Saturday, January 18, 2020

Rosie Bakes Sticky Buns.

It's the weekend.  It's cold outside.  And I need a project.
I think I'll make sticky buns.
I have lots of recipes for sticky buns.  This one's just the latest.
It's dripping in a sweet and sticky syrup featuring brown sugar, butter, and pecans.
It's pretty darn good, but then I don't think I've ever had a bad bun.
I'll give you the recipe first, then you can check out the step-by-steps.
Sticky Buns

For the dough:
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup cream
2 pkgs yeast
1/3 cup sugar
5 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp salt
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

For the filling:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup crushed pecans
2 tsp cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, softened

For the syrup:
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 TB light corn syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream

Make the dough:

Rosie Note:  Instead of 1 cup skim and 1/2 cup cream, you could use 1 1/2 cups whole milk.  I just never have whole milk on hand so I substitute with what I do have, which is always skim and cream.  I think the actual ratio for a cup of whole milk is 1 1/2 TB heavy cream and the balance skim.  But I like to err on the side of fat.  Don't think you can go wrong there.

Heat the milk/skimandcream to slightly warm  (105° - 115°).

Pour 1/2 cup of the milk/cream into a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast and a little sugar over top.  Let stand until the yeast "proofs."  That means it "proves" it's alive by eating the sugar and getting all poofy and bubbly.  If it doesn't, then your yeast is no good.  Throw it out and use good yeast.

In a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, and salt.  Mix with dough hook until combined.

In another small bowl, whisk remaining 1 cup warm milk/cream with eggs.  Add to dry ingredients, along with yeast mixture.  Mix at medium speed about 2 minutes, until a soft dough forms.  Add butter and continue beating until dough is smooth and elastic, about 4-5 minutes.

Rinse a large bowl with hot water, pour it out, then put dough in wet bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in volume.  About 2 hours.

Make the filling:
Combine brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Mix well.

Make the syrup:
In a small sauce pan, combine butter, sugars, corn syrup, and heavy cream.  Heat over low until butter is melted.  Bring to a simmer and simmer, stirring, for about 2 minutes.

Make the buns:
Turn the risen dough out onto a large well-floured surface and dust with more flour.  Roll it out into a 12 x 16-inch rectangle, with long side towards you.  Using an offset spatula, spread butter evenly onto dough, then sprinkle filling over dough.  Roll up dough to form a 16-inch log, pressing seam to seal.  Let rest about 10 minutes, then cut log into 16 equal slices.

Using 2 8x8-inch baking dishes, pour half the syrup into each dish.  Arrange 8 buns, cut side up, in each dish.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350°.  Bake buns until puffed and golden About 32 minutes.  After the first 20 minutes, rotate the pans and cover with foil if needed.  Let buns rest in pans on a rack for about 15 minutes, then invert onto platters.

Now, for the step-by-steps:
Sprinkle the yeast onto the warmed milk.
Yeast is hungry, so give it some sugar to munch on.
And wait...

It's ready.

In another small bowl, whisk together remaining warm milk and eggs.

Add egg mixture to dry ingredients.

Pour in yeast mixture.

Knead away until you get a nice ball like this.

Knead in butter.

Then place dough in the wet bowl.
Cover and let rise.
Back right - risen dough.
Back left - brown sugar, pecan, and cinnamon filling.
Front - makings of syrup mixture - butter, sugar, dark brown sugar, cream.

Turn out dough onto floured work surface.

Using additional flour and flipping the dough, as needed, roll it out into a 12 x 16-inch rectangle.
Dot surface with a stick of butter and then ...

schmear it out.

Sprinkle on the brown sugar/pecan/cinnamon mixture.

And now, you're ready to roll.
Start rolling lengthwise...

...and press the seam to seal.

My baking dishes are ready with the syrup.

Start slicing the log.
Into 16 pieces.

Tuck pieces into the baking dishes.

And let rise until doubled.

And bake.

And here ya go.

Gooey, ooey goodness.

A Saturday well spent.


Monday, January 13, 2020

Rosie Cooks Backstrap. It's Venison Time!

We're fortunate enough to know people who hunt and I recently found myself the lucky recipient of some deer backstrap.  The backstraps, in case you don't know, are the two lengths of meat on the back of the deer, outside the rib cage on either side of the spine.  It's a lean muscle and since it doesn't do a lot of work, it's quite tender.  And it's extremely flavorful.
I'm planning on giving it a bit more flavor with a marinade (since I'm marinating some other deer parts as well), then I'm searing it in a hot iron skillet until the internal temperature is around 125°.  I'll be serving it with mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy.  Doesn't get much better than this.
Rosie Note:  I planned to have some green peas with this too, but was all out. (I like the little green eggs in the nest of mashed potatoes.)  And I only use frozen peas, not canned.  Mr. H. volunteered for a Food Lion run, so I held off cooking everything, waiting for him to get back with the peas.  An hour later, he got back.  With FIVE bags of groceries.  And NO FREAKIN' PEAS!  I sent him for ONE THINGONE THING!  Arrrrrrghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!   Rosie stops to take deep breaths...

Anyhoos, in case you need to know exactly where the backstrap comes from, here's a visual:

First, I'm making a marinade.  You can marinate the meat anywhere from 8 hours to several days.
To prepare the meat, I used a very sharp knife to remove any silver skin.  The silver skin is a thin membrane of connective tissue found on meats.  Silver skin, unlike collagen which will dissolve into gelatin during cooking, does not break down and will cook up tough and chewy, curling the meat. You want to take it off.

Rosie's Marinade
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1/2 cup Lea & Perrins worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup dark Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil  (I used Corto)
2 TB ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and pour over meat in a zip-lock bag.

Massage every now and then.
After a day in the marinade,
I cut the meat into 1 1/2 inch thick pieces and returned to the marinade for a few hours.

When you're ready to start cooking, slice up some mushrooms and onion for the gravy.

Backstrap steaks are ready for the pan.

I heated an iron skillet with a thin layer of oil in it, then threw in a big pat of butter.
This is over medium-high heat.
When the butter is melted and almost turning brown, put in the meat.

Four minutes, then turn over.
And cook for another four minutes on the other side.
Next, I added in the mushrooms and ...
the onions and ...

cooked for about a minutes, stirring.

Next, pour in 2-3 tablespoons flour.
Stir about a minute to cook the flour.
Reduce heat a bit - to medium/medium-low.

Then slowly pour in a little of the marinade juices that were left sitting in the bowl with the backstrap steaks and ...
stir in some beef broth.  About 2 cups.

Stir and cook until gravy thickens up and ...
... meat registers 125° on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove meat from pan and let sit about 5 minutes before serving.

Oh... the aromas!

Serve with smashed potatoes.
Just imagine little green peas in the potato nest!
For the potatoes (Do I need to tell you how to make potatoes?), I sliced several potatoes into 1-inch chunks and cooked them in simmering salted water until tender.  And no, I don't bother to peel as I happen to like the peel.  When tender, drain the potatoes and take a pastry blender
and go to work on those potatoes.  Add in a few pats of unsalted butter, a splash of cream, and smash away.  Season with kosher salt, to taste, at the end.
Spoon some of that gravy over the taters.
Oh my.  This is so good.