Chitlins, I was so super excited for this recipe for TWD because my dad adores sticky buns. I had really, really high hopes for these. I grew up on sticky buns from State College, from The Diner to be specific. You can buy them to go from the Creamery and we always had a box of them when we were visiting. Lately my dad’s taken to grilling them slightly before serving at the tailgates in the fall. There really is nothing better than a slightly caramelized, gooey, piping hot sticky bun. So I was totally gungho for this. And then I read the recipe.
I’m not usually one to balk at long and time consuming recipes. I mean, I made a 14 layer cake for my roommate for her birthday a few years ago. Talk about time consuming. But for the love of Pete I’m almost positive this recipe was out to get me. Just shoot-me-right-through-the-soul-get-me. It.was.brutal.
Have you seen that image floating around the webs, with the cat on a harnessed leash being dragged across a living room floor with the caption “Nope.”? Yeah, that’s about how I feel if anyone ever asks me to make this again. And while the finished product was tasty, they still paled in comparison to The Diner’s.
Let’s break it down shall we? First you need a brioche dough that could potentially fry your KitchenAid. Hello, what? Thankfully my mother had purchased the Professional series mixer for me and had even said to me at the time of gifting, “The motor is even strong enough for brioche dough.” At the time I was all doe-eyed thinking, “Oh joy! My very own fresh brioche dough!” When I really should have thought, “Holy christ, you need to have a professional mixer to make freakin’ brioche? Run away!”
Then it needs about fifty-two rising times, none of them shorter than 2 hours. To all my friends who asked me to hang out the last two weeks and I responded, “Sorry, I’m busy making sticky buns,” I wasn’t kidding. I was actually making sticky buns; they keep you prisoner in your own home with epic rising times.
Then came the part of the recipe where I had to laminate the dough, croissant style, with a stick of butter. With the perplexing instructions to fold the dough and then roll it out again “taking care not to roll over the edges – you don’t want to crush the layers you’re creating…” Okay, whatever that means. I just rolled the sucker out. So that’s already 3 sticks of butter in the dough alone.
Then Julia tells me to press another stick of butter into the pan (and you need two pans for a batch, so that’s two more sticks of butter) and coat with 1/2 cup brown sugar, at which point I fainted. Over one pound of butter goes into the creation of a single batch (roughly 18 buns) of sticky buns. I’m never going to naively enjoy them again.
Don’t get me wrong. I heart me some butter, as much as the next curvy girl, but sweet lord this seemed like overkill. I halved the butter in the end, which was more than enough in my humble opinion and set them aside for yet another round of rising. Except they didn’t really rise. But at this point it was 10pm and I wasn’t going to wait any longer. I tossed them in the oven and sat down to catch up on some TV.
These smelled heavenly while they were cooking, like Cinnabon had moved into my apartment. They came out of the pan nicely (the first good thing!) and looked beautiful, straight out of a bakery. But they were still a little dry in my opinion, and that might have been because I only used 1/2 a stick of butter in the bottom of the pan, or because I laminated them wrong, or because I let them sit, rolled and filled in my fridge for about four days. Really it could have been any of those things. Either way, it doesn’t matter. I’m not using this recipe again for fear of losing my mind,
If you do feel intrepid enough to make these, I have one suggestion, double the amount of filling (the cinnamon and sugar mix, not the chopped pecans) because 1/8 cup of cinnamon and sugar in the middle of the dough for 9 rolls is absurdly little. These would be all butter and dough and not sticky at all. The recipe this week can be found at Lynn of Eat Drink Man Woman Dogs Cat and Nicole of Cookies on Friday. Of course you can also just buy the book Baking with Julia.