Thursday, October 28, 2010

Let the Holiday Baking Season BEGIN!

I hope you've been enjoying the weather and season just as much as I have. There's just something about Autumn in Virginia. Although I really enjoyed New York and London in the fall, they just can't compete with the luscious landscapes around these parts. I keep thinking that if I'm ever going to get into a car accident, it will be because I can't help but stare at a gorgeous sugar maple or beech tree.

A few weekends ago, Kris and I took a bit of a road trip through the Shenandoah valley. We took back roads and ogled at the fall foliage, visited Montpelier and discovered a few gems along the way. One of which is the Moo Thru off of James Madison Highway in Remington, VA.

I'm lucky to have a boyfriend with such mad reflexes because this little shop is in the middle of nothing and will fly by you if you're not paying attention. And when I say, middle of nowhere, I mean it. But they must be doing something right because their little parking lot was just about full. Once we had a bite, we understood. The shop's motto is "Real Ice-Cream from Real Dairy Farmers" and they are not playing around. Guys, it was awesome. I got one scoop each of pumpkin and cinnamon.

Kris got a real chocolate milkshake. Something that tastes like chocolate more than it does like sugar. If I had been paying attention, I would have realized that you can also buy milk and chocolate milk to take home! I deliberated for a few minutes whether to hop back in line to do just that!

All to say that if you're ever in the area, stop by the Moo Thru. James Madison Highway is also quite lovely and takes you through really quaint towns. It was a great way to spend a Sunday. But what I'm really here to tell you about are these Caramel Apple Sticky Buns I made for that same weekend! Here's how they go:

Make your dough and let it rise. The dough actually took me 12 minutes. I know this because I woke up with 14 minutes until the Martha Stewart show was going to start and managed to make this dough without missing a second. And no, I'm not obsessed with Martha. I just really like what she (her team) does...

Next, roll out your dough, trying to approximate a long skinny rectangle. It's hard, but just give it a go. Spread melted butter on the dough and then liberally sprinkle on sugar and cinnamon.

At this point, you will have already made the caramel sauce, poured it into the pan and sprinkled a chopped apple over top.

Roll up your dough and cut it into 1-1.5 inch rolls. The width of your rolls is going to depend of the depth of your pant. I figured this out by pan #2. 

Bake and flip to reveal some AWESOME apply sticky buns!

You can even freeze the baked rolls until later. Just put the frozen buns into a 250 degree oven and bake until heated through- about 35-45 minutes.This would be a shot of me and my college buddies enjoying the buns later. A delicious mess!

Caramel Apple Sticky Buns
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Makes 2 9 inch pans full of buns.
I would honestly double it next time and freeze the extra.

For the Rolls:
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ½ cups Canola Oil
  • 1 package (2 1/4 Teaspoons) Active Dry Yeast
  • 4-½ cups Flour, Divided
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • ½ teaspoons (scant) Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoons (heaping) Baking Powder
For the filling:
  • ¾ cup Sugar
  • ¾ cup Melted Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
 For the Caramel Sauce:
  • 1 stick Salted Butter
  • 1-½ cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dark Brown Corn Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Apply Brandy Or Apple Juice (optional)
  • 2  Apples, Peeled And Finely Diced
To make the dough:
You could easily do this entire process in the metal bowl from your stand mixer by starting with the bowl in a double boiler and using the hook attachment. Heat milk, oil, and 1/2 cup sugar until warm (do not boil.) Allow to cool to lukewarm. Sprinkle in yeast and 4 cups flour. Stir gently and cover with a tea towel, allowing it to rise for 1 hour. After 1 hour, add remaining flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

To make the caramel topping:

Add 1 stick butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, cream, and optional apple brandy to a small saucepan. Allow to melt over low heat until totally combined. Boil for a few seconds, then remove from heat. Set aside.

To make the rolls:
Roll out half the dough into a large rectangle. Pour on half the melted butter, half  the sugar, and half the cinnamon. Roll into a long roll, pinch the edges together to seal in the filling and then slice into rolls.

To assemble:
Pour half the caramel topping into a 9 inch cake pan. Sprinkle diced apple over the top, then arrange sliced rolls all over the pan. Allow to rise for 20 to 30 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, covered in foil for the first 25 minutes.

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