Yes, Houston, we have honey buns. I emerged from the kitchen covered in flour, short on patience, and a little bit sticky, but my first attempt at gooey, doughy yeast buns was a success.
adapted from Martha Stewart magazine, not sure which issue
Makes 9 (plus two extra portions of dough for future use)
For the dough:
2 T. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup whole milk at room temperature
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs
1/2 cup honey (any type)
2 t. coarse salt
1 t. vanilla
5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the surface
vegetable oil, for the bowl
For the filling and topping:
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey (any type) plus more for brushing and drizzling
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 T. sugar
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup creme fraiche
1/2 cup chopped pecans
I made the dough the night before. Notice there aren't any photos. It was challenging to figure out to follow the recipe which wasn't clear enough for me as a newbie to making yeast rolls.
Make the dough: sprinkle yeast over warm water in a small bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. This didn't happen. Maybe my water wasn't warm enough to start. So I microwaved it for a 5 seconds, hoping that it would start to foam if it got warmer, but then I was stressed that I had killed the yeast.
Whisk milk, butter, eggs, honey, salt and vanilla with a mixer on medium speed. Add yeast mixture, and whisk for 1 minute. Switch to dough hook, reduce speed to low, and add 4 cups flour. After flour is incorporated, raise speed to medium and continue kneading. My mixture looked awful. Sort of like butter bits suspended in a milky solution, but it looked better after I added the flour. Maybe my eggs and milk and butter weren't warm enough. They are supposed to be at room temperature.
Add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until dough no longer sticks to the bowl. My dough kept sticking so I just kept adding flour. About an extra cup.
Raise speed to medium-high, and knead for 10 minutes. (Alternately, knead by hand until smooth, 15 to 20 minutes.) My Kitchenaid stand mixer really got a workout. The machine wobbled and was very hot by the end.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until dough is very smooth, about 5 minutes. My turn for a workout! Five minutes is long time to knead! Glad I had a machine to do the first part.
Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic and set aside in a warm, draft free spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour. I used our oven for this step. Earlier I heated it to the lowest setting, then turned it off, and left the door open. Inside it was probably in the 80's by the time I put the dough into rise. This step went well. My yeast was not dead! The dough doubled quickly.
Punch down dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 3 portions. Roll each into a ball. Freeze 2 for up to 3 months (thaw in refrigerator before using). I put two in the freezer and one in the fridge overnight, tightly wrapped in plastic.
In the morning, I continued.
I missed the traditional flavors of cinnamon and whatever else is in a sticky bun. Honey was nice, but seemed too mild. So, with my two remaining portions of dough, waiting to be used in the freezer, I am going do a little research and then attempt to make traditional sticky buns.