When I was growing up, I lived on a farm and relied on the school bus to take me to school. Most of my friends did too, with only a small handful of kids being close enough to walk. So when there was a big snowfall, school was often cancelled.
Until this winter, my kids had never experienced a snow day. We live a block from the elementary school, and even my high schooler commutes easily by city bus. They used to listen enviously while I regaled them with the story of missing school for a week one March when we were completely without electricity. (Having lived through it, I assure them it wasn’t all that great. Fun at first, by the end it was pretty boring. And really cold.)
This week, thanks to overexcited media reports, the school board elected to cancel all classes for the day. And of course the much-hyped storm turned out to be not much at all. But having heard those overexcited media reports all of the previous day, I had bought baking supplies in case we couldn’t get out.
Both girls ended up seeing their friends, but there was time for baking, too. We made a batch of Chocolate Chip Orange muffins for our super-nice neighbours, the Goodwins, who shoveled our drive for us. No we’re not shut-ins and we haven’t broken our arms. They’re just super-nice.
We made these sticky buns for ourselves. This is a dangerously easy recipe for the most amazing cinnamon buns you’ll ever eat. With a base of frozen puff pastry, you can whip them up in about ten minutes. I only make a half-batch of these at a time, because to have twelve sticky buns in my house would be to invite trouble. It’s a great reason to keep puff pastry in the freezer, because you never know when the next snow day will come.
(adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)
This recipe makes a full batch. I generally cut it in half to make six buns.
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped in large pieces
1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
For the filling:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
In an electric mixer, beat the 12 Tbsp butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Divide evenly between the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecan pieces evenly on top.
Lightly flour a wooden board. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry and brush it with 1 Tbsp melted butter. Leaving a 1/2 inch border, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp of the cinnamon and 1/2 cup of the raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling. Slice the roll in six equal pieces. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.
Bake for 22 – 25 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden on top and firm to the touch. Allow to cool for five minutes ONLY, then invert the buns onto the parchment paper, easing the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon. Cool completely.