I started watching The Great British Baking Show Masterclass, last week, and thought I’d give culinary therapy a try. Possibly because Paul Hollywood is dead sexy. Laying that aside, for my first attempt, I went with sticky buns, because I’ve made them before, so knew basically what to do, I just needed a recipe for the yeast dough. I bought a few supplies, like a pan with a cover (because I’ve got to take these experiments to work so that someone besides me is getting the bulk of the calories) and fresh flour. I also put a few baking things on my Amazon wishlist, because Solstice is coming, and kitchen gadgets are relatively cheap, but extremely useful gifts.
I spent three days planning for the bake, which seems like overkill, but that’s part of the issue – getting myself to do things that I want to do but can’t seem to get motivated for. I wanted to do it on Sunday, because I’d ordered a box of fancy sugar from Amazon, the really dark, dark brown Muscovado that makes things extra delicious, and it wouldn’t be delivered until then. So, for two days, I collected supplies and dithered about whether I should really do it. Like it was a big deal. Sometimes, I’m an idiot.
By Sunday, though, I was excited about it. The sugar arrived, in it’s cool jar (which was half the reason I bought it) and…I couldn’t get it open. I tried the knife strike technique, the hot water technique, I used the special jar opening thingies. I took it next door, to George, and asked him to help. No go. It’s like the lid had been applied with NASA-grade adhesive. George suggested using scissors to cut the jar (plastic) open, and that’s what I ended up doing. The sugar now lives in a half-gallon Mason jar, and the pretty one it came in is consigned to the dustbin.
I mixed up the dough and set a timer for 5 minutes of kneading. I wasn’t looking forward to this part, as kneading looks like hard work. I actually enjoyed it quite a lot. I’m going to look for something that requires more of that, next time. The dough rose beautifully, and rolled out easily. Sugar and cinnamon, roll it up into a spiral and cut. Butter, parchment, more butter, pecans, Muscovado, WAY more butter, then the swirled rounds of dough on top. More rising, then into the oven for 25 minutes. The cat was not pleased with this, as every time he’d get settled in, I’d hop up to do the next step in the process.
For next time, I’d like to find a way to make the sticky caramel slightly less sticky, and slightly more…creamy isn’t exactly the right word. It was more like candy-coated pecans on top of cinnamon rolls, rather than a caramel syrup with pecans dripping off cinnamon rolls. A subtle difference. Basically, I wanted the caramel to be more liquidy than it turned out to be.
Objective achieved, though! I made the buns, and they turned out delicious, and I gave two to George for his help, and brought seven to work for my coworkers (an myself), so I ended up eating only four of the twelve I made, which seems a fair distribution of calories. I did something other than read (or watch TV), something “outside of my head” that involved doing something in the present and requiring attention to details. It was semi-social, in that I shared the bounty with others.
An overall positive experience.