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Dun duh. Dun duh dun duh dun duh dun duh DAAAH!
Sticky Buns from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice.
6 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
5 1/2 Tbsp shortening or unsalted butter or margarine
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp lemon zest, grated
3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour or all-purpose flour
2 tsp yeast
1 1/8-1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk , at room temperature
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 Tbsp sugar plus 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon)
walnuts or pecans or other nuts (optional)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb (2 sticks/15 Tbsp) butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp lemon, orange or vanilla extract
1. Make the buns: cream together the sugar, salt, and shortening or butter on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a large metal spoon and mixing bowl and do it by hand). Whip in the egg and lemon extract/zest until smooth. Add the flour, yeast, and milk.
2. Mix on low speed (or stir by hand) until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes (or knead by hand for 12 to 15 minutes), or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. You may have to add a little flour or water while mixing to achieve this texture. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours.
3. Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the top with flour to keep it from sticking to the pin, into a rectangle about 2/3 inch thick and 14 inches wide by 12 inches long for larger buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log (starting at the long end), creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 pieces each about 1 3/4 inches thick for larger buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 1 1/4 inch thick for smaller buns.
4. Make the glaze: in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugar, brown sugar, salt, and butter, at room temperature. Cream together for 2 minutes on high speed with the paddle attachment. Add the cup corn syrup and 1 teaspoon lemon, orange or vanilla extract. Continue to cream for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Use as much of this as you need to cover the bottom of the pan with a 1/4-inch layer. Refrigerate and save any excess for future use; it will keep for months in a sealed container. (Erika's Extra: This will NOT look like a glaze. It will look like taffy. Don't be fooled! Becomes a glaze in oven.)5. In your glazed pan, sprinkle on the nuts and raisins. Lay the pieces of dough on top of the caramel glaze, spiral side up, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag. Let rise for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and nearly doubled. Preheat the oven to 350 F with a rack on the lowest shelf.
6. Bake the sticky buns for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remember that they are really upside down (regular cinnamon buns without the glaze are baked right side up), so the heat has to penetrate through the pan and into the glaze to caramelize it. The tops will become the bottoms, so they may appear dark and done, but the real key is whether the underside is fully baked. 7. Cool the buns in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes and then remove them by flipping them over into another pan. Carefully scoop any run-off glaze back over the buns with a spatula. Wait at least 20 minutes before serving.
Bake well and prosper!