It is finally a beautiful day in New York. I woke up this morning nice and early, around 6am, and didn’t even feel the need to go back to sleep until my actual alarm went off at 6:30. I must have something severely wrong with me and this will probably come to light in the next week or so in the form of some kind of incurable disease. Or maybe it’s just allergies. Anyway, I woke up without any problems. The sun is starting to peek out at this time in the morning, so maybe that’s it. I usually wake up when it’s pitch black outside, which is not at all conducive to forcing yourself to roll out of bed, away from the big, soft comforter and just-in-the-right-place pillow and into the harsh realities of a not-warm-enough shower and having to make coffee. Today feels like the first official day of spring to me. I woke up, got dressed, made a big pot of coffee and even made pancakes for Kramer, because he is always bugging me about making pancakes and I never give in. I figured that he’s had such a rough schedule between work, school and the inevitable gobs of homework that I’d make today extra special for no reason in particular. Not that I deserve any wife of the year awards – I only accept cold, hard cash. Money talks, people.
Roof views, Kramer and Jeena at One Mile House, Kramer posing with all of our drinks at the hot sauce festival and Jeena and I posing with the champion of who-knows-what at the very same hot sauce festival.
The pancakes were also on the menu this morning because, as the weather gets warmer and I open up my drawer and stare blankly at tank tops and shorts, it’s time to get rid of the winter coat I’ve developed over the past six months. It was a long winter, which led to the consumption of many beers, countless slices of pizza, delicious hot dogs on pretzel buns smothered in mustard, and whatever else I could get my hands on. Reality has set in, though. Springy dresses and bathing suits loom closer and closer. S I G H. So, it’s time to knock it off and get back to (attempting) to eat right and exercise. Next week, Kramer and I are planning to embark on our version of a ketogenic diet, which is high in fat, low in carbs, and covered in sadness. We’ll see how long I last. It’s actually not so bad, but the first three days you’re basically supposed to fast and the only thing you can have is black coffee, plain tea, lots of fluids and as much chicken or beef broth as your heart desires. The problem is, my heart desires no beef or chicken broth. My heart desires a BLT with avocado and extra mayonnaise. I’m 25 though, and my metabolism is not what it used to be, so I need a kickstart. Plus, I have the impressive ability to fit a king’s ransom worth of food in my stomach, so I need to shrink it back down to a regular human size. Hopefully this is good for you guys, though. I’ll try to post some healthier recipes so that you can get back into the swing of things with me. Not that you need it. You look fabulous.
In the spirit of one last hurrah, I present to you these 60 Minute Sticky Buns. Aren’t they a dream? I wanted to bring something to a friend’s house for card night a few weeks ago, but Kramer and I were busy during the day and I didn’t have a ton of time. I came across this recipe on I Heart Eating, and was skeptical, but figured I’d give it a try and if it failed, I’d just bring some bread and cheese (which is my stand-by party food and it should be yours, too). Well, obviously I was not disappointed. I could not believe how quickly these sticky buns came together, and how absolutely delicious they were. Now, they’re not going to be as soft and pillowy as buns that you’ve allowed to rest, rise and rest again for hours and hours, but that’s okay. These remind me of the buns you’d get from a can at the grocery store, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. My friends were very excited to see these show up at the get together, and even though I highly recommend warming them up a bit before enjoying them, the card players all ate them cold, saving the chocolatey, caramel-y center for last, because obviously that is the best part. If you’re about to embark on diet season, too, then I really hope you’ll go out with a bang, and I hope that bang involves this quick sticky buns.
Allow your yeast to foam, butter your muffin tins and chop your chocolate.
Bring your dough together until soft and slightly sticky.
Roll the dough out, then brush with the butter and sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and chocolate.
Cut the dough into 12 pieces, allow to rise once more in the pan, then bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden.
Allow the buns to cool in the pan for 5 minutes or so.
Then drizzle with your caramel sauce.
I decorated my buns with a sprinkle of pearled sugar.
- ¾ cup warm milk or water (about 105 degrees F) (I used water)
- 1 ½ tablespoons active dry yeast (a little more than 2 packets)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
- 2 eggs
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup chocolate, chopped (optional but recommended)
- ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream (or whole milk)
- ½ tablespoon corn syrup
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- pearled sugar, for decoration (optonal)
- Grease a 12-cup muffin tin well with butter and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl if mixing by hand), combine the warm milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand 5-10 minutes until foaming. Add butter to the yeast mixture and beat until the butter is slightly incorporated (it will be far from perfect), about 1 minute or so. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Add in the flour and salt, then mix at low speed until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then increase the speed to medium, and mix the dough for 2 minutes longer. The dough will still be soft and a little sticky, and might seem a bit heavy. This is fine. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let it stand for 10 minutes in a warm-ish spot.
- When ready, on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to a 11x17-inch rectangle.
- In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. Brush the 3 tablespoons of melted butter over the dough, then sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate over that, if you're using it.
- Beginning at a long edge, roll up the dough as tightly as possible, pinching the seams on both ends. Cut the rolled dough into twelve pieces with a sharp knife, discarding the less pretty end pieces, and set them in the muffin cups cut side up. Cover with a dish towel, and let stand again for 15 minutes.
- While the dough rises one more time, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Set the muffin tin on a baking sheet (this helps to retain heat and lets the buns bake evenly), and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown and bubbling. While the buns are baking, make the glaze.
- Combine the brown sugar, butter, heavy whipping cream or milk and corn syrup in a small, heavy saucepan. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the salt, vanilla, and baking soda. The glaze will foam up a little, so allow room for that. I made my glaze a little early and it stiffened up a bit, but you can simply place it back over the heat for a few minutes, stirring the entire time, until it's warmed up again.
- When the sticky buns are ready, let them cool in pan for 5 minutes, then use a butter knife to carefully wiggle them out of the muffin tin. Place the sticky buns on a piece of parchment or wax paper, then use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the hot sticky buns. Sprinkle with pearled sugar, if you like. You can make the buns ahead of time and then place them back in the oven on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees F to warm them back up. I recommend wetting a small piece of paper towel and placing it somewhere on the sheet to add back some moisture if the buns have sat out for a while.