Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Midweek Roundup: Buns in the Oven

Photo by Monica
Sweetbites Blog

That picture pretty much says it all, doesn't it?  If you've been following our progress, you know that the Alpha Bakers are a pretty strong-willed bunch with strongly held opinions, but this soft caramel bun melted the hearts of the most irascible bakers.  As Raymond asked rhetorically, "Is there anyone who doesn't like sticky buns?"

Patricia called them "scrumptiously sticky."  Vicki announced to Pillsbury that they'd "just lost a customer," and said that none of her tasters could "believe the caramel."  Nancy called them "heaven on a plate," and Catherine advised that "if you were in a cinnamon bun contest, these are the ones you'd wheel out to win."  Jen said they were the "best version of a sticky bun" she has ever tasted.  Monica, who wasn't going to make them, but got out of her sick bed when she heard the advance raves, liked them--they were "soft, gooey, and sticky"--but she would love to be able to figure out how to make them in just one day.  Milagritos's debut blog described "the softest, most enticing caramel rolls I've ever had the pleasure to bake."

And not only were they good to eat, they were fun to make.  Tony said he was "simply in heaven" making these; he loved working with the delicate, airy dough.  Kim called the dough "silky smooth and cooperative."  (She enjoyed making the rolls so much she almost forgot she was dieting and couldn't eat a whole pan-full).  Katya was very fond of the dental floss cutting trick, which she described as "weirdly satisfying," and a definite exception to her firm rule against flossing in public.  

To be sure, there were some nits to be picked, but most of these were matters of personal taste.  

Some people were worried that these rolls would be over the top--too sweet, too rich, too too.  In fact, Orin could not bring herself to eat the caramel because of all the sugar, although she noticed that other people must have been fond of it since the rolls with caramel had magically disappeared.  But maybe Orin will relent after she reads Faithy's post.  Faithy was afraid these caramel rolls would be "icky sweet," but felt as if she would "not be doing her homework" if she passed them by (Faithy was obviously an obedient little girl), and was glad she did because they're "SOOO GOOD!!"  Take note, Orin.  They're good enough to warrant all caps and two exclamation marks.

And while most people liked the brioche--even Raymond, who confessed to having a "former aversion" to it"--Patricia was "not crazy" about the brioche base.

There were also raisin fans and raisin foes.  Jenn thought the "fantastic rum raisins" really added to the taste.  Jen said she would add more raisins next time even thought she "generally hates raisins."  But Nancy thought the raisins were a "no value-added distraction."  And Michele, who described the rolls as "obscenely delicious," wasn't taking sides:  much as she liked the filling with raisins, she also thought it would be great raisinless but with more pecans.

Of course, the caramel, which  Lois described as "fantastic," was the star of the show.  But not everyone's turned out quite the same.  Jenn said hers was more like toffee than caramel, and she refused to be responsible for any dental damage.  But Kristina would have liked it better if her caramel had hardened more.

Spouses seemed to play a larger and more enthusiastic role in the caramel roll blogs than in most others.  For example, Lois's husband was eating the last roll on the plate, Lois "grabbed a spoon and scooped up some of the caramel that had dropped onto the platter...."  Her husband told her that the caramel went with his bun and was rightfully hers.  And Hanaa made the caramel rolls as an anniversary treat for her husband.  When she told him she wasn't entirely happy with the way the caramel turned out, he told her, "Sounds like you've lost your touch." To prove this was not the case, Hanaa ran back out in the kitchen and made a second batch of caramel that was "super awesome and delicious."   Guess she showed him!

Next week is the Sour Cherry Pie with the mysterious and elusive cherries.  If you start looking right now, you may be able to find the cherry concentrate, which Rose says is a wonderful flavor booster. On the other hand, it's optional.

Judy and Maggie were no longer able to commit to the weekly baking project, but we hope they'll still follow the progress of the Alpha Bakers.  Judy will continue working on her wonderful and informative wine postings on her Outside the Bottle website.  Maggie may be able to occasionally bake along; you can look for her posts on her Simply Delicious blog.  We'll miss these talented bakers and bloggers.

Please welcome Milagritos Pan, who came off her spot on the waiting list to fill in, with her Custard Guts blog.  Must ask her about that name sometime.


  1. Enjoyable read, once again. Exactly the photo I would have picked this week. Still thinking about that yummy caramel sauce. It was so good!

  2. Congrats Monica! That was a real good photo!! Great write-up Marie :) Always fun to read.

  3. I was totally thinking Monica's photo would be the featured one. Congrats chica!!! Great write up Marie. I am looking forward to the sour cherry pie - even though mine would be made with just regular cherries.

  4. LOVE reading your write up Marie!!! :D lol... Monica's photo is awesome..reminds me of how yummy the caramel buns were once again...

  5. Actually, I am looking forward to the strawberry shortcake genoise! :D

  6. Marie, you picked the winning picture this week. Monica's shot told the whole story. Really good photo! Thank you once again,Marie. Your summaries are so well done.

  7. Congrat's Monica! This is an amazing photo! Welcome Milagritos Pan. Happy baking.

  8. Great roundup, Marie! Congratulations to Monica on the terrific photo!! I wish I had one of those sticky buns right now....So glad to welcome our new bakers.

  9. As you guys can see, I been totally out of the loop! Thank you all for the congrats.. feel pretty good:) Welcome Milagritos.. (Marie, in spanish her name means little miracle). As always great round up.. I can always count on missing SOMEONE when I read these. :)

  10. ב''ה


    1. Sorry, Mendy--I don't know how I missed it!

  11. Great round up Marie! Fantastic photo Monica - congratulations!

    I have been baking (and last week the wrong Brioche end recipe - Monkey Dunky is fantastic. Weirdly I was a bit annoyed at making the monkey dunky because I would have preferred to make the Sticky Buns...). I need to get blogging!

    These may be on the menu this weekend as well as the sour cherry pie...

  12. great write-up, Marie! I love the idea that these buns melted the hearts of even the most irascible among us.