Monthly Archives: December 2009

Sisterly Sticky Buns

Easy Sticky BunsA few weeks ago, my friend Diane sent me this recipe for sticky buns. She got the recipe from her sister.

When I was visiting my sister this week, Diane sent some updates to the recipe after she made them on Christmas Eve. When I mentioned it to Jane, she said “Yum” and asked me to make the sticky buns for breakfast.

We picked up a box of puff pastry the night before, and we all set because Jane had all the other ingredients in her pantry. I made the buns in the morning. The recipe is correctly named. The sticky buns were really easy to make. The next time, I will measure out the sugar and cinnamon the night before just to make it easier in the morning (I am NOT a morning person).

When my nephew Brett woke up, he said he could smell cinnamon buns from his bed. He liked them, even though he said he didn’t like the pecans (he picked them off). Everyone else enjoyed them, nuts and all.

Thanks for the recipe, Diane (and Diane’s sister)!

Easy Sticky Buns

1½ sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
1 package Pepperidge farm frozen puff pastry sheets, defrosted

FOR THE FILLING:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 c light brown sugar, lightly packed (divided)
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon (divided)

Take the puff pastry sheets out of the freezer. It will take 40 minutes at room temperature to defrost. There is no shortcut to this. Don’t leave it the refrigerator overnight. The pastry will be too soft to unfold.

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Place 12 cup standard muffin tin on a baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine 1½ sticks of softened butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar.  I used a wooden spoon, but you could use an electric mixer. 

Place a dollop (approximately 1 tablespoon) of the mixture in each muffin cup. Distribute pecans evenly on top of sugar mixture in each cup.

Do the following for each sheet of puff pastry, one at a time:

  • On a lightly floured surface, unfold one sheet of pastry with the short end towards you.
  • Brush the pastry sheet with half the melted butter.
  • Mix 1/3 cup of brown sugar with 1½ teaspoons of cinnamon. Sprinkle sugar mixture over buttered sheet, leaving a 1-inch border empty on all edges except the bottom. Use your fingers to distribute evenly.
  • Starting at the short end nearest you, roll pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around filling, finishing the roll with seam side down.
  • Trim ends ½ inch and discard. Slice the remaining roll in 6 equal pieces, about 1 ½ inch wide. Place each slice spiral side down in a muffin cup.

Bake for 20-30 minutes (watch them!), or until buns are golden to dark brown and firm to touch. This only took 20 minutes for me.

Allow to cool 5 minutes ONLY. (Otherwise, the topping will cool and harden in the pan.)

Remove buns onto parchment and scoop any filling from muffin cups onto top of bun. To remove, cover another baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper. If it looks like the buns might stick, use a non-stick scraper to loose each bun. Place over the muffin pan and flip it over. Let the topping fall naturally onto buns. Carefully lift up muffin tin. Scoop any topping that sticks to the pan onto the buns.

Enjoy!

You can make the sticky buns the day before and wrap them up in tin foil. Reheat in foil pouch at 350F for 7-10 minutes.

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Guest Blog: Jane’s Holiday Desserts

Wow.  I have the privilege to be a guest blogger on my sister’s blog.  At first, my husband and I concluded that her blog was just another indication that my DINK sister had just too much time on her hands.  (Jealous maybe?)  But I readily admit that I think it is a great journal of her life and have enjoyed checking in with her by reading it every few days.  It makes me feel connected to her – through technology and food – even if we are 450 miles apart.

Fortunately, we were a little closer this holiday season when she, Howard and guest star Bella came to celebrate the winter solstice (or Christmas) in our house with us. 

I am always in charge of dessert on Christmas since I love to bake.  For the last few years, I have looked forward to the once annual appearance of my Peppermint Ice Cream Cake.  It’s not really baking but it is simple and delicious.  Is there anything better than chocolate and peppermint??? 

This year, my husband and both of my in-laws let it slip that they were sick of that cake.  Really disappointed to miss out on my favorite, I did some soul searching research and found an alternative from Fine Cooking, Hot Chocolate Layer Cake with Homemade Marshmallows.  

The cake was a bit complicated to make and assemble, but it was beautiful to look at.  The frosting was unbelievably rich and the cake a bit dry but the marshmallows made it all worth while.  The marshmallows were amazing and surprisingly simple to make.

Still I missed the ice cream cake.  I just couldn’t let the season go by without my Peppermint Ice Cream Cake.  So when my husband’s aunt invited us over, I suggested that I bring dessert and she agreed.  The Peppermint Ice Cream Cake was a big hit – and my husband ate two pieces.  Guess he missed it too!

The ice cream has to firm up between layers so it’s best to start making this cake the day before or at least the morning you will serve it.  Make the glaze first and let it cool while you make the crust. 

Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Cake
Adapted from Bon Appetit (December 2003)

Glaze
1 cup whipping cream
½ cup light corn syrup
12 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened), chips or chopped

Bring cream and corn syrup to a boil in saucepan.  Remove from heat.  Add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth.  Let stand until cool but still pourable, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Crust
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter
8 oz bittersweet (not unsweetened) chocolate, chips or chopped
1½ 9-ounce package of chocolate wafer cookies.  [I used Nabisco Famous (about 60 cookies)]

Melt butter with chocolate in saucepan over low heat.  Finely grind cookies in processor.  Add warm chocolate mixture.  Blend until crumbs are just moistened.  Reserve 1 cup crumb mixture in small bowl.  Press remaining crumb mixture onto sides and bottom of 10 inch springform pan.

Filling
3 quarts Edy’s peppermint ice cream.  [I can only find this at the holiday season usually starting around November which is fine by me since I only make the cake at Christmas.  But some stores also carry a peppermint ice cream year round that should work. I buy 2 ½-gallons and use all of one, half of the second and eat the rest!]

Soften the ice cream in microwave for 20 or so seconds.  Spoon half of the ice cream into the crust and spread out evenly.  Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.  Pour half of the the glaze over the ice cream and freeze until firm – 90 minutes or so.  Top with remaining ice cream, spread evenly.  Stir remaining glaze over low heat until just pourable but not hot.  Pour over ice cream and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight. 

Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.  Remove sides of springform pan and garnish with candy canes or peppermint candies.