Gooey Orange Sticky Buns

Today is New Year’s Eve, and instead of planning a healthy regime change in 2012 I am doing the opposite. I say: more bread. More dessert. More DIY sticky-icky. I’m bringing butter and eggs and gluten back.

I’m bringing the old bitch back.

And if that means my Twitter followers drop like flies, I say “good.”

To make these delicious buns, do this (yes, you have to actually read to see the recipe. if it hurts your brain too much then maybe you should stick to store-bought buns):

Dissolve 1.5 teaspoons of active dry yeast in 1.25 cups of warm milk. Use whole milk, because it’s not the dairy that makes any difference in how fat you are. Let it soak for about ten minutes, or until it gets foamy; add 1/3 cup sugar, an egg, two tablespoons of melted butter and four cups of flour. Mix it in your KitchenAid with the dough hook attachment for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough is as smooth and elastic as your skin was before you had kids. Put the bowl in a warm, draft-free spot covered with a bit of cling wrap (I spritz mine with a little oil so it doesn’t stick to the dough and keep it in the oven with the light on for warmth), and leave it alone for 1.5 hours or until it’s doubled in size.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling by combining a handful of chopped walnuts, a handful of raisins, about a half cup of packed brown sugar, a fat pinch of salt, the zest off an orange and a teaspoon of cinnamon (freshly-ground; have an imaginary conversation defending what may be construed as a totally ridiculous practice by reminding yourself that this cinnamon is way cheaper to buy in stick form, and tastes like nature’s Red Hots instead of saw dust). Make the glaze by juicing the orange whence the zest was derived; reduce in a small saucepan with a half stick of butter, a cup-ish of powdered sugar (I guess you could use honey), another pinch of salt and a splash of vanilla extract. Stir and simmer until it’s sticky like melted jam. I guess you could just use marmalade melted together with butter, come to think of it.

Punch the dough, deriving far too much pleasure from the simple act of aggression against the defenseless blob. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll it out to a rectangular sheet about 18″ x 10″. Sprinkle the nutty brown sugar mixture on top of the dough and spread it out evenly, then roll it up into a log. Cut it into 12 rolls. The easiest way to do it without measuring is to cut in half, then cut the halves in half, then cut those each into thirds. Nestle the rolls into a greased 9×13 baking pan (turn the end pieces cut side up) and sprinkle any fallen streuselly bits back on top. Tuck a little pat of butter (like a half teaspoon’s worth or so) onto each roll, cover the pan loosely with a dish towel and let the whole thing rise again for about 45 minutes at room temperature. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. I advise erring on the side of longer; even though it will seem like the tops are getting pretty brown, it’s mostly the butter and sugar doing that and you don’t want doughy interiors. Besides, the glaze will moisten things back up nicely. Drizzle it all over those buns and then just try not to sear your palate on them while you shovel them into your face.

Scott and I ate three before I even got to take any photos.

The thing is, this is real food. Yes, it’s white flour, but who gives a shit? It’s unbleached white flour from a local mill and it won’t kill you, even if you’ve decided that gluten gave you fibromyalgia or made your kid autistic or wasn’t what pre-human cave people ate so it must be poison.

It’s full of fat, but it’s recognizable fat that took only two steps to create: milk cow; shake cream. It’s good enough for billions of Indians (not renowned for fat asses) and it’s good enough for me.

It’s full of sugar, but it’s the least refined sugar you can get that’s not made from bee puke. It’s homemade sticky buns, for fuck’s sake, not Cinnabon. If we promise to only eat sweets we make ourselves, we’d all be the healthier for it.

Here’s to resolutions we can stick to.