On a trip to the bookstore last week, I noticed a delicious looking book on the corner of a table by the register. I didn’t expect to see it there, but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to bring it home. The book? Joanne Chang’s Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery and Café. Since the book came out, I’ve been seeing pictures of all the beautiful creations being made in kitchens across the internet.
I brought the book home and couldn’t decide where to start. I narrowed it down to breakfast treats and asked the hubby to pick a page number between 40 and 102. After the first pick that landed on a story page, the second pick was a definite winner. Page 85 is full-page color spread of the world famous, Throwdown winning sticky sticky bun.
I studied the recipe, and the required basic brioche recipe, and planned my baking schedule. When you add in the brioche making, proofing, rolling, rising, and baking this is quite a time commitment. I broke up the recipe into a few different steps. First, making the goo (unbelievably delicious caramel sauce). Second, making the dough and letting it proof overnight. Third, making half into a brioche loaf and setting it aside to rise. Fourth, rolling and assembling the sticky sticky buns and letting them rise before baking. Finally, baking the sticky buns and then the brioche loaf a few hours later. Rather than repost the recipe, you can find it over on the Food Network. Instead, I’ll show you how much fun I had tackling this baking challenge!
For daily cooking I usually add a dash of this and a splash of that. But for a recipe like this I wanted to be as precise as possible. My new digital scale came in handy for measuring all of the dry ingredients for the dough. I did my best to follow the well-written instructions and the results were fantastic.
Not too much to report on the aptly named goo. A few sticks of butter along with brown sugar, honey, heavy cream, and a few other ingredients makes for a dangerously addictive substance. The goo is sweet, salty, rich, and just plain delicious.
I measured out all my ingredients for the brioche dough and fired up the KitchenAid Mixer. What the book fails to mention is that your mixer might seem like it’s going to catch on fire as you work the dough. The sturdy dough gave my trusty red KitchenAid quite a workout and I stood and watched it to make sure it didn’t burst into flames! I set the dough aside to proof overnight in the refrigerator and got some rest before the big baking day.
The next morning I took out the dough and split it for the recipes. Using a rolling pin and all my upper body strength, I rolled out the sticky sticky bun dough into the appropriate size and thickness. Then, I coated the dough with a mix of sugar, brown sugar, and toasted pecans.
I surprised myself by how well I was able to roll the dough into a tight log. A few quick slices with a sharp knife and the rolls were ready for another rise.
While the rolls puffed up in the dish, I got in a pre-sticky sticky bun workout. I followed the baking and cooling instructions and patiently waited for the buzzer indicating it was time to eat. I think I actually drooled over the sticky sticky buns as I put them on a serving platter for photos.
This was the most incredible sticky sticky bun that I have ever eaten. So incredible that I saved one to take to work and packed the rest for the hubby to take to work. These could easily wipe out the results from Healthy Snack Wednesdays.
Whenever I bake, I always pack up a piece or two for our letter carrier, Dennis. We still get our mail delivered to a box right next to the front door. When we first moved in four years ago, Dennis introduced himself and told us that he had been on the route for over 20 years. He knows the ins and outs of the neighborhood and is around when we're at work. When you've got someone like that, you want to treat him right. I leave him Halloween candy, brownies, cookies, or whatever else I’m baking. He usually scribbles a thank you note on the back of a piece of junk mail, or says thanks when we see him on Saturdays. This week I left him a sticky sticky bun and a few napkins. Judging by the note I got in the box today, I think this baking project was a success!
Thanks to Joanne Chang for such a beautiful, well-written recipe (and book). I can’t wait to pick a random page and try out the next treat! Although I might skip straight to the cornmeal lime cookies I bought the last time I was in Flour 3.
P.S. The brioche came out fantastic too! I've been enjoying it for breakfast all week with a little goat cheese and a fried egg.
Feeling a little over-sugared after that post? Don't forget to enter the MultiGrain Cheerios giveaway! Winner announced next week on Healthy Snack Wednesday!