Croissant Caramel Sticky Buns

INGREDIENTS:

Dough
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 T Rapid Rise yeast
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk, cold
  • 2 T unsalted butter, softened, but cool
  • 2 ½  sticks butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces, cold
  • 2 T unbleached all-purpose flour
Filling
  • 1  cups light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
Caramel Topping
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon water
  • 1 cup lightly roasted chopped pecans

METHOD:

The Dough
  1. Whisk 2¾ cups flour together with the yeast, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.  Place the milk in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Add the flour mixture and kneed at low speed until a ball of dough forms.  Cut the 2 T butter into small pieces and add to the dough.
  2. Continue to knead until the butter becomes fully incorporated and the dough becomes smooth, begins to form a ball, and clears the sides of the bowl.  Add up to ¼ cup more flour, one tablespoon at a time if the dough is too sticky.  Place dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour.
  3. Toss together the 2 T flour and the 2½ -sticks-worth of butter pieces on a clean work surface.  Use a bench scraper to smear the butter and flour into a smooth, but still cold mixture.  Wrap the butter in a large piece of plastic wrap and form it into an even 7-inch square.  Place in the refrigerator until firm.
  4. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface.  Roll dough into an 11-inch square.   Place the chilled butter square diagonally onto the dough.  Fold the corners of the dough over the butter square so that they meet in the middle and pinch the dough to seal the edges.
  5. Using a rolling pin, gently whack the dough, starting at the center of the dough and go outward, until the square becomes larger and the butter begins to soften.  Then gently roll the dough into a 14-inch square.  Make sure that the butter doesn’t break through.  If it does, sprinkle with flour.  Fold the square into thirds to form a long rectangle.  Starting from the narrow ends, fold the rectangle into thirds again to form a square.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  6. Remove dough from refrigerator, gently whack and roll again to a14-inch square.  As in step four, fold dough into thirds and then fold one last time so you have a square again.  Wrap and refrigerate again for at least 2 hours.
Filling and Topping
  1. Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt with a fork and set aside.
  2. Spray three 12 cup muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Melt the sticks of butter for the topping in a medium saucepan.  Add brown sugar, water, and pecans.  Mix well and bring to a boil.   Boil for one minute only.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Forming  & Baking the Rolls
  1. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll into a rough 18” x 18” square about ¼”, or a little less, thick.  Evenly spread the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture over the surface of the rectangle.   Cut square in half, forming two equal rectangles.  Roll each rectangle into a long log.  Gently pinch the seams to seal.
  2. Place about 2 tablespoons of caramel mixture in the bottom of the cups of two muffin tins, plus 8 more cups in another muffin tin.
  3. Preheat oven to 205°.  Once oven is heated, place a large sheet of aluminum foil on the baking rack and then place 1 or 2 muffin pans on top of the foil (the foil should catch any caramel overflow).  Bake for 10-12  minutes, or until caramel is bubbling and buns are well browned.  If buns seem to be getting brown too fast, loosely cover with aluminum foil and bake until done.11.  Measure and mark 1” segments of the log and then slice with a very sharp knife. Gently place rolls on top of caramel mixture in the muffin cups.  Cover pans loosely with plastic wrap and set to rise in a relatively cool place until puffy, about 1 hour.
  4. Remove pans from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Invert onto serving plates and redistribute nuts and caramel if necessary.  Allow to cool at least 10-15 minutes before serving.
Makes 32 sticky buns.
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