Monday, March 9, 2015

Alpha Bakers - Very Slow Caramel Buns

Cake is all right, and pie is delicious, but my real passion is for breakfast pastry, from waffles to scones, biscuits to brioche. Sticky buns are akin to the waffle sundae, a good thing taken to heights of unbelievable overkill, then garnished with nuts. I love them, although sometimes I love them better without the caramel. The sticky buns in The Baking Bible are called Caramel Buns, and they are a brioche base rolled with nuts, sugar, and rum raisins, baked, glazed with raisin sugar syrup, and covered in a thick drippy caramel and more nuts. I know. Seriously.
Rose's brioche is a simple but slow dough, one that makes me glad I have a mixer, as it would be a gigantic pain without. It starts with a little sponge, which is then covered with a flour mix and refrigerated for a while.

I ran out of flour so I supplemented with a touch of my gluten free mix, accidentally contaminating the GF mix in the process. I'll need to make a new mix (enriching Bob's Red Mill as usual), but the old one will still be useful for gluten light baked goods and experimental models.
After some overnight rising and then stretching and folding and more rising, the dough is rolled out, brushed with egg, sugar, raisins, and, in my case, walnut bits, and then rolled up and cut. Rose recommends cutting the rolls with a piece of dental floss, which works perfectly and is weirdly satisfying besides. I have a twitchy response to public flossing, as my family knows to their sorrow (seriously, why is this a public event?), but public cinnamon roll cutting is full acceptable.
When I rolled it up, I completely forgot the rum-soaked sultanas, so I poked a few in on top. Most of them were forced up and got a touch toasted, but I really wanted them in there. Not sure what to do with the remainder, but especially with the rum, they'll last a little while in the refrigerator.

The buns are proofed for a while (it was a snow day so I let it run a little longer), and then baked with a Ball jar in the middle. The jar is filled with water--boiling water. I almost missed that the water was supposed to be boiling but caught it at the last minute.
While the buns were baking, I made the glaze (mostly raisin, rum, water, and sugar) and the caramel. The caramel was a pretty basic sugar/cream/butter shake-up, but I got a little creative and threw some cloves, Meyer lemon slices, and half a vanilla bean in with the boiling sugar, straining them out afterward. This gave the caramel a sort of 'Christmassy' flavor, as one taster said. Candied Meyer lemon slices were a good cook's treat.
 I overbaked the buns a bit, or they would have benefitted from the leftover raisins, as they were a little dry. Now that I think about it, that might have been the non-wheat flours, too. Next time I might make them larger.  Perfect baking for a snow day.


Michele at The Artful Oven said...

They look great, Katya! I love this recipe, and your additions to the glaze are genius! I will make note of those in my book for next time!

faithy said...

Wow, I love the addition to your caramel! I didn't know you can add lemons and whole lot of spices in there for caramel! Next time I will do the same too! :D

Unknown said...

Katya... I Like your extras twist in that sugar syrup part of the recipe.. I never thought to add anything to that part of the caramel... I'm writing this tip down... for future reference.

Vicki said...

I didn't know it was possible to add other things to caramel to enhance the flavor! This is fantastic. Your rolls look and sound delicious.

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

I love that you called them "very slow" caramel buns. I can almost taste your xmas spiked caramel now!

Patricia @ ButterYum

Unknown said...

Hi Katya, the snow outside your kitchen looks exactly like the snow outside my kitchen. Sorry I seemed to have missed your last post. Your caramel buns look quite beautiful and tasty. I'd love to have one right now. Feeling a little peckish.

Alpha Baker Joan said...

Your buns just look wonderful - I really wasn't pleased with mine. for some reason the dough wasn't that great athough they looked good.