Monday, December 10, 2012

Coffee Cake and Sticky Buns

Recently I watched the movie "Julie and Julia." In the 70's, I loved watching Julia Child's TV show. Seeing the movie inspired me to reopen her cookbook The Way We Cook. I didn't get past page 50 before I moved to implementation. What's on page 50? A coffee cake ring. So I baked a coffee cake ring. After comparing recipes for the dough, I decided to stick with my recipe (meaning my Aunt Betty's recipe), at least for now, as they are quite similar. I used Julia's filling recipe, which is loaded with raisins and walnuts. After it was baked, I glazed it lightly.

This was my first attempt at baking a coffee cake ring. I never had that many occasions for which to bake sweet breads or rolls, so cinnamon rolls usually worked great. Well, I wish I had read the first part of Julia's recipe more closely, because, as you can see, I had way more dough than I needed!


Regardless of the looks, the taste was amazing! To know me is to know I love chocolate, so when I say that I could eat this instead of chocolate, that's saying a lot.

I decided for the time being to put aside the coffee cake, because, on page 51, was a picture of sticky buns, which used the same amazing filling. Being more closely related to cinnamon rolls, I thought I would be more successful with these.

Again, I used my own dough, Julia's filling, and Julia's sticky syrup, which you are supposed to dribble over the upside down buns after they are baked. Except the sticky syrup was not a syrup. I read and followed the recipe very carefully this time, especially because the syrup recipe looked almost exactly like my recipe for the candy part of English Toffee. The only difference was a little more water. The result was more like the candy part of English Toffee than the syrup she's spooning onto the sticky buns in the picture on page 51.

I decided I needed to try again with some changes: more filling per dough, more space between the buns, and a different syrup or glaze.

After looking at many recipes, I chose a glaze recipe from a sticky bun recipe on the King Arthur Flour website. Here's the delicious result of my (Aunt Betty's) dough, Julia's filling, and King Arthur's glaze:

After filling 3 nine-inch pans, I still had some dough left over. I decided to make a coffee cake, but not a ring. Delicious!

This is very rich stuff, to be reserved for special occasions, but definitely worthy of such occasions.

Sticky Buns
Half recipe of:

Aunt Betty's Sweet Roll Dough
3 C lukewarm water
2 T yeast
1 C sugar or 2/3 C honey
½ C canola oil
½ C instant potato flakes
1 C instant nonfat dry milk (9 T non-instant)
1½ tsp. salt
3 eggs
8-9 C unbleached all-purpose flour, or use soft white whole-wheat flour for 1/3-½ the total flour amount

Dissolve yeast in water in large bowl. Let sit for a few minutes. Add sugar, oil, potato flakes, dry milk, salt, and eggs. Add 3 C of the flour. Beat with mixer until smooth. Kneading by hand or with dough hook, add enough flour to make soft dough (5-6 C). In oiled bowl, let rise once or twice. (For dinner rolls, shape into rolls and place in greased pans; let rise. Bake at 350°F until brown, about 20 minutes.)

Walnut Glazed Rolls
After rising in the bowl, punch down dough. On a floured surface, use your hand to pat the dough (half of it at a time) into a rectangle. Spread prepared filling evenly over the surface.

Filling: (Julia Child, with modifications)
Toss together:
1½ C chopped walnuts
2¼ C raisins
1 C brown sugar (dark) 
1½ tsp. cinnamon
¾ tsp. mace (or nutmeg)
3/16 tsp. salt
1½ T maple syrup (or corn syrup)

Butter 3 9-inch round cake pans. Prepare the glaze and divide it evenly among the pans. Sprinkle ½ C brown sugar atop the glaze in each pan.

Glaze: (King Arthur Flour recipe, with modifications))
Stir together:
¾ C maple syrup (or corn syrup)
4½ T butter, melted

Roll up the dough; cut into 1-inch widths; place onto pans leaving space to rise.Allow dough to stand until double in bulk. Bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes. Remove from oven and invert on serving plates.
(There may be some dough left over. Place the leftover portion of the roll uncut on a buttered baking sheet. Slice as you would for a coffee cake ring and spread out the cut parts, laying them sideways. After baking, glaze lightly, as for cinnamon rolls.)

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