Friday, March 20, 2015

Egg-Free Pecan Sticky Buns!

For what feels like forever, I have been trying to find a soft, rich dough for sweet rolls that doesn't use eggs. I have come close in the past, but this time...this time I found magic.  It is rich and yummy and stays soft even after a few days. I may have exploded my butter in the microwave when melting it, and used coconut cream instead of heavy cream b/c we had none in the house, and made my own buttermilk with the last dregs of a gallon of milk and a questionable lemon I found in the fridge, and I almost burnt the caramel, but we didn't care one bit when these gorgeous buns came out of the oven!

Filling and Caramel adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Dough loosely adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1/4 cup buttermilk 
6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or coconut oil
3/4 cup yogurt (I used Indian style yogurt which is not quite as thick as greek yogurt, but thicker than regular)
4 ¼ cups flour (plus about a 1/2 cup for kneading)
¼ cup  sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons active yeast proofed in 1/4 c warm water with a tsp of sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons salt

1/2 cup  unsalted butter
3/4 cup  brown sugar
3/4 cup  heavy cream or coconut cream (the solid white part in a can of coconut milk)
1/3 cup  honey
1/2 tsp kosher salt (I may have liked up to 1 tsp)

1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
11/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp coarse or kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter or coconut oil
1 cups toasted and cooled, chopped pecans
2 cups toasted and cooled pecan halves 

Make the dough:Proof yeast in sugar water for 10 minutes
Stir together buttermilk, butter, yogurt in a medium sized bowl
Stir together flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in the yogurt mixture and the proofed yeast mixture
Stir together and then when a dough starts to form, turn out onto a silpat and knead
Knead for 15 minutes

Alternately,dump everything into a stand mixer with a dough hook and mix for 10 minutes until you have a supple ball of dough 

lightly coat dough ball in butter or oil, place back in bowl and let rise in a warm place until double (1 1/2-3 hours)

When the dough is doubled, make your caramel base: Melt butter in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, cream, honey and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until caramel is golden brown and glossy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour into a the bottom and up the sides of a deep 9×13-inch baking dish and let the dish cool down in the fridge while you assemble your rolls.

Roll out and fill buns: In a small bowl, stir sugar, cinnamon and salt together. Remove slightly cooled caramel base from fridge and sprinkle it with 2 cups pecan halves. Roll dough into an 18 x 12 rectangle.Brush the dough with melted butter. Sprinkle it with the filling and then 1 cup chopped pecans. Roll dough into a tight 18in long spiral (like a jelly roll). Using dental floss or a sharp serrated knife, cut into 16 sections. Arrange the buns evenly spread out over pecan-caramel base.

Proof buns: Cover with plastic wrap and proof at room temperature for another 1 to 2 hours, until they press tightly together in the pan and look puffed again. Or, you can refrigerate the buns overnight, and up to 16 hours. If chilling overnight, remove from fridge 1 hour before you’d like them to bake. Heat oven to 350°F (175°C).

Bake buns: Bake your buns until they’re puffed and golden (my internal temp was about 180 degrees F), approximately 30 minutes. 

Let rest in pan on cooling rack for 2 to 3 minutes, then carefully and quickly invert onto a large serving tray, nudging any caramel left behind over the tops and sides. Eat warm. Store any leftovers in the fridge, rewarming slightly (like 30 seconds in microwave).

P.S. I know it's been a while.  Apparently, chasing after a very active 1 year old (how did that happen?!?!?!) and an inquisitive 6 year old (why? what? how? when? who? which?...a.l.l. d.a.y. l.o.n.g!!!) and working full time, with a husband applying to medical school (a full time job in and of itself) and an apartment renovation all combined does not leave much time for blogging!  Life in our house consists of answering questions, reading through the Narnia series, rescuing keys/phones/remotes from the toilet and legos (as well as the aforementioned toilet-dunked items) from the mouth of E, and unsuccessfully attempting to get a handle on the ever-growing mountain of laundry! It's crazy and wonderful and exhausting and rewarding and we are embracing life with both hands as time is flying by.  less time for blogging, but more time for living!

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