Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sticky Pecan Bites

I'm going to get to these mini-sticky buns in a minute because they're amazing.  So amazing, hubs ate 15...yes, I said 15....straight out of the oven.  In his mind, he only had 15 bites, which is a minor snack.  

But first, we made a quick trip to Ohio the past few days to see these two little munchkins and that new addition laying on Reese's lap.  Not only did I get to kiss on them, I got to smell sweet puppy breath.  

 We also went up to help my niece, Annie, move into her first solo, big-girl apartment.  When we got there she had a couch, a bed and a dresser so we had our work cut out for us.  Her brother donated a table and chairs to the cause and we went shopping for the rest.  Pretty good for two days work, don'tcha  think?

I also want to mention where we stayed while we were in Granville....The Welsh Hills Inn B&B....a fabulous recommendation from a friend.  Usually when we visit the kids, we have to make the 30 minute drive back and forth to Columbus, because the other offerings in Granville need some serious updating!  This has changed everything.  The Inn is situated just a few miles outside of Granville on about 5 acres (I'm guessing) on a stunning property with rolling hills. The home, itself, is one thing.....decorated with beautiful antiques, really comfortable beds with plush linens, modern bathrooms and doting hosts....but I'll be back for the breakfasts, alone.  These peeps can cook!  The first day we had an omelet with caramelized onions, spinach and mushrooms, toast served with a delicious sour-cherry jam; day two was whole-grain french toast with sauteed Harry and David pears; and our last day was fresh fruit with granola and yogurt, fresh grapefruit and a cinnamon bread stick.  Delish!

I'll definitely be back and I know the 'rents are going to love it also.

Now, back to these mini-buns (I wish I could describe my own buns as "mini"....)  These are a great alternative to your regular sticky bun recipe because since there is no yeast, they come together very quickly.  Hubs said he loved them so much because they weren't too sweet like other sticky buns tend to be.  Perfect little bites of soft dough, crunchy pecans and a slightly sweet cinnamon syrup.

Here's the recipe:

Sticky Pecan Bites
Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy, by Alice Medrich

24 pecan halves
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional for sprinkling
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup packed brown or muscovado sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft

Preheat the oven to 400 deg. F.  Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.  Lightly grease a mini- muffin tin (24 cups) unless they are nonstick pans.

Place a pecan half in each cup, top side down.  Combine the flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or fork.  Make a well in the center.  Pour the cream into the well.  Use a rubber spatula to fold and stir the flour mixture and cream together just until the dry ingredients are entirely moistened and a soft dough is formed, it should not look perfectly smooth.  Let the dough rest for 2 to 3 minutes to firm up.  Meanwhile, mix the sugar with the cinnamon.

On a lightly floured surface, with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough to a rectangle 12 by 7 inches and 1/4 inch thick.  Spread the dough with the soft butter and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and the brown sugar.  Starting at one short end, roll the dough tightly.  Gently stretch the dough to lengthen the roll.  Cut the roll crosswise into 24 equal pieces.  Place each piece in a muff cup cut side up.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until well browned.  Rotate the pan front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking, immediately turn the cookies out onto a sheet of parchment on a heatproof surface.  Serve on the day you make them.

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