whew, it’s been awhile since i’ve done a baked! post, huh? it’s not that i haven’t been baking — i have, quite a lot — it’s just that i’ve been repeat baking. it’s been a lemon square, chocolate-chip cookie, salted caramel brownie and buckeye-filled summer, what can i say?
have i ever told you that i come home for lunch almost every day? my office is about five minutes from my apartment, which makes it super easy to make a homemade sandwich or whip up a quick salad on my break. and one of my favorite things to do while i eat is watch the 1 p.m. episode of barefoot contessa on food network. i never used to love ina — i thought she was a tiny bit snobby for a long time — but after trying a few of her recipes and getting raves for them, i became a convert. plus, there’s something soothing about the routine of watching her at lunchtime.
on a recent episode, ina made the sticky buns pictured above, and i immediately knew i had to find an excuse to make them. you see, i am a cinnamon roll lover. we used to make a pan of pillsbury cinnamon rolls on sundays when i was growing up, and i think that’s where my fondness for them comes from: the intoxicating aroma of cinnamon and dough mixed with the almost-too-sweet taste of cream cheese frosting reminds me of that tradition. even now, i still always eye cinnamon rolls when i’m in a pastry shop. i don’t often buy one, but i like knowing they’re there.
this weekend i had company, so i thought it would an excellent time to try out this recipe. the best part is that it completely circumvents the dough-making process, which is perfect when you need to quickly feed your hungry guests. basically, you cream together some butter and brown sugar, drop a dollop into a muffin pan and sprinkle some nuts (pecans, walnuts) on top. then you unfold a sheet of phyllo dough, brush it with melted butter, fill the whole thing with more brown sugar and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon, roll it up, slice it into rounds, place the rounds in the muffin tin and bake until the butter and brown sugar has caramelized and the phyllo is golden and flaky. what comes out of the muffin tins is doughy, cinnamon-y, sweet and just the right amount of sticky. i think you’ll like them. let me know if you bake them yourself.
easy sticky buns
adapted from ina garten’s recipe
12 tbsp (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup nuts, roughly chopped (ina calls for pecans, but i used walnuts)
1 package (2 sheets) puff pastry
for the filling:
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 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 nuts evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.
lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with the melted butter. leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon. 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. 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, in 6 of the muffin cups. repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.
bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. allow to cool for five minutes, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and nuts out onto the buns with a spoon) and cool completely.