I just recently picked up my first ever copy of Food and Wine magazine. How could I resist; the cover displayed the most gorgeous beehive shaped bun just oozing with all that sticky, sweet, crunchy goodness.
I read the entire magazine front to back in one evening. The lifestyle that is portrayed in this magazine is very alluring. They perfectly pair each dish with a remarkable (I assume) wine. After reading the magazine, I told my husband that we need to start drinking wine with dinner. The thing is – we don’t even like wine. Ok, it’s time to snap back to reality.
So the next morning after I had read the magazine, I decided to make the sticky buns. The dough was very easy to work with. You basically let your stand mixer do all of the work for you. I did think that the dough was very dense, but that could be because I had just finished making a dough for some yeast rolls (which I will save for another post) that was much lighter than this dough. I tasted a small bit of the dough raw, and I thought that the flavor was very basic; not bad, but nothing spectacular.
While I allowed the dough to rise, I got started on the filling. The filling simply consists of some light brown sugar and cinnamon – basic sticky bun flavors. I combined the two ingredients and set them aside to make the sticky bun glaze.
I knew from the get-go that I was not going to include the pecans in this recipe because my husband and the boys do not like nuts unless they come salted and are floating in their Coke.
There are a ton of ingredients in the glaze – a ton for a glaze at least. First, the recipe calls for Scotch Whiskey, but I only had Bourbon Whiskey left over from making mini pecan pies for Thanksgiving and I wasn’t about to make a special trip to the liquor store – they look at you like you are a drunk when you go in there. I am always sure to tell the clerk that I am using the spirits in a recipe – I wouldn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea.
Enough rambling. The glaze also calls for dark brown sugar, which guess what? That’s right. I was out of that too! Instead, I used light brown sugar and added about ¼ tsp of molasses to the mixture. As I was adding the ingredients to the pan, they all made perfect sense. Sugar for depth of flavor and sweetness; condensed milk for that creamy, milky texture; butter for added richness; whiskey for – well, who knows why. The ingredient that made the least sense was the crème fraiche – a little tanginess; more silkiness, fine. So I added the crème fraiche. I brought the mixture to a boil as instructed then lowered the heat to medium for two minutes, stirring often. I immediately noticed that the crème fraiche had not integrated into the glaze at all. Instead, I was left with this otherwise beautiful, dark amber concoction but with small curds of white milk solids dispersed throughout. I stuck my spoon in the mixture to get a taste, hoping that the milk solids flecked throughout would just be a visual defect. The glaze tasted like heaven, albeit a gritty heaven. I decided to chuck the entire glaze. Had I not already discarded the practically full container of sweetened condensed milk, I would have tried to make a second batch, without the crème fraiche.
Instead, I decided to make a simple glaze with vanilla extract; powdered sugar; butter; and milk. I knew that this glaze would be better accepted by my family than some fancy whiskey laced glaze anyway. The problem is that instead of having sticky buns, I now had your basic cinnamon roll.
Regardless of the identity crisis my buns were having, my family happily offered to be taste testers. My son Shayne, who will eat anything frosted; glazed; or doused in sugar, sweetly returned his once-bitten into bun, to the kitchen for disposal. The dough itself was very dense, dry, and lacked flavor and the filling was flavorful, but very gritty – almost like eating sand. I think that next time, to remedy the grittiness of the filling I will add a couple more tablespoons of butter and reduce the cinnamon – sugar mixture by a good 1/3.
I don’t really want to trash this recipe completely, because I am sure that if the heat of the glaze had not caused the crème fraiche to turn into a separated mess, that the bun would have been much more flavorful and moist. I would definitely try this recipe again, but using my own slew of alterations next time.