Thursday, July 5, 2012

Boozy Lavender Sticky Buns

Cinnamon rolls are a classic recipes that it just seems wrong to tinker with.

But if these buns are wrong, let me never be right again.
The notion for these little bunzies came from a book published by my mama.  For nearly 30 years, Mom has brought beautiful books into the world.  My parents began their publishing company in the garage of our home in Bryan, Texas back in the early 1980s.  Get this:  in order to be able to buy their first computer, an Apple IIe, they had to sell my dad's AIRPLANE because the computer was so expensive.  Isn't that something?! Our family moved to the Texas Hill Country in 1985 and my parents grew their business, publishing mostly regional guidebooks, road atlases, gardening books, and cookbooks.  When Daddy died in 1996, Mom kept the business running, despite the new huge responsibility of raising three grieving kids alone.  She's recently started a completely new endeavor, which I'll share with you soon.  I'm pretty darn proud of my mom. 

Texas Hill CountryThis recipe is adapted from one of her books called, "The Texas Hill Country:  A Food and Wine Lover's Paradise."  I'd like to mail two of you this cookbook.  My first giveaway.  If you'd like a chance to win a copy, please leave a comment between now and next Wednesday, July 11th, to boost my fragile ego.  I will do the random selection thingy and mail a copy of the book to two folks.  Actually, I'd love to send the winners on a trip to the Hill Country and put them up in a bed and breakfast for a week and send them to many of the restaurants featured in the cookbook.  But I'm no Pioneer Woman...yet.  (Like my optimism?)

(Later this year, I'll be hosting a blogging book tour for different cookbook published by Mom called "A Family Farm in Tuscany: Recipes and Stories from Fattoria Poggio Alloro".  It'll have you setting up a lemonade stand to raise some dough to make a trip to the farm in Tuscany.) 

Now back to the buns. 

We'll sneak lavender into the bun's filling by grinding some dried blooms with cinnamon and sugar.   

Culinary lavender is the clincher here.  Or use organic, dried lavender blooms.

 We'll start with this, 

and process it until it looks like this.
(This smells incredible.)

Now we'll make the glaze.

When measuring sticky liquids like honey, molasses, agave nectar, or corn syrup, grease your measuring cup first, and the liquid will slide right out.  

We'll need two cups of Karo. 

(I didn't have enough of the light syrup, so I made up the difference with dark Karo syrup.  I loved it, and I think I'd do it like this next time, too.)

Now, add 2-3 tablespoons of rum.  I did not like the way the glaze tasted after I added the rum.  I thought it should be optional (which it can be, of course) or not be used at all.  But I LOVED the way it tasted after the buns had baked in it.  Oh my.  So good.  I don't recommend skipping it.

Add melted butter and some vanilla extract.

And whisk away, my friends.

I used the never-fail cinnamon roll dough recipe from The Pioneer Woman. 

Roll the dough into a large rectangle, smooth on some softened butter,

sprinkle with the lavender-sugar mixture, and roll it up.
FYI - I rolled the dough THE WRONG WAY.  You'll get a lot more buns, hon, if you roll it beginning at the long end.

Drizzle some glaze in a greased baking dish and sprinkle with brown sugar.  (The glaze won't look like turkey gravy if you use only the light corn syrup.) 

Gently "saw" the dough roll into 1-inch thick slices with a serrated knife,

drizzle on more glaze and sprinkle with more brown sugar. 
Cover lightly with a clean tea towel, and let rise for 20-30 minutes.

Bake for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees....JUST until the edges begin to brown. 

When you remove a bun, you'll find it anchored in this delicious sea of rummy sweetness. 

Boozy enough to accentuate the lavender flavor, but not enough to intoxicate small children. 

It's the aroma-therapeutic way to start the day.
(Please read through the entire recipe before you begin to prepare the's not difficult, but you do have to split some of the ingredients per pan, so you'll want to get a birds-eye-view first to avoid any pitfalls.)

I've included an icing recipe here; I will absolutely use it next time I make these rolls.  Because with the excessive amounts of butter and sugar already in this recipe, at this point, what difference will a little more make?

Here's the printable recipe.

