Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lazy Girl Bakes

When people find out about my blog, they sometimes ask the question "Why do you not weigh 300 pounds?" Well, for one thing I don't eat all of everything I make. And then there's the combination of cheap and lazy.

For illustration: When I'm at a coffee shop I always scan the pastry display. If something looks really good, I then look at the price. Then I say to myself, "Oh, my gosh! They want $4 for a sticky bun? A single sticky bun? I could make a whole pan of them for that much." So the cheap part of me wins and I go home without the sticky bun.

At home, the thought of sticky buns has taken root in my mind and I can't shake it. Enter my lazy side. "It would take at least 4 hours before you got buns. You'd have to go to all that effort, make a mess in the kitchen, clean up the mess, and then you wouldn't get to eat buns for hours." So the lazy part of me wins and I put sticky buns on my "make some day" list and leave it at that.

Sometimes nefarious forces are at work to thwart both my cheap and lazy sides and conspire to make me pudgy. Recently Force A (my husband) gave me a new cookbook, Sticky Gooey Messy Chewy. Force B (the good people at The Pecan Store) offered to send me some pecans to try out. When my bag of beautiful pecans arrived I opened my new cookbook for a recipe that showcases pecans. What should hit me smack between the eyes but a mouthwatering picture of sticky...biscuits! That's right. All of the gooey, sweet, bready pleasure of a bun, but none of the yeasty waiting.

The pecans came as beautiful halves, so I took a picture to show you how lovely they were before I chopped them up to toast them. Always chop your nuts to the size you want before toasting, as that exposes maximum nut for delicious roasted flavor. They'll need a little longer to toast if you've stored them in your freezer (as you should, if you're not going to use them up quickly.)

I was so pleased with how the caramel turned out. I've always been a bit fearful of caramel, but following the directions gave me a beautiful, just right sticky-but-not-rock-hard caramel.

And then the biscuits. A snap to make. No yeast to fear or wait for. I was unsure that I had rolled them out to the right size. My rectangle was smaller than 9 x 13 -inches. But in the oven the biscuits rose, puffed, and melded together to fill the pan.

How was it, you ask? Oh my, if this blog had a soundtrack, right now you'd be hearing a sexy, smoky sax solo. They were amazingly good. Gooey caramel, roasted pecans, beautiful biscuits, all melded together into delicious morsels of dessert heaven. The kind of dessert you take a bite of and moan, even if you're not normally a moaner.

If you are on a diet, don't try them. It'll be your undoing. But if you think of trying them, be warned: you can't rely on your lazy side to rescue you here. If lazy side is saying "But I don't have pecans," you can just sit at your computer and order them (along with sauces, mixes, gift sets and candies). They'll come to your door. How much easier could it be?

Sticky Pecan Biscuits

- adapted from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O'Conner

Sticky Pecan Sauce:
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) frozen unsalted butter
1-1/2 to 2 cups cold buttermilk

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 stick ( 4 oz) unsalted butter, melted

1- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350 degrees. Spread the chopped nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 6-10 minutes, until they are golden brown and smell toasted (but not burnt!).

2- Take the nuts out and set them aside to cool. Adjust the oven temperature to 425 deg. F.

3- Grease a 9 x 13-inch pan with softened butter.

4- In a medium saucepan combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter. Melt over low heat. When the butter is melted, increase the heat to high and bring to a gentle boil. Cook, uncovered, until the mixture thickens, 3 to 5 minutes. stir in the chopped nuts. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Set aside.

5- In a large bowl, sift together twice the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Using a coarse grater, grate 1 stick of the frozen butter into the bowl. Cut the other stick into 8 pieces and add to the bow. Using two table knives or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture. Blend until most of the mixture looks like coarse crumbs, with some of the bits of butter the size of small peas.

6- Make a shallow well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in 1-1/2 cups of the cold buttermilk. Use a fork to blend the buttermilk into the flour to create a soft dough. If the dough seems too dry as you are stirring it, add the remaining 1/2 cup buttermilk, a tablespoon at a time. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead a few times to make sure it comes together. Pat the dough into a 3/4 -inch-thick rectangle. Using a knife or a bench scraper, cut the dough into 12 square biscuits.

7- Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the melted butter and sprinkle with some of the cinnamon-sugar. Place the biscuits, evenly spaced, cinnamon-sugar-side down, into the pecan syrup-lined pan. Brush the tops (which once were the bottoms) of the biscuits with more melted butter and sprinkle with a little more cinnamon-sugar.

