Sticky Buns to the Face

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So, every once in a while, I just need a gooey, yucky, not good for you at all but delicious pastry. Anything with brioche as a base is my downfall and these are no exception. I feel like when training is hard, a little treat now and again is alright, I mean, life is short, right? You have to give in once in a while. Over the next two weeks I’ll continue to focus on a really clean, raw, protein packed diet with minimal room for splurging because lets be honest, no one wants to shit their pants at the end of a half marathon. I’m trying to drink a lot of raw juice for recovery and keep my breakfast extremely healthful to start my day with good habits. But I have to say, even when I’m not eating treats like these sticky buns, I do really enjoy making them as well as photographing them. For me, the fun is in the process. I do want to address one thing about this blog quickly, as I think sometimes other bloggers try and define themselves a little too hard. This blog is geared for runners and active folks of all kinds, the general topic of conversation is healthful living/eating, but there will always be an element of “cheat” in here, recipes that are splurges and intended for occasional use and consumption. We are not here trying to tell you how to eat all the time but provide you with a good mix. Real, honest, everyday life, for me at least, is about balance and moderation. I can’t do without some things and I’m not trying to do without those things but I am trying to focus on keeping it 90% healthy or as much as I can that day. To me, life wouldn’t be life without a little pastry on a Sunday morning. Food is love. Your body is the temple. But remember, temples need gold too. Enjoy the day everyone, Friday is right around the corner.

*Please note, in my pictures you see a muffin pan, to make my sticky buns I placed a thin layer of goop with a handful of pecans and then placed the rolls on top and baked them that way, however, I have to say, I prefer them in a baking dish, so follow the directions as stated below. I’m always playing around with new ways of doing things but sometimes the first method is the best method. 

Basic Brioche Recipe
4.5 cups all-purpose flour
31/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup cold water
5 eggs
2 3/4 sticks of room temp. unsalted butter, sliced into small pieces

“Goo Recipe” 
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pecan halves, toasted and chopped

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For the brioche: Place the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, cold water and eggs in a large bowl, place under your mixer. A mixer is a must for this recipe, there is no way around it. Place on low speed for about 4 minutes, or until all the ingredients come together, the dough will look shaggy at this point. Make sure all of your wet ingredients are incorporated into your dry ingredients, scrape if necessary and then continue to beat another 3-4 minutes. Again, the dough will continue to look dry and shaggy. While still on low speed, add the butter a little bit at a time, once the butter is all added, turn your mixer up to medium-high and beat for 10-15 minutes. It will take a bit but your dough will come together, looking silky and beautiful. When the dough starts to “clean the sides” grabbing all it’s bits and pieces and makes a slapping noise against the side, you know it’s done. It should come out of the bowl fairly easily. Place dough in an air tight container and put in the fridge for at least six hours, or up to overnight. Once your long 6 hours have passed, remove from fridge, liberally dust your counter top with flour and roll the dough (see below).

To make the goo: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar and cook, stirring, to combine (it may look separated, that’s ok). Remove from the heat and whisk in the honey, cream, water, and salt. Strain to remove any undissolved lumps of brown sugar. Let cool for about 30 minutes, or until cooled to room temperature.

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Assembly & Baking: Again on a liberally floured work surface, roll out the brioche into a rectangle at about a 1/2-inch thickness. Position the rectangle so a short side is facing you. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and half of the pecans. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Starting from the short side farthest from you and working your way down, roll up the rectangle like a jelly roll. Try to roll tightly, so you have a nice round spiral. Trim off about 1/4- inch from each end of the roll to make them even. Use a bench scraper to cut the roll into 8 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2-inches wide. Pour the goo into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, covering the bottom evenly. Sprinkle the remaining pecans evenly over the surface. Arrange the buns, evenly spaced, in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm spot to proof until the dough is puffy, pillowy, and soft and the buns are touching and almost tripled in size, about 2 hours. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat to 350 degrees F. Bake until golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the dish on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes. One at a time, invert the buns onto a serving platter, and spoon any extra goo and pecans from the bottom of the dish over the top.

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