Monday, August 23, 2010

Easy Sticky Buns (and how to clean up a crime scene)

1:19 PM Text to Roommate: "When you return to the apartment, it may appear as if someone has been murdered. Don't be alarmed. The only thing that has died is the bottle of red wine perched suicidally on the top of the fridge."


12:50 PM Walk into the kitchen to get a glass of water. 
12:51 PM See bag of pretzel rods and immediately want one. Take one out and hold the end in my mouth to close the bag and put it away. Get glass from cabinet while still holding pretzel rod in mouth.
12:52 PM Open freezer to get some ice. Hear rumbling sound. Sense something coming toward my face. Realize it is a bottle of wine on top of the fridge. Attempt to catch said bottle. Fail. Watch helplessly as it falls to the floor. Pray it remains intact.
12:53 PM Bottle of RED wine shatters all over the wood floor, which has not been finished in decades, leaving it a veritable sponge. Stand in the middle of the carnage, pretzel still in mouth. Also, BAREFOOT. (Now may be a good time to mention that one of my biggest fears is getting glass stuck in my foot ever since my mother had a particularly unpleasant experience involving multiple exploratory needle sticks to retrieve a rogue shard of glass implanted in her foot.)
12:54 PM Slowly put pretzel down. Feel small chunks of glass directly under three of my toes. Gingerly pick foot up and escape to a tiny dry piece of floor. Determine there are no pieces of glass actually in my foot. Assess the damage. Watch as red wine spreads out menacingly across the floor. Wish Roommate's friend had brought us white wine instead of red.
12:55 PM Begin to spread paper towels out in an attempt to thwart the wine's slow creep toward the new couch. Once situation is mildly under control, step around disaster area, sit on edge of couch to minimize foot-floor contact. Propel self over coffee table matrix-style and retrieve flip flops from room. 
12:56 PM Return to kitchen and attempt to do damage control. Waste the equivalent of 5 trees via paper towels. Begin to pick up huge chunks of glass. Envision slicing finger open. Put on rubber dishwashing gloves. Continue to pick up large pieces of glass. 
12:58 PM Find piece of glass approximately 7 feet away. Not good. Find a few more.
1:00 PM Hear Gilmore Girls starting in the other room. Wish I were watching it instead of cleaning up the murder scene. 
1:01-1:08 PM Pick up largest pieces of glass I can find. Soak up as much blood wine as possible with paper towels. See tiny shards of glass. Panic. 
1:09-1:16 PM Vacuum entire apartment. Think our downstairs neighbors must hate us. Swiffer. Vacuum again. Imagine angry letter our downstairs neighbors are writing to our landlord.
1:17 PM Finish cleaning. Finally get glass of water. Pick pretzel back up. Decide I deserve a reward for all my hard work. Retreat to my room with entire bag of pretzel rods and jar of peanut butter.
1:18 PM Turn on Gilmore Girls. 

4:30 PM Update- The floor is, in fact, not stained red. I'm not exactly sure what happened to all that wine (because I can assure you I did not use nearly enough paper towels to absorb an entire bottle), but I'm guessing that when our downstairs neighbor discovers red liquid dripping from his ceiling he'll most likely call the police, and when they show up at our door to arrest us for murder, please direct them to this blog post.

So since I clearly can't be trusted with anything sharp, made of glass, breakable, or would otherwise be used by an adult, here's another Ina recipe since they're generally fool-proof. Seriously, the word "Easy" is in the title.

Plus, after the brownies, I was sort of on a Barefoot Contessa sugar high.

I had one sheet of leftover puff pastry still in the freezer after making the Old-Fashioned Eccles Cakes so I looked through my cookbooks for something I could do with it. These looked fast, simple, delicious and were a breakfast food; my FAV!

These little beauties certainly lived up to their name: they were easy and sticky (but in the best possible way). And no doubt went straight to my buns. The outer layer of dough had a delicious crunch from baking in the butter and sugar but the inner dough was perfectly sweet and tender. The raisins added yet another layer of sweetness, but I'm really dying to know what these would be like with chocolate chips inside! 

Sinful. That's what they'd be. 

These are perfect to make on a lazy Sunday morning when you're too hungover impatient to wait in a long line at your favorite brunch spot, when you have overnight guests you really want to impress, or when your kids have a slumber party and you want to get their friends all sugared up before releasing them back to their parents. 

Easy Sticky Buns

Yield: 6 sticky buns (or double it to make a dozen)

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted

For the filling-
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin (or 6-cup if you have it) on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
2. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, combine the 6 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in 6 of the muffin cups.

3. Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold the sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with the melted butter. 
4. Leaving a one-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle the sheet with the 1/3 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, and raisins. 

5. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down.

6. Trim the edges of the roll about 1/2 inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in the 6 buttered muffin cups. 

7. Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling out onto the buns with a spoon), and let cool for about 20 minutes.

From Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics


  1. 1. I love the commitment you had in keeping the pretzel rod in your mouth as long as you did throughout this major disaster. I like the your priorities.
    2. This story illustrates yet another reason white wine is simply superior to red.
    3. Poss you and your roommate should consider box may not be the classiest but you would eliminate the potential for injuries due to glass.
    4. Those sticky buns look AMAZING.
    5. If I am too hungover to wait in brunch line....I am certainly too hungover to bake these, which is just another reason we need to live together.


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