Monday, November 2, 2009

So sticky I ate them all: Sticky Buns

When I was little, we would spend Thanksgiving break at my grandparents' house in Frederick, Maryland. Their house on Elm Street was just like in American movies--that's the way I explain it to my French friends. There was a large front porch with a swing, chairs and a table for late afternoon lounging. One of the rooms upstairs, the girls room, was roomy and had an old radio sitting on a dresser.

I had a few favorite things in Frederick: the attic, where there was an old Ouija board, the basement with its ping-pong table--home to yearly aunt/uncle/cousin tournaments, and breakfast. Breakfast in the house on Elm St. meant one thing: Grandma's sticky buns. They're pretty much a legend on my father's side of the family; every single one of my cousins has some strange kind of emotional link to them and the slight mention of a sticky bun probably has most of us thinking of breakfasts at Grandma's kitchen table.

You might think I'm a little crazy for feeling so strongly about food (like a warm apple crisp), but believe me, sticky buns are justifiably something to go crazy for. "Another one of those rich American breakfast foods that should be eaten for dessert", some people might say. But no, I assure you, sticky buns are international. I dare you to find a single person without a smile on their face after having one of these. I also dare you to find someone who doesn't ask for seconds. I'll prove it to you: my aunt Mimi--my maman's sister--once went to Frederick, years ago. She still remembers the sticky buns she had there. Take my maman, who loves to indulge but isn't really the breakfast food type--she loves them. I won't keep going, but you get the point. Grandma's sticky buns are the real deal.

After a night in the kitchen...

It's tempting to try to call these cinnamon rolls, but they're not. You can't even see the rolled part, to tell the truth. One look at them on your plate and the first word that comes to mind is gooey. One bite, and all you'll be thinking is gooey...and delicious. Packed with a syrupy, pecan-filled cinnamon flavor, you'll keep coming back for more. Obviously, my version of sticky buns was missing that special something, but I don't mind. They're still completely amazing. Plus, the recipe is nice and simple--just get everything ready the day before, and your sticky buns will be oven-ready, and tastebud-ready, within less than a half hour. And believe me, that's quite a long wait when you know what you're getting into.

Grandma Rose's Sticky Buns
makes around 15

1 package dry yeast
1 cup warm (not hot) water
1/4 cup granualted sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened (I used butter)
1 egg
3 1/2 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, salt and butter and beaten egg, one at a time. Add flour, 1 cup at a time, beating well after 2nd cup. Mark remaining flour in until dough is easy to handle. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight or up to 4 days.

Caramel Nut Mix: Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Melt 1/3 cup margarine (again, I used butter).

On floured board, roll dough into a 15x9 inch oblong. Spread with half of melted butter, covering it well, then sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Combine remaining melted margarine with 1/2 cup brown sugar, then spread in bottom of a greased 13x9 inch pan. Sprinkle 1 TB Karo white syrup (I used maple syrup) and 2/3 cup chopped pecans over mixture.

Roll dough up tightly beginning at wide end. Seal ends well. Cut into 1 inch slices and place in prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 and 1/2 hours (I left the pan on the kitch table all night long and it worked out fine).

Bake 20-25 minutes at 350°F/180°C. When taken out of oven, let sit for a few moments before turning out onto a rack to cool (or directly onto plates).

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K8teebug said...

These look wonderful! I can attest to your story about the sticky buns as both Scott and myself also have the same fond memories of Elm Street.