The Giants' Sticky Buns

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The Giants' Sticky Buns

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Published prior to 2008

These Brobdingnagian buns (remember Gulliver’s Travels?) elicit a smile from everyone who sees them. “Cool! A giant sticky bun!” Sometimes it’s just plain fun to transform a familiar recipe into something brand new, and this is one of those times.

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Baker?s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
3 tablespoons King Arthur Easy-Roll Dough Improver (optional, but helpful)
3 tablespoons potato flour or 1/4 cup dried potato flakes
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor or vanilla
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) water

1/2 cup golden syrup or light corn syrup
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup Sticky Bun Sugar* or 1 cup brown sugar
1 to 1 1/3 cups diced pecans or walnuts

*Sticky Bun Sugar is key to making an ultra-sticky, delightfully tasty sticky bun. However, you can choose not to use it and still make a good bun.

MANUAL METHOD: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients until a rough dough forms, then knead (about 10 minutes by hand, 5 to 7 minutes by machine) until it’s smooth and satiny. Transfer it to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour. It'll become very puffy, about double in bulk.

BREAD MACHINE METHOD: Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for dough or manual, and press Start. Check the dough about 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle; it should be smooth and supple, not "gnarly." Adjust the consistency with additional flour or water as needed. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and divide it in half. Divide each of the two pieces in half again; you now have four pieces of dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let it rest while you prepare the pans.

TOPPING: In a small bowl, whisk together the syrup, rum (if you're using it) and melted butter. Divide this mixture evenly between two 9-inch round cake pans. Sprinkle the Sticky Bun Sugar (or brown sugar) and pecans over the topping in the pans.

ASSEMBLY: Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it into a 30- to 32-inch rope, about 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter. Yes, this is a very long, skinny, snake-like log. If you’ve used the dough relaxer, this dough will be very easy to roll out; if not, roll it under your palms lightly, and when it starts to resist, give it a 2-minute rest. Roll some more, rest some more… eventually you’ll get there. When you’re just about done rolling, dust the rolling surface with cinnamon-sugar, and roll the logs in it thoroughly.

Starting in the center, loosely coil one of the ropes into one of the pans; it should fill about the middle two-thirds of the pan. Take a second rope, pinch its end to the rope in the pan, and coil it to fill the remainder of the pan. There should be about half an inch of space between the loops of the coil, to allow for the expansion of the dough as it rises. Repeat the process with the second pan and the remaining two ropes of dough. Cover the pans, and let the dough rise for about 60 minutes; it should just about fill the bottom of the pan.

BAKING: Bake the giant buns in a preheated 350°F oven for 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and carefully turn the pans over onto a serving plate, so the buns drop out onto the plate. Scrape any nuts or sugar left in the pans onto the buns. Allow them to cool a bit before serving. Yield: two large sticky buns, about 12 to 16 servings.

NOTE: An easy way to serve these buns is to snip the baked coil into pieces with a scissors, cutting off as large (or small) a portion as the recipient wants. Also, to make plain cinnamon buns, simply bypass the sugar, butter, etc. (the sticky bun part) in the bottom of the pan, and drizzle confectioners’ sugar icing over the finished buns.