As part of my college application, I had to provide the usual information – SAT scores, class schedules, teacher references, and essays. But unlike the common application, my alma mater had a section entitled “Hodgepodge,” which was an effort to gain at least a cursory insight into the applicant’s personality.
The questions in the hodgepodge section ran the gamut – from your favorite songs and television shows, to the books on your mantle. The Office of Admissions also wanted to know your favorite time of day. While the former questions gave me some pause, the latter I knew in an instant: Morning – which for me, meant breakfast.
Breakfast might only have been a bowl of cereal or a cup of yogurt, but it was truly blissful. I would bring my breakfast up to my room, sit at my desk, and listen to Morning Edition – my mind miles away from Calculus homework, college applications, and after-school committees.
Ten years later, breakfast holds that same sway – a carefree moment. A moment where the day still seems pristine and full of promise. These Easy Sticky Buns add to that promise.
Easy Sticky Buns
Recipe from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa’s Back to Basics.
PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOK TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: 12 Sticky Buns
WHAT TO GRAB:
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup black raisins (I like the ones from the bulk bins at Whole Foods)
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two 6-cup, or one 12-cup standard muffin tin with squares of parchment paper. Place the muffin tin on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.
3. Meanwhile, lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with half of the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down.
4. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2 inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, squarely on top of the butter-pecan mixture of 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make the other 6 sticky buns.
5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow the buns to cool for 5 minutes, then invert the buns onto the parchment paper. Ease any leftover pecans and filling onto the buns with a spoon. Let the buns cool completely, then serve!