Joanne Chang’s Sticky Sticky Buns

Ta da! Another Brioche today! And it’s the famous Joanne Chang’s Sticky Sticky Buns! You may ask, “What about yesterday’s loaf of bread?” I’m pleased to inform you that by noon, we were down by one slice.

Yes, we are really bread lovers. I used to worship bread many years ago until I realised too much of it makes me accumulate fats (at least in my case) and since then I had tried to watch my bread intake. However, in recent times, I found myself falling in love with it again, fueled by the ability to bake my own.

Anyway, the freezer had the other 1/2 batch of brioche and after gym, went down to buy a packet of brown sugar before I headed home to bake them. I love the gym – Bodyscrapes Fitness – which cost me $25 for 25 passes. Not bad a deal, isn’t it? I like it that it was not overcrowded, that the machines are new and clean.

Anyway, I was excited to come back to bake my inaugural Sticky Sticky Buns. I hope it to be a success and read the recipes a few times. It was relatively easy. So here goes:

Firstly, prepare the goo. 
170g unsalted butter
330g packed light brown sugar
115g honey
80g heavy cream
80g water
1/4 tsp kosher salt

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and whisk in the honey, cream, water, and salt. Let cool for about 30 minutes, or until cooled to room temperature.

This should make about 2 cups of goo (sticky stuff) but I used half the portion and save the other half in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be kept for up to 2 weeks. Well, if you feel lavish about this sweet stuff, you could use it all. I, would rather halve it for the sake of the waistline. =p

You will also need:
1/2 batch of basic Brioche dough
55g packed light brown sugar
50g granulated sugar
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
100g pecan halves, toasted and chopped

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and half of the pecans.

On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle 16 by 12 inches and 1/4 inch think. It’s rather easy to work with as it has been chilled. Position the rectangle so that the short side is facing you. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly over the entire surface of the dough.

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Starting from the short side furthest from you and working your way down, roll up the rectangle like a jelly roll. And you need to do so bravely and confidently so that the roll will be tight and you will end up with a nice round spiral. Even off the ends by trimming about 1/4 inch from either side.

Use a chef’s knife to cut the roll into 8 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide.

Pour the goo (I used half the amount) into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish covering the bottom evenly. Sprinkle the remaining pecans evenly over the surface. Place the buns , cut side down, and evenly spaced, in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to proof for about about 2 hours or until the dough is puffy, pillowy and soft and the buns are touching.

Meanwhile, go for a run and they should look like this when you are back.

Position a rack in the centre of the oven and heat the oven to 350F.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Use your sense of smell too! Let cool in the dish on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes. One at a time, invert the buns onto a serving platter and spoon any extra goo ( I don’t have) and pecans from the bottom of the dish over the top.

The buns are best served warm or within 4 hours of baking. It’s true; it’s warm and soft and really delicious. They can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 1 day and then warmed in a 325F oven for 6 to 8 minutes before serving. Which also explains why we need to finish the buns by tomorrow!

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