9.06.2014

A Sticky Situation

Growing up on the Main Line of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we had access to some of the finest art, most exquisite music, and deepest American history imaginable.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Rodin Museum. The Barnes Foundation. The Philadelphia Orchestra. The Curtis Institute of Music. The Liberty Bell. Carpenter's Hall. Independence Hall. The Betsy Ross House.

We also had some of the finest cuisine in the country. Georges Perrier's Le Bec Fin headed the list. (Sadly, it closed several years ago.) Oh, and sticky buns.

Wait... What? Sticky buns?

Back then, nothing made my weekend like a trip to the Lancaster County Farmers Market in Wayne, Pennsylvania - not in Lancaster County. While the market was in a neighboring suburb, the vendors were all from the Lancaster area.

To walk in the door was all I needed. I could smell the incredible rotisserie chickens roasting in the back right corner. Now that I am thinking about it, I wonder why Mom and Dad never bought one of them...

Each trip involved a stop at Clyde Weaver's stand to get cold cuts, including dried chipped beef for making cream chipped beef on toast - a family favorite. We also had our favorite vegetable stand, where Mom would buy freshly shelled peas, lima beans and seasonal bunches of thin asparagus.

The last stop was always the Amish bakery, where we would buy a block of sticky buns. If you haven't had one, they are pretty much as described. Sticky. Buns.

They are made with wonderful yeast dough, sprinkled with a sugar and cinnamon mixture (sometimes with nuts, raisins, or currants), then rolled, sliced and baked atop a gooey, sticky mixture of sugar and corn syrup. They are then turned out, so the goo becomes an addictive topping. What's not to like?

When I was in high school, the farmers market moved from Wayne to Strafford, and it changed. It went upscale. I still loved going, but I really miss the original. I still go there often, in my mind, and I can still smell those chickens.

Why the heck didn't then buy one?

~ David

Philadelphia Sticky Buns

3 to 3 1/2 cups flour

1 package dry active yeast (1/4 ounce)
1/4 cup tepid water
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
pinch salt
2 egg yolks
1 cup tepid milk
butter for greasing bowl
6 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup seedless raisins
2 teaspoons cinnamon


Pour the tepid water into a bowl and sprinkle the yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar over top. Let it stand 2-3 minutes, stir, then set in a warm place for 5 minutes or until yeast bubbles up.


Place 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar and a pinch salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle blade. Stir to combine. Make a well in the bottom. Add the yeast, egg yolks, and tepid milk. Mix at low speed until ingredients come together in a sticky mass.


Change to the dough hook, and start kneading at low speed. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour a little at a time, until you have a firm dough. Knead on medium-low speed for 6-8 minutes, or until dough is silky and smooth.


Grease a large ceramic bowl with butter. Place the ball of dough in the bowl, then turn it so that the top will be lightly buttered. Cover bowl with a kitchen cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume - about 1 hour.


Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix 3/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and the corn syrup to a smooth paste. Divide the mixture between two 9-inch cake pans and swirl to coat the bottoms.


In another bowl, mix the remaining brown sugar, raisins, and cinnamon. Set aside.


Punch the dough down and, on a floured surface, roll out to an 18-inch by 10-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with the sugar-raisin mixture.


Starting on the long side, roll the dough tightly into a cylinder. It should be at least 18-inches long, and 2-3 inches thick. Cut the cylinder in 1 1/4-inch slices. Place one slice, cut side up, in the center of each pan. Place remaining slices around the central one. You should have between 7 and 8 rolls per pan.


Set the buns in a draft-free place and allow them to rise until doubled in bulk - about 45 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 350°F.


Brush the tops of the buns with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter, and bake in the middle of the oven for 22-25 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Place an inverted platter on top of each pan, and flip it over immediately, allowing all the gooey goodness to follow. Let cool till lukewarm before serving.


Makes 14-16 sticky buns.

44 comments:

  1. I like your recipe and method better than mine, thanks!

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  2. Good question? I wonder why. Isn't it funny the things we remember when we were young? Your sticky buns look positively addictive! I always make cinnamon rolls with buttercream as the icing, but have never made the sticky version...on the list!!

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    1. Christina - I have only had them with buttercream frosting once or twice... I guess I love these because they are what I grew up with!

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  3. Beautiful buns (har har ) and finally a walnut-ness sticky bun I can actually eat! Woohoo!

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    1. Funny, Ahu - I never liked them with nuts, either. My folks did, though, so I did a lot of "picking out" when I was young.

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  4. I love this, David, absolutely love it!

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  5. Hi David, these sticky buns sound wonderful. Love your technique. My husband's mom lives in Scranton PA and I love going to the Amish markets.

