Exactly 1 year and 19 days ago, I married my best friend. To be honest, typing that makes me cringe a little – usually I’m the person that secretly judges other people for posting gushy love notes to/about their significant others online for everyone to see – but it’s a true statement, and I stand by it (I never said I wasn’t a hypocrite).
I love him, we survived a whole year of marriage, and the moment should be celebrated! Hence, this post with the gushy intro, the sticky-sweet recipe, and the giveaway (more on that later).
But, because I’m a benevolent blog-dictator, I’ll spare you the spiel about how much we love each other (a whole bunch), and how Dan completes me (he does), and how even after almost 9 years together I sometimes look at him and can’t believe that the boyishly handsome guy with the messy hair and ridiculous Seinfeld t-shirt is mine (he’s pretty lucky too!). Instead, I’ll tell you a little bit about our wedding. And then I’m gonna show you a kick-ass recipe and give you free stuff!
OK, so the wedding. It was outdoors, with lots of trees and flowers and chirping birds. I wore a floaty white gown that made me feel like a princess, Dan wore a summery gray suit and bright red tie that made him look super dashing. My bridesmaids were dressed in red chiffon, his groomsmen had on identical gray suits and red ties.
The ceremony, which was officiated by our friend Mikey, was short and sweet (20 minutes from start to finish). Poems were read. Vows were spoken (we wrote our own!). Rings were exchanged. Our moms cried. We kissed. 134 of our nearest and dearest clapped and cheered. We were married! Then there were lots of pictures and hugs. And eating. And drinking. Then speeches. More drinking! Cupcakes! Dancing! Dancing! Dancing! So much dancing! It was best time, y’all.
By the end of the night, our voices were hoarse from all the yelling and singing (it is impossible to not sing along to “Party in the USA”), our feet ached, our faces hurt from smiling all night, and we remembered exactly none of the conversations we had with anyone, but we were happy. Like, ridiculously happy. It didn’t hurt that we were heading off to Jamaica for 2 weeks the next day…
Fast forward to now, and we’ve been married for a little over a year. Our thank you cards aren’t done (but they’re almost done!). My anniversary blog post is late (nobody is surprised). I am stressed out about both those things, but married life with Dan and the kitties has been great! Not entirely free of bumps (see e.g., recent heated argument about whether Gucci Mane’s ice cream face tat makes him look stupid), but for the most part things have been smooth sailing.
Nothing has really changed in any major way (aside from my name – I’m hyphenated now!), since we were already living together and sharing expenses and all that jazz before the wedding. But we did finally get around to nesting a little bit – we furnished our home with actual furniture and decorations (no more bare walls!); we revamped the bathroom (thanks to Dan’s parents); and we repainted everything (again, thanks to my incredible in-laws).
And, more of our weekends are spent doing married-couple things like hosting football-watching parties and spending all day on the couch in our pj’s watching too much TV and going on double-dates to local wineries (hi, Amy) and inviting people over for dinner parties and renting river-side cabins with other couples. It’s kinda really great.
And speaking of things that are really great, that brings me to today’s recipe, which was made possible by my super amazing, greatest-ever bridesmaids, who chipped in and bought me a standmixer as a wedding gift. A standmixer! Which I, like millions of other females/home cooks around the world, had lusted after since I discovered their existence (probably on a Food Network show)!
And it’s red! So, you know, my life is now complete.
Naturally, I would have been (and was) happy with just the standmixer, but my girls, being the wonderful people that they are, also gave me an old school-style recipe box filled with handwritten notes and some of their favorite recipes. BBQ sauce, crab dip, cake balls, pumpkin bread…all of which sound delicious, and would be perfect for breaking in my new kitchen baby (FYI, her name is Bessie)!
Slacker that I am, I never actually got around to making any of those recipes until recently, when I realized it had been a whole year since our wedding. Then I was all “holy crap, where did the time go?” Followed by “sh**, I should probably do an anniversary post soon” and “omgaw, what the hell am I going to make????”
When cooler minds finally prevailed (i.e., I asked my friend Sarah for advice), I realized that I had an entire box full of awesome recipes to choose from for the anniversary post. And, what more appropriate way to celebrate one year of marriage than to make one of the recipes gifted to us at our wedding?
After some agonizing, I finally settled on my friend Charlene’s recipe for Flour Bakery’s famous sticky buns, (1) because I’d been dying to try these buns for years but never had a chance to check out the bakery, and (2) I wanted to make something extra special (read: super complicated/involved) in honor of the occasion.
As it turns out, these buns were kind of the perfect metaphor for marriage…the recipe was very hands on, time-intensive (seriously y’all, I started at 8:30am and finished at 7:30pm), a little bit sticky/messy, occasionally frustrating but generally fun/gratifying to watch develop, and so sweet and amazing and worth all the effort in the end.
No joke – these sticky buns are one of the greatest things I’ve ever tasted. I may have grumbled and cussed my way through each step of the recipe (and swore I’d never make this again), but as soon as the pan went into the oven and our whole place filled with the delicious scents of caramel, butter and cinnamon, I was back on board.