8- Bake the biscuits until golden brown and puffy and the sticky pecan sauce is bubbling around them, 17 to 20 minutes. Cool slightly, then place a large serving platter over the top of the pan and invert it. (I didn't have an elegant platter that size, so I used a jelly roll pan.) Remove the pan and allow the pecan sauce to fall around the biscuits. Use a small spatula to scrape any residual syrup from the pan onto the biscuits. Serve immediately.


Heather said...

ohhh. those sound just delicious! i love sticky buns!

Megan said...

I had to comment - because as much as I love looking at the beautiful pastries at shops around town, I refuse to pay their exorbitant prices. And here in Vegas, they get $9 for a Rice Krispie treat. Can you believe it?

kickpleat said...

yeah, i probably shouldn't have them...but they do look amazing!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

T%hat looks mighty scrumptious! A great idea...



Anonymous said...

omg that is my favorite recipe book! i love this recipe!

Elyse said...

It's so funny that you mention the combination of cheapness and laziness--that's exactly what's kept me from buying/making sticky buns as of late. BUT, seeing your pictures and hearing how good your buns turned out, I think I need to remove myself from the sofa and make these delectable-looking buns! YUMMY!

natalia said...

Mamma mia ! Laziness is not enough ! I need chain at my feet !! They are so sinfully beautiful !!

Peabody said...

Don't be taking away my lazy title...that's mine. :)
I always right back and say, how do you know I don't weigh 300 pounds.
These look fabulous. I have been eyeing them in that book for quite some time.

VeggieGirl said...

I get asked the same question ;-)


Natashya said...

Oh, I love sticky buns!
I am with you, I can't bear to pay retail for what I can cook at home.
Thus we never eat out anymore.
But we are happy! Let me know how other recipes from this book turn out for you, I am thinking of putting it on my ever-growing wishlist.

Maria said...

I don't believe in diets so I am trying these real soon! I feel the same way about buying treats, they are always so expensive! I prefer to make my own!

Aimée said...

Pretty cool recipe, Lynn, and those pecans look so fresh and good.

Grace said...

without fail, sticky buns always end up all over my face and/or hands and/or clothes, but i don't mind--they're sensational. nicely done!

AIR said...


Glad we could help with your desire to bake this delicious recipe. It looks very good.

We are pleased to hear you enjoy the pecans! Thank you for your kind words.

The Pecan Store

CookiePie said...

Oh WOW - those look sooooo decadent and yummy, and no waiting! Dangerous!

Marjoke said...

OK, and which part of you has won this time?
I'm so not going to make this wonderful recipe; not only because of my dentist but I'm afraid I just can't stop eating all that delicious stuff.
Normaly that's no problem because my husband will eat it but het doesn't like nuts as I do.

Anonymous said...

I am always nervous around caramel, but this definitely has me wanting to try again.

Looks delicious!

Abby said...

My dad will FLIP over these. And no yeasty, raising steps? HECK YEAH.

Kristen said...

I've been having a major craving for sticky buns or cinnamon rolls lately. I want to hear that smoky sax in my house! Yum!

Maris said...

I'm so glad I found your blog....or at least, I will be until next time I get on the scale! LOL. Your recipes look great and I can't wait to browse through more of your archives!

Rose&Thorn said...

LOL - I love to cook and hate to clean, but hate spending a fortune on something that is dirt cheap to make even more.
You had me on the the first word - sticky, I love sticky anything!

kim-free classified website said...

Your right, pastries are so expensive in shops, the price could feed the whole family if you bake it at home.

Marysol said...

Lynn, I don't eat everything I make either, sometimes I share some with my ravenous alter ego.

Btw, I would devour those sticky pecan biscuits in an instant, regardless of whether or not I was on a diet. Rules were meant to be broken, you know.

Melinda said...

Whop-woo, those look really good!
That was nice of the Pecan Store people to send you some pecans. They chose well. You made their pecans look a million dollars of delicious!

Zesty Cook said...

Oh Sticky Buns.... sign me up please :)

Deborah said...

I have been wanting to make these - now I'm going to have to!!

Sara said...

Those look lovely! I laughed at the beginning of your post, I do that too!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I can hear the saxophone's sexy notes right now.

Dee Light said...

Oh my goodness!! They look sooooo yummy.

Claire said...

These look great! Definitely not for the butter-fearing. :-)

katiez said...

I love the 'cheap and lazy'... works for me!