Special Sticky Buns

Breads, Muffins and Scones

Yield: 6 large buns
Recipe: 51/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 231

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     Like many other desserts from Anna’s cookbook, I had never made “sticky buns” or, as we called it in French, brioches. With anything else that I had never done before, I thought that sticky buns were very complicated to do. It is not so! This recipe was so well-explained that even a novice like me was able to do it. My only problem, I realized later, is that I used active dry yeast instead of instant yeast. I naively thought that they are the same thing. Albeit the sticky buns I obtained were heavenly, sweet and sticky, the dough was very elastic. When I was rolling the dough to contain the cream cheese goodness, it was very hard to manage. Consequently, the buns I obtained were not circular but were rather deformed. The buns I obtained were just as scrumptious, I am sure! These are definitely in my top 5 desserts done so far. You will have to exert incredible self control in order to not eat them all in one sitting, so good luck! 

Ingredients for dough:

  • 3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1/2 package (4 oz or 125 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ingredients for glaze:

  • 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Directions:

  1. To prepare the dough, stir together the milk, yeast, sugar and egg in a stand mixer to blend.
  2. Add the flour, salt and nutmeg. With the stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment (alternatively, you can use a bowl and a wooden spoon), mix well until the dough is evenly blended.
  3. Add in the butter, mixing until homogenous.
  4. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set it on the counter to rise for about 2 hours, until it is about 1  1/2 times its original size.
  5. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. To do so, beat the cream cheese and butter together using a hand or stand mixer. Beat in the brown sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon, making sure to mix well.
  6. Grease an 8-inch square pan. Turn out the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle of about 15 inches by 10 inches (38 x 25 cm).
  7. Spread the cream cheese filling evenly over the dough and roll it up from the long side. Slice into 6 equal buns and arrange them in the prepared pan. Cover the pan with a towel and let sit for 30 minutes.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Uncover the buns and bake them for 25-30 minutes, until they are evenly browned. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  9. For the glaze, whisk together the icing sugar and milk. Use a fork to drizzle the glaze over the sticky buns. These are best enjoyed warm out of the oven!

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Valerie

Frosted Mocha Whole Wheat Brownies

Cookies, Bars and Biscotti

Yield: about 16 squares
Recipe: 50/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 54

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     Brownies are probably one of the most universally loved desserts. Understandably. They mostly consist of chocolate, butter and, often, nuts. The simplicity of this type of dessert is what makes it so well loved. The twist in Anna’s recipe includes whole wheat (to make us feel a little less guilty of eating these delicious brownies), coffee and a cream cheese frosting. I really enjoyed making and eating these brownies. They were moist, delicious but, alas, very rich due to the cream cheese frosting. A couple of bites quickly fill you up (which means they last longer, no problem there)! 

Ingredients for brownies:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 oz (120 g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 3 oz (90 g) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted

Ingredients for frosting:

  • 3 oz (90 g) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 1/2 package (4 oz or 125 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square pan and line with parchment paper, making sure that the paper goes up the sides of the pan.
  2. In a saucepot over low heat, melt together the butter, chocolates and instant coffee, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in the sugar, vanilla extract and the eggs one at a time, making sure to stir after each addition.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda and salt into the chocolate mixture. MIx well until homogeneously combined.
  5. Stir in the walnut pieces.
  6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for about 35 minutes, just until the top of the brownies have a dull finish to them. Cool the brownies completely in the pan before frosting.
  7. For the frosting, melt the chocolate, butter and instant coffee in a metal glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir until melted.
  8. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand or stand mixer to soften and then add the chocolate mixture. Beat until blended.
  9. Add the icing sugar and mix to combine.
  10. Remove the brownies from the pan and ice the top. Let the frosting set for at least one hour before slicing.

Notes from Anna:

  • To toast the walnuts, spread the nuts on an ungreased baking tray and bake them at 350°F for about 10 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Valerie