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    1. Thanks, Cheri - do you have any other favorites you remember? Funnel cakes were lots of fun, too.

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  6. Beautiful! I adore Sticky Buns, and yours look absolutely delightful. What a nicely realized step by step lesson; thank you for the recipe and pix. I can't wait to give it a go. Have a terrific Sunday!

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  7. Mmmmm.....my mother used to make "cinnamon rolls" once in a blue moon. I always tried to get her to add extra brown sugar and nuts to make them really, really sticky. Sometimes she did it for me, but not often. Your rolls look absolutely perfect.
    And...you mentioned creamed chipped beef on toast! Wow!
    I had not thought of that for many years. I loved it when my grandmother made it. Grandpa would buy dried beef at the local co-op for her. Later, I remember when one could buy that salty dried beef in little jars that some saved and used as tiny juice glasses. I would love to taste that once again.
    Also, a not so nice name was given to the creamed, chipped beef in the Army, according to my father. The soldiers called it
    "sh.. on a shingle." Did you know that?

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    1. Thanks for the laugh, Caterina! Yes, I remember S.O.S. very well! My father was in the service and said most of the men didn't like the cream chipped beef, but he loved it so it was a brunch - or even Sunday supper - treat for us.

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  8. David, I love these food memories. And here I sit with my coffee just poured, wishing I could grab one of these incredibly delicious sticky buns right out of the screen to go with it. Perfection.

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    1. Valentina - I wish you had been next door, as I would have popped some over!

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  9. I'm not sure I've ever had this. My mom made a coffeecake that was similar, but I never become aware of the rolled variety until I grew up. Maybe my mom was hoarding them, (along with your mother and those chickens). GREG

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    1. It is worth trying, Greg, although I know you don't really have a sweet tooth. Do you suppose mothers were the original hoarders?

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  10. I have made cinnamon rolls but never sticky buns... after seeing your photos I think it is a must-try

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    1. You definitely need to try them, Fiona - they really are wonderful.

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  11. D, you make this look so easy. I love warm cinn buns for breakfast, esp on a cold day. I'm praying we'll get some chilly weather and rain soon! xo

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    1. If I can do it, Colette, so can you! I hope you get rain, too - as you might have seen on the news, Arizona got its share yesterday!

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  12. David, these Sticky Buns must be totally addictive - they look out of this world delicious!
    Liebe Grüsse,
    Andrea

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    1. Andrea - I think I know of some young children in Bonn who might just like them! :)

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  13. Damn delicious and seducing sticky cinnamon roll with raisins!!!

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    1. Thanks, Dedy! I have to be careful not to make them too often!

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  14. You make it look so easy!
    Now I feel encouraged and I'm going to try to make them.
    Hope they turn out as good as yours :)

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    1. I am sure they will, Daniela! They really aren't too hard at all.

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    2. David always makes it easy and what ever it is he does is always so pretty!

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  15. I really do miss those sticky treats in Pennsylvania. I may have to show this recipe to Dean, because I know he'll want to get his hands on it right away!

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    1. Will Dean bake them for you? That would be nice, John! I do miss the Amih baked goods...

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  16. Oh wow these look so decadently yummy and sticky. I have been meaning to make sticky buns for years and still haven't got around to it. I will have to move them up the list!

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    1. These are so good. And you could even put chocolate chips in for Mr. LG - but I bet he would like them just as is!

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  17. I have to admit that I've never tried a Philly sticky bun. They look divine though David, the spiced fruit filling and the glossy dough make me want to rush right home and make some (which is rather hard, considering that I am at a B&B in Scotland!). Great post as always David!

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    1. Thanks, Laura! I hope your B&B hostess/host are feeding you well!

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  18. Oh, I love these! I always want to make Cinnamon Rolls but think of them as a holiday treat - you may have just convinced me to get off my butt & make them on a regular weekend. They look and sound amazing!

    xoxo

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    1. They are the perfect weekend treat whether it is Christmas or just you two setting aside time for one another! xox

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  19. These are just gorgeous, David! One of my favorite morning treats!

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    1. Me, too, Kathy - and I am glad they are not readily available here! :)

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  20. Oh goodness...just when I was losing some weight, THESE come along! They look great. Just wondering...have you ever frozen these buns?

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    1. Sadly, they have never lasted long enough to freeze... But it might work.

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  21. You get so many extra points for using a ruler to cut them! Mine are always so uneven. Such great old food memories David, I love those! Did you use muscovado sugar? It's my favorite, I use it in everything.

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    1. I used standard brown sugar, Paula - I will have to try muscovado. Yes, I use a ruler... It is the Virgo in me! :)

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