Boozy Lavender Sticky Buns
25-30 servings

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 package (2 and 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
4 cups (plus 1/2 cup extra, separated) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon (heaping) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (with a pinch removed) baking soda
3 teaspoons salt

1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons culinary lavender
1 stick unsalted butter, softened

2 cups light corn syrup (substitute with dark corn syrup, if desired)
2-3 tablespoons rum (optional)
1.5 sticks (12 tablespoons) melted butter
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2.5 cups brown sugar

Lavender-Vanilla Icing: (optional)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons culinary lavender
2 teaspoons granulated sugar

To prepare the dough:  Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a large pot (I used a Dutch oven). Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool 45 minutes to 1 hour. (Refrigerate it to reduce the temperature more quickly; just pay attention and be sure to not let the mixture cool below 105 degrees F.) When the mixture is lukewarm to warm (105-115 degrees F), but NOT hot, sprinkle in the yeast. Let it sit for a few minutes and then add 4 cups of the flour. Stir with a sturdy wooden spoon. Cover and let the dough rise for at least an hour.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, and the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  After the hour has passed for the dough to rise, stir the flour-salt mixture into the dough mixture; use a sturdy wooden spoon for best results.   (At this point, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two, if necessary. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, punch it down).

To prepare the filling: While the dough is rising, prepare the filling by combing all filling ingredients (except the softened butter) in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for about 2 minutes.  (Inhale the lovely fragrance!!)  Pour the mixture into a small bowl and set aside.

To prepare the glaze:  Combine the corn syrup, rum, melted butter, and vanilla extract and whisk together in a large, greased measuring cup. Set aside.  (You can microwave the glaze for 20-30 seconds if the butter begins to harden before you're ready to use the glaze.)

To prepare the icing:  Grind the culinary lavender with the granulated sugar in a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  (If you don't mind the icing having a cinnamon flavor, save yourself a step and borrow a couple of teaspoons of the lavender/sugar/cinnamon mixture from the filling mixture.)  In a large bowl, mix together the lavender/sugar mixture, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, milk, melted butter, and salt.  Whisk until smooth.  It should be thick yet pourable.  Taste and adjust if needed.  Add more powdered sugar to thicken or more milk to thin. 

When you're ready to prepare the rolls:  Grease two 9x13 pans* with butter, and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit in the bottom of the pan (makes for easy clean-up).  Pour about 3/4 cup of the glaze into the bottom of each pan (the remaining glaze will be drizzled on top of the rolls when they are in the pan, so set it aside for now).  Sprinkle 1 cup of the brown sugar on top of the glaze in each pan (1 cup per pan).  Set pans aside.

Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  On a floured work surface, roll out one piece of the dough into a large rectangle, with the long edge of the rectangle facing you (so the short edges of the rectangle will be to your right and left).  The rectangle should be about 1/4-inch thick. (You may have to lightly sprinkle the surface of the dough with flour to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin.)

Spread half of the stick of softened butter (about 4 tablespoons) on the rectangle.  Then sprinkle the lavender-cinnamon filling over the butter.  Beginning at the long edge, roll the dough in a neat roll toward you, keeping the roll relatively tight as you go.  Pinch the edge of the seam to the roll in order to seal it.

Repeat the process with the second half of the dough.

When you have two "logs" of rolls, use a serrated knife and gently "saw" through the dough, cutting each roll about 1-inch thick.  Set the cut rolls into the prepared pans.

Drizzle about 1/4 cup of the remaining glaze over the rolls in each pan and then sprinkle about 1/4 cup of the remaining brown sugar over the top glaze in each pan.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cover the pans of rolls with clean tea towels and let rise for about 20-30 minutes.  

Bake the rolls for 15-18 minute JUST until edges begin to brown.

Generously pour the Lavender-Vanilla icing over rolls as soon as they are removed from the oven. 

Serve warm or at room temperature.  Well-covered, these buns freeze well for up to a month. 

*You can also use several smaller pie plates instead of 9x13 pans; divide up the glaze and the brown sugar sprinkling evenly among the baking dishes.

Glaze/brown sugar breakdown per 9"x13" pan:
BOTTOM OF PAN, before you add the rolls:  Pour about 3/4 cup glaze in the bottom of each pan; sprinkle 1 cup brown sugar on top of the glaze in each pan.
TOP OF EACH PAN, after the rolls have been placed in the pan: drizzle 1/4 cup glaze on top of rolls in each pan; sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar on top of each pan of rolls.

Filling recipe from The Texas Hill Country:  A Food and Wine Lover's Paradise
Recipe for The Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls.


Casey Morris said...

These look delicious! Also, so excited to pin something from someone I actually know! So proud of you! xoxo

Mary said...

These look sooooooo delicious!! I love baking cinnamon rolls. I am so trying this recipe soon! Bring on the cool weather!