April 08, 2013

Biscuit Sticky Buns

Most of the time, shortcuts are a bad idea.  At work I’ve learned this the hard way several times.  Do an experiment halfway and you’ll just end up having to do it again.  So you might as well just do it right the first time.  

These sticky buns are an exception to the rule.  They are a shortcut you should take.  With no yeast or rise time, they are sticky bun express.  


Sticky buns are like cinnamon buns, but with a sticky top (that starts out as the bottom) made up of butter, brown sugar, and honey.  The most amazing part of making them is scooping them out of the pan and revealing the gooey, sticky, delicious mess underneath.  You could totally add nuts to this topping.
Top becomes bottom.  Bottom becomes top.  Sometimes we need to turn things upside down. 

Like any shortcut, these won’t be exactly like a yeast-based sticky bun.  The biscuit dough makes them more flaky than chewy, more dense.  But delicious all the same.  

Make these when you’re strapped for time, or impatient like me.  Sticky bun on the go.  

Biscuit Sticky Buns
Dough adapted from Joy the Baker, sticky topping adapted from Bon Appetit

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, cold and cut into cubes
1 egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter

Sticky topping:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

To make the dough, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut cold butter and shortening into the flour mixture until you get coarse crumbs.   In a small bowl, beat the egg lightly and combine with buttermilk and vanilla.  Make a well in the center of the flour/butter crumbs and pour in the wet ingredients.  Bring the flour into the wet ingredients until you get a shaggy dough.  Dump it out onto a clean counter and use your hands to knead it about 15 times.  Form the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, make the sticky topping.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in brown sugar, cream, honey, salt, and orange zest. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until glaze is golden brown and glossy, about 3–4 minutes.  Pour glaze into an 8 inch square baking pan, tilting to coat bottom and sides.  You can always reserve some of the glaze for extra topping later. 

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Remove the biscuit dough from the fridge, and on a lightly floured surface, roll out into a square or rectangle that is slightly less than 1/2 an inch thick.  It will be somewhere between 10 and 12 inches a side. 

Spread the dough with softened butter.  Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough rectangle (“buttered dough rectangle” could be my favourite phrase).  Roll the dough up into a log, pinching slightly to seal the end so it won’t unroll.  Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 slices.  They will be slightly more than 1 inch thick.  Arrange the slices in the pan with the sticky topping.  Don’t worry if they’re touching. 

Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until glaze is thick and bubbly, buns are golden-brown, and a toothpick inserted into a bun comes out clean. 

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