Best Wishes for the New Year

January 1, 2008


May the new year be filled with health, joy and love for all of you. In the final days of 2007, I spent some time enjoying the January 2008 issue of Gourmet magazine. It’s a great issue and I was particularly moved by a posthumously-published essay by Edna Lewis. Lewis’ passionate words about food—southern food, specifically—were not only gorgeous and inspiring but also entirely resonant with me. It made me realize what an important role food played in 2007 for me.


My husband and I moved into a new home, where I feel I’ve finally made a kitchen my own (a truckload of kitchen-related wedding gifts has helped in this respect). I’ve fallen in love with several local markets—both farmer’s markets and more traditional groceries—and look forward to “visiting” them weekly. I had the pleasure of hosting my first holiday dinner for family. I’ve built a new tradition with my sister and my husband—a weekly family dinner. I threw a couple parties (like this one) featuring spreads that were a blast to plan and make and delicious to eat. And I baked a couple hundred cupcakes for our wedding in August.


And, of course, I launched this blog. It was something I wanted to do for a long time and I’m proud to have gotten up the courage (and overcome a slight fear of technology and cameras) to do it. But beyond being proud, I’m blown away by how much fun it has been. Knowing that I’ll be sharing each simple cup of soup, special triple layer cake and kitchen conquest with you has made every moment I’ve spent in the kitchen that much richer. One of my main goals (fine, resolution, if you must) for the new year is to continue to grow this blog and stretch myself. Lucky for me, it’s a resolution that I’m extremely excited about.


So, may your new year also be filled with new creations that inspire and challenge you, like this blog has done for me, and incredible passions, like southern food apparently was for Lewis.


And may it also be filled with delicious food and loved ones with whom to share it. These cinnamon rolls were both, for me. They lived up to Bon Appetit‘s adjective (ultimate) for them. And they were certainly special enough to ring in the new year. As was a great celebration last night, which we shared with one of Kevin’s sisters and her boyfriend. I hope they’re enjoying these sticky buns right now too. This recipe yields a really large number of rolls, so we sent a pan home with them last night, so they could bake them off this morning.

(Click “more” for more photos & recipe)

Ultimate Sticky Buns
Bon Appetit

1 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)*
4 teaspoons dry yeast
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup dry nonfat milk powder*
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
4 1/4 cups (or more) all purpose flour

1 1/4 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup water
2 cups pecan halves

4 teaspoons sugar**
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon**

For Dough:
Mix 1/4 cup warm water, yeast, and pinch of sugar in small bowl. Let stand until foamy, about 8 minutes. Using electric mixer, beat remaining sugar, butter, milk powder, and salt in large bowl until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Mix in remaining 3/4 cup warm water and yeast mixture, then 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time. Using rubber spatula, mix in 1 cup flour, scraping down sides of bowl frequently (dough will be soft and sticky). Sprinkle 1/4 cup flour onto work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes.Butter another large bowl. Add dough; turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise in warm area until doubled, about 2 1/2 hours.

For Glaze:
Butter two 10-inch round cake pans with 2-inch high sides. Beat brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, honey, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in medium bowl to blend. Spread half of glaze in bottom of each prepared pan. Sprinkle 1 cup pecans over each.

cinnrolls1.jpegPunch down dough. Divide dough in half. Roll each dough piece out on floured work surface to 12×9-inch rectangle. Brush any excess flour off dough. Spread remaining butter over dough rectangles, dividing equally. Mix 4 teaspoons sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over rectangles. Starting at 1 long side, tightly roll up each rectangle into log. Cut each log into 12 rounds. Place 12 rounds, cut side down, in each prepared pan, spacing evenly. Cover with plastic wrap. (Can be made 1 day ahead; refrigerate.) Let buns rise in warm area until almost doubled, about 1 hour (or 1 hour 25 minutes if refrigerated).
Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake buns until deep golden brown, about 30 minutes. Run small knife around pan sides to loosen sticky buns. Turn hot buns out onto platter. Cool about 30 minutes and serve.
* I substituted skim milk for the water and milk powder.
** I doubled the sugar and cinnamon for the filling.




4 Responses to “Best Wishes for the New Year”

  1. JEP Says:

    My food goal for 2008 is to (successfully) make sticky pecan cinnamon rolls! I have a long history of yeast bread failures 😦 Thanks for inspiration & recipe!

  2. ourkitchensink Says:

    JEP: Good luck! You’ll have to let me know how it goes. Happy New Year!

  3. Karina Says:

    I’m looking forward to watching your blog grow over the next year. Your writing and photography are wonderful and you are fast becoming one of my favorites!

  4. ourkitchensink Says:

    Karina: Wow. Thank you so much. Happy New Year!

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