I parted my hair differently just to see what I’d look like and I spotted a gray hair. Way to ruin a morning. I gasped, took a closer look and it was, indeed a gray hair – smack dab in the middle of my cool spiky-ish hair part for all to gawk at. And point…And laugh. Then I took a closer look and noticed lines on my face that weren’t there just a few months before.
It looks like time is indeed marching its way through my face and hair. I’m not going to tell you how I ran to Lancôme and depleted their wrinkle cream supply. Nope. Not gonna tell you that… Uh-uh. I’m also not going to tell you how I’ve been frantically hoping scientists figure out a way to reverse this whole aging process. I’m not going to tell you it’s kept me up some nights. Nope. It’s embarrassing. Not going to tell you that 34 is oh, just around the corner for me. Nope…
I’m not sure how I’m taking this whole aging thing. I spent a great many years looking pre-pubescent and now I resemble a California raisin.
Oh, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. Perhaps it’s all in my mind. Perhaps I need to stop worrying about it, thank the universe my hands aren’t arthritic and just bake something.
Ok, that’s what I’ll do…
I swear Fine Cooking is stalking me – Or reading my thoughts. There’s no other explanation. Whenever I have a certain thought about a certain something, be it an ingredient or a food, their e-letter pops in my inbox. Seriously, it’s creepy…
I was wondering what to do with my overripe bananas. I buy entirely too many bananas. I forget and buy a bunch almost every time I go to the supermarket. People are starting to stare. As I was giving thought to my banana dilemma, PING – Fine Cooking E-letter! I open it and they are featuring none other than banana sticky buns. Wait, no – Banana sticky buns with pecans.
Bananas are incorporated into yeasted dough and allowed to rise for a bit; much like a bread starter.
The remaining flour is added, a little arm action happens (you know, kneading). The dough rises, yada, yada, yada. You press it down and roll it to a rectangle. You spread yummy butter and sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg and pecans on this bad boy.
I haven’t told you about the best part yet. There’s a caramel sauce. Yes, there is – Infused with none other than bananas. How’s that for mouth watering goodness?
There’s a downside, though. Well… It all depends on how you look at it.
These buns are called Overnight Banana sticky buns. Which means once you’ve rolled, cut and placed your buns on top of a caramel and pecan-filled muffin pan… You must wrap them up and leave them in the fridge overnight. It’s a crime, I know… See… I refused. I thought 2 hours was too much to wait let alone 24 – So I did this: I used 2 6-cup muffin pans. One went straight to the oven and one went in the fridge. Yea, I’m a rebel. Don’t mess with me.
These sticky buns were everything a chick can ever hope for. They’re sticky, sweet, gooey, and in addition to kick-ass flavor, the bananas makes these buns soft, but in a good way. Total souped up sticky bun. They’re like a car with hot rims… I want to marry these. There’s some serious banana lovin’, here. And the next day (actually night) when the second batch came out of the oven? I told the first batch it was over and told the second batch I wanted to have its babies.
You need to get on this – And I need to take an ad out on Craigslist. I’m sure someone has the fountain of youth in their living room. I need work out a sip. In the meantime, I’ll keep my hair parted in a way that hides the gray, not enhances it.
Recipe: Banana Pecan Sticky Buns
Adapted from: Fine Cooking’s Overnight Banana Sticky Buns With Pecans.
For the dough:
- 1lb (3-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour (more if needed)
- 1/4-oz. package (2 1/4 tsp) fast-rising (instant) yeast
- 1/2 cup very warm milk (about 115°F)
- 3/4 cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 medium)
- 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted; softened butter for the bowl
- 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1-1/4 tsp. table salt
For the filling:
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter; very soft
- 1/2 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1-3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
For the caramel-pecan sauce:
- 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter; more softened for the pan
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 large ripe banana, coarsely chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Generous pinch table salt
- 1 cup pecan halves
Make the dough
- In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour with the yeast. Stir in the warm milk until combined. Cover the bowl and let sit in a warm spot in the kitchen for 30 minutes.
This is what the dough will look like after 30 minutes.
- Stir the banana, melted butter, sugar, egg, and salt into the yeast mixture until well combined. Stir in all but 1/4 cup of the remaining flour to make stiff, shaggy dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Dump the remaining ¼ cup of flour on the counter next to (but away from) the dough you are about to knead. Begin to knead folding the dough over onto itself. As needed, dust your hands lightly with flour and continue to knead the dough. If the dough sticks, use a dough scraper to pick up the sticky bits and place them back in the dough.
- Continue to knead until the dough becomes smooth and easy to handle, 7 to 10 minutes. The dough should feel slightly sticky.
- Place the dough in a lightly buttered medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 40 to 50 minutes.
For the rolls
- Combine the chopped pecans, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a rectangle. Roll out into a 16×11-inch rectangle.
- With a small offset spatula, spread the softened butter evenly over the dough to within 1/8 inch of the edge. Sprinkle the pecan/spice/sugar mixture over the butter.
- Roll up the dough lengthwise, starting from a long edge, and pinch the seam to seal. Turn the log so that it’s seam side down. Trim off and discard 1/2 inch from each end; then cut the log into twelve even(ish) pieces.
- Cover with plastic wrap.
Make the caramel-pecan sauce
- Generously butter a 12-cup muffin pan or 2 large 6-cup muffin pans. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar and 1/4 cup warm water and stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Insert a candy thermometer and bring the syrup to a boil and cook, without stirring, until it begins to caramelize.
- Once the syrup has turned an amber color (candy thermometer should register 320 degrees), remove pan from the heat and carefully stir in the banana and cold butter. Stand back!
- Stir in the heavy cream, vanilla and salt. Returning the pan to very low heat, stir the sauce until the heavy cream is completely combined and sauce is a uniform color.
- Strain the sauce into a small bowl, pressing on the banana pieces to extract more of that yummy banana goodness. Discard the banana pieces and cool the caramel for about about 15 minutes. The caramel should feel warm to the touch.
- Drizzle about 1-1/2 Tbs. of caramel into each muffin cup. Reserve the extra sauce at room temperature. Sprinkle the pecans evenly among the cups.
- **Place the bun pieces over the sauce and nuts, cut sides down. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
To bake the sticky buns
- Remove the pan from the refrigerator and let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled, 1 hour.
- Position racks in the center and lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
- Bake until the tops and edges of the buns are browned, 20 to 22 minutes.
- Immediately invert the pan onto a baking sheet, replacing any pecans that fell and let cool for 10 minutes.
- Reheat the reserved caramel sauce and serve the buns drizzled with the sauce. Enjoy!
**I couldn’t stand leaving these in the fridge overnight, so I baked one 6-cup muffin pan right away and placed the other pan in the fridge overnight. Though the buns I baked right away were indeed delicious, I would definitely recommend the overnight fridge sleepover. The banana flavor was much more pronounced the next day. Your choice, but I’m not sure anyone can wait 24 hours for banana sticky buns!
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