How to be Awesome

Do you ever have those moments, rare as they may be (or often, if we are daring enough to admit it), when you say to yourself, “I am so flippin’ awesome!”? I’m gonna go out on a limb here and admit to you, every last one of you, that I definitely have those moments.

Like when I (with a load of help) pulled off a surprise party for Hubs’ 30th last year. That was awesome.

Or when I discovered that when my CTA tracker says the #72 is coming in 6 minutes, I have exactly enough time to toss on my coat, take the elevator (down all 2 floors), and walk 1 block east to grab the Red Eye before the bus gets there. Yep, me = awesome!

I even feel awesome at work sometimes. I can’t remember any specific examples right now, but I’m sure it happens occasionally. For certain, I’ve constructed some genetic revelation or come up with a rare diagnosis for a patient, or found a billing loophole, or whatever. And I’m sure, if those things happened, that they were awesome.

And not to toot my own horn (because I haven’t done that at all in this post…), but these cinnamon rolls aka sticky buns – they are fan-flippin’-tastically awesome. I’ve patted myself on the back enough to leave a mark, I’m afeard.

I’ve had this recipe for a couple of months now, and have needed a good excuse to make these gorgeous sticky buns. Why not Iron Chef Battle Cinnamon, you ask? Well, I thought it would have been too obvious. And given the 25% of scoring that goes to originality, I opted out. I should’ve, though.

So I blame this bout of awesomeness on my student, who just finished rotating with me this week, as well as my tradition of making something for them at the end of their rotation.

These lil’ sticky buns are intimidating at first, but actually quite easy and fun to make. You mix the dough and rest it. You roll it out real long and thin and you spread the filling (which is easily adaptable, by the way) in an even layer. You roll that lovely filling up like a stuffed pretzel, cut them so they look like extra-large gnocchi, and rest again. You bake, and douse them in the silky, rich, buttery Jamaican rum glaze and dump some just-toasted pecans on top. Then you dig in, and bask in your glory.

Because they are awesome. Just like me, and just like you😉.

Buttered Rum Sticky Buns
Adapted from Food & Wine, January 2010; makes 12

printable version

F&W has some really choice desserts. Remember the baklava? They use butterscotch as their glaze, which I’m sure would be lovely. I didn’t have any Scotch whisky, so I improvised and made mine with Jamaican rum, which I think is a perfect substitution. But you there, do whatever you want, and if you try any different versions, let me know how they turn out.

3/4 c 1% milk
1 T + 1/2 t active dry yeast
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter (6 T softened, 2 T melted)
2 eggs
4 c all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 t kosher salt
1 c light brown sugar
2 t cinnamon
1 c chopped pecans, toasted

1/2 c dark brown sugar
5 T unsalted butter
3 T dark Jamaican rum
2 1/2 T sweetened condensed milk
2 T water
2 T light sour cream
1 1/2 T corn syrup
1/4 t salt
1/8 t vanilla extract
1/8 t baking powder

special equipment: stand mixer (preferred but not required), standard muffin tin, brush

Make the Dough: In a glass measuring cup, heat the milk in the microwave until warm, 1 minute. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the warm milk and the yeast. Add the granulated sugar and the 6 tablespoons of softened butter and mix at medium speed until the butter is broken up, 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour and salt and mix at low speed until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and mix the dough for 2 minutes longer. (Note: for me, my dough practically jumped together and I barely mixed at all, and definitely didn’t need to scrape down) Scrape the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray a standard 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to a 9-by-24-inch rectangle. In a small bowl, mix the light brown sugar with the cinnamon. Brush the 2 tablespoons of melted butter over the dough and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Beginning at a long edge, roll up the dough (into a log) as tightly as possible and pinch the seam. Cut the log into twelve 2-inch pieces and set them in the muffin cups cut side up. Cover and let stand in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Set the muffin pan on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the buns are golden brown.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter, rum, condensed milk, water, sour cream and corn syrup to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, vanilla and baking powder.

Unmold the buns. Pour the glaze over the hot buns and sprinkle with the pecans. Let stand until the buns have soaked up some of the glaze and are cool enough to eat, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.

3 thoughts on “How to be Awesome

  1. Haha. You make me laugh – I have honestly stood in the kitchen and thought to myself “I’m awesome for making this” – so I know exactly how you feel. These look amazing. Love the pictures.

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