copy and years later, after Sarah had passed away, I printed the recipe in my first cookbook, “Blaise the Baker Dessert First”. I think Sarah would have thought that was so neat; to have her infamous recipe living forever on the printed pages of my debut cookbook.
I have made Sarah’s recipe for years, until one day I got to thinking about simplifying the recipe. Instead of making a dough from scratch and messing around with the warm water, yeast, kneading, rising and waiting, could there be a simpler way? Years ago, I had had the same thought about pizza crust and for the solution I substituted puff pastry for the crust. Wonder if the same could work here? I did a little research and found that several people online in different recipe forum groups had tried that very same idea and it had worked wonderfully! Once I tried substituting the scratch made dough with the puff pastry, viola! It was fabulous! Not only had I updated a classic recipe to be foolproof, but I had also updated a classic recipe with familiar flavors to live on in this new and modern world. I think Sarah would be so proud!
Puff Pastry Sticky Buns
Be sure to allow the frozen puff pastry to thaw completely before attempting this recipe. Leftovers can be kept in a sealed container, at room temperature, for about 2 days. Leftovers can be warmed up in a low heated oven.
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup diced pecans sprinkled lightly with salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees F. Place a 12-cup muffin tin on top of a parchment lined baking sheet.
In a large bowl combine the softened unsalted butter with the packed light brown sugar until smooth and creamy. Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin cups.
Lay out a sheet of the thawed puff pastry on a clean flat surface with the lines going left to right. Brush the sheet of puff pastry with 1 tablespoon of the melted unsalted butter. Sprinkle evenly on 1/3 cup of the packed light brown sugar, 1/3 cup of the raisins and half of the ground cinnamon. Roll the puff pastry up, starting with the end closest to you, snuggle like a jellyroll. Place the seem side down.
Trim off both ends. Cut the roll into 6 equal pieces. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat this exact process with the other sheet of puff pastry.
Bake in preheated oven for exactly 27 minutes.
Remove and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Carefully flip the muffin tin over onto the parchment lined baking sheet. If any topping remains in the muffin cups, spoon out and place on top of the sticky buns. Allow to cool slightly before enjoying.
Ask and Answer: I have been getting questions about how to make snow cream. You take 3 cups of fresh clean snow and place into a large bowl. Add in 1 cup whole milk, ½ cup white granulated sugar and a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Stir in 3 more cups of snow. Enjoy! Place into the freezer for 20 minutes if it begins to melt. Be sure the snow is clean!