And that first bite, y’all…the bun was so buttery and soft and fluffy it practically melted in my mouth, the caramel on top was hot and sticky and decadently sweet (but surprisingly, not cloying), and the cinnamon-y filling was everything you could want in a sticky bun. It was pure heaven!
I just kept eating and eating, even though each bite burned the roof of my mouth (FYI, fresh out of the oven buns, particularly those with caramel on top = super hot). And Dan, who said he was too full from dinner to eat any, tried a bite, let out an involuntary “mmmm!”, and then proceeded to gobble up half a bun (they’re enormous) before crying uncle. So yeah. These buns are fantastic. Pain in the ass, but fantastic.
OK. We’re done. If you’ve made it to the this part of The Longest, Most Rambling Post Ever, thank you! This can only mean that you’re a masochist, or you love me. I choose to think y’all love me, so I’m going to reward your love with (1) the recipe for these amazing sticky buns, and (2) a $100 Amazon gift card. Excited? Me too!
(BTW, did you notice anything different about the blog? Yup! Redesigned, courtesy of the brilliant mind behind Snixy Kitchen)
** This giveaway is sponsored by Just Putzing Around the Kitchen.
$100 AMAZON GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY!
In the spirit of love and marriage and all that good stuff, I’m going to give one lucky (and randomly selected) reader the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.
- To enter the giveaway, leave me a comment telling me what you did/would do to celebrate your 1-year wedding anniversary. If you’re not married/not interested, tell me what you’d do to celebrate any big milestone!
- To earn up to FIVE bonus entries, do one (or all!) of the following and then come back and leave me separate comments below telling me what you did:
(1) Subscribe to my blog via email or RSS feed (if you are already subscribed, leave a comment saying that!).
(2) Like Just Putzing Around the Kitchen on Facebook.
(3) Follow Just Putzing Around the Kitchen on Twitter.
(4) Follow Just Putzing Around the Kitchen on Instagram.
(5) Pin any sticky bun pic from this post onto Pinterest.
- Giveaway will end at 5pm next Saturday, September 13. Winner will be notified by email.
Congratulations to Simoriah, winner of the giveaway!
- 2-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2-1/4 cups bread flour
- 1-1/2 packages (3-1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
- ⅓ cup + 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- ½ cup cold water
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup + 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 10-12 pieces.
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- 1-1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup honey
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup water
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup pecan halves, toasted and chopped
- In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 2 flours, yeast, sugar, salt, water and eggs. Beat on low for 3 to 4 minutes, or until all the ingredients have come together. Stop the mixer as needed to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl. Once the dough has come together, beat on low speed for another 2 min. The dough will be very stiff and seem quite dry.
- With your mixer still on low speed, add the butter one piece at a time, mixing after each addition until the butter has thoroughly disappeared into the dough. Then continue mixing on low for about 10 minutes. If necessary, stop the mixer occasionally and break up the dough or push the dough off your hook with your hands to help mix in the butter.
- Once the butter is completely incorporated, turn up the speed of your mixer to medium and beat for another 15 min, or until the dough becomes sticky, soft, and somewhat shiny. Your dough will look shaggy and questionable at the start and then eventually turn smooth/silky. When that happens, turn the speed of your mixer up to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute. You should hear the dough make a slap-slap-slap sound as it hits the sides of the bowl. (FYI, your mixer will get and start shaking - don't worry, this is normal.)
- Test the dough by pulling at it. It should stretch a bit and have a little give, and will feel slick/soft. If it seems wet and loose and more like batter than dough, add a few tbsp flour and mix until it comes together. If it breaks off into pieces when you pull at it, continue mixing on medium for another 2-3 minutes, or until it develops more strength and stretches when you grab it. Your dough is ready when you can gather it all together and pick it up in one piece.
- Place your finished dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough. Let the dough proof in the fridge for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. (At this point you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to 1 week.)
- Make the caramel goo - in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in brown sugar until dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in honey, cream, water, and salt. Set goo aside and allow it to cool to room temperature.
- Take half of your basic brioche dough, and roll it out on a floured work surface into a rectangle about 16 by 12 inches and ¼ inch thick. It will have the consistency of cold, damp Play-Doh and should be fairly easy to roll. Position the rectangle so a short side is facing you.
- In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and half of the pecans. Sprinkle mixture evenly over your rolled out dough. Starting from the short side farthest from you and working down, roll up the rectangle tightly like a jelly roll. Trim about ¼ inch from both ends of your roll.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 8 equal pieces, each about 1-1/2 inches wide. (At this point, the unbaked buns can be tightly wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 1 week. Thaw them before proceeding as directed, below)
- Pour your cooled caramel goo into a 9x13 baking dish, covering the bottom evenly. Sprinkle the remaining pecans evenly on the surface. Place the buns cut side down and evenly spaced in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place your baking dish in a warm place to allow the buns to proof for another 2 hours (or until the dough is puffy, pillowy and soft and the buns are touching).
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350.
- Bake the buns for 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Allow buns to cool in the dish on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes.
- One at a time, invert the buns onto a serving platter, and spoon any extra goo/pecans from the bottom of the dish over the top of each bun.
- Dig in!
(Recipe courtesy of my friend Charlene, who I think got it from the Flour Bakery cookbook)