My six year old granddaughter, Reagan, looked at me Friday night at our weekly family dinner and said, “Pop Pop, what’s your favorite food”? It didn’t take me long to answer her question: “Nanny’s sticky cinnamon buns with pecans on top”! Ahh nuts…..those delicious pecans! For those of you who have ever traipsed through an airport and inhaled the irresistible aroma of Cinnabons ® baking (they should be outlawed as an addictive substance) you have a sense of what my wife’s sticky buns smell like but not what they taste like; for that you have to butter up a warm one and pop it into your mouth yourself……indescribably delicious!
My wife has been making these sticky buns for almost 30 years. I started thinking about how this process has evolved after Reagan’s questionFriday night. It used to be that my wife did this all by herself; if fact, she used to get up early on Sunday mornings before church to knead dough and bake these buns for our breakfast as well as about five loaves of bread for the entire week. But recently it’s evolved into a team process: Mom and I would collect the pecans (we only have about six trees of our own but that’s usually enough to a provide for a whole year), mom would crack and shell them, I’d make the dough using a combination of fresh ground whole wheat and bread flour and Bess does the rest of the magic until that aroma starts wafting out of the oven. I’ll point you to the recipe at the end of the column.
But as we seniors know, nothing stays the same for long does it? The biggest change in this equation has been mom’s passing back in the fall; now I have to gather and crack the nuts by myself…..Aw nuts! (Please don’t think me irreverent toward mom; I loved and respected her for the 48 years we knew each other and especially this past year while she lived with us on the farm. Her zest for life, and especially great food was unquenchable. We miss her in so many ways, not just because she’s not there to shell the nuts anymore!
While we only have a half dozen pecan trees (my pecan-farming neighbors are probably laughing as they read this after harvesting their thousands of trees), we do have a rather unique chestnut orchard with about 60 trees that my predecessor planted, I believe mostly to attract deer. That orchard is planted in the middle of the woods near the deer stand my son uses; so far he’s harvested 2-3 deer each year since we’ve been here at the farm. Ahh nuts…..chestnut-flavored venison that is!
Well back to the sticky pecan buns. I’ll have my daughter-in-law post up the recipe on our Face book page, www.facebook.com/VisitingAngelsMacon. The only problem with all this salivating over sticky buns is that I can’t have them now on my diet which is my way of leading into my report for the week: Started Jan 1 at 172.0; weighed in this morning at 170.2, a loss of 1.8# for the week. This is not a weighing fluke; I’ve been monitoring a steady downward trend each day weighing at exactly the same time on the same scale wearing the same PJ’s. So it looks like we have another 7-8 weeks to go to get to the goal of 155#.
And when I do, I’m going to celebrate with a big helping of sticky cinnamon pecan buns…..Ahh nuts!
Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..See you next week!
Pecan Sticky Buns from Mary Beth Milby’s Kitchen
1 1/3 cups water
1/3 cup honey
2 Tbsp oil
3/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp yeast
3 cups bread flour (50% fresh-ground whole wheat flour is better if available)
Combine above ingredients in a mixer with a dough hook and mix thoroughly until fully kneaded then remove from mixer and let rise to twice the size.
Cut the dough in half and roll each half into a rectangle approximately 11×14 inches. Brush both with melted butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and spread about ½ cup of plumped raisons on each. Roll both pieces into 14” lengths of dough . Cut each into eight buns with French knife, place flat side down, cover with towel and let rest.
Spray two 8” round pans then cover the bottoms with pecan halves in concentric circles. Melt a full stick of butter in a small bowl , add 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1 Tbsp Karo syrup and constantly stir while just bringing to a boil. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp vanilla. Pour over and cover the pecans.
Arrange the buns 7 around perimeter of each pan with the largest bun in the center of each pan. Bake at 325 F for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Remove the pans and cover each with a plate. Turn the pans over for a few minutes before carefully removing the pans from the buns.
Enjoy them warm with generous amounts of butter!
Now you know why I can’t have them while on a diet!!!
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