Sticky buns. They bring to mind the people who have stuck by me in my life. My husband and my two children are the people who love me, care for me and will always be by my side. I am an incredibly lucky individual to be surrounded by such beautiful souls and unconditional, constant love. Always count on, and express gratitude towards, the people who have loved and supported you. Do not trouble your thoughts with those who have not. It’s the special, kind people who make your life beautiful – and allow you to wake up to each day with a big smile and warm heart. My mother passed away yesterday. I did not know her well, but I feel a profound sense of loss and sadness. I find myself baking early in the morning and often. There is something incredibly comforting about being one with the kitchen. I can’t really explain why, but everything makes more sense when I am whisking. Of course, the smells of a a hot oven, filled with rising goodies, are equally reassuring and heart warming. My mother was a brilliant and vibrant woman. Her life ended far too early and sadly. She died of esophageal cancer at the age of 64. Though she is gone, she made her genetic imprint on the world. She passed on her DNA to me, her daughter, and my children, her two grandchildren. Her passing reminds me of how fortunate I am to have my small but mighty family, who stick by me, and who I love more with each passing day. It also reinforces how short and precious life is. I hope to do more with my life tomorrow than I did today. I aspire to treasure the gorgeous gift life is: both my own life and the lives of my treasured family. The sticky buns are a crowd pleaser. Everyone in our little family enjoyed them, especially Littlest Guy and Snu Magoo! These Light Sweet Potato Streusel Buns are whole grain, reduced sugar and low in fat. There is no sacrifice in flavor, texture or taste. They will win your heart (and your stomach). The buns are incredibly moist and perfectly “sticky.” The spices in the streusel are warm and comforting, reminding me of the smell of a winter morning. Some buns are overly buttery or sweet, but these are just right (this description brings to mind the porridge in Goldilocks and the Three Little Bears: “Just Right!”). When I reheat the gooey treat the next day in the oven, I like to add a pat of butter or Earth Balance and a drizzle of pure maple syrup. It takes the warm pastry to new heights. This week, I received a gift of goat butter from a dear friend. It was the perfect addition to a “morning after” bun.
The buns are easy to make, though they do require a bit of love and tender care. Make them the night before breakfast and bake-off in the morning. Simply allow the pan to come to room temperature while the oven preheats. Or, start the process on a lazy weekend morning, and they will be ready in time for brunch.
Sweet Potato Spiced Streusel Buns (Lactose-Free, Whole Grain)
Adapted from a recipe at Cooking Light
Ingredients for buns:
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 2 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour, divided, plus more, for flouring your work surface
- 1/2 cup sweet potato purée
- 1/2 cup 1% organic, lactose-free low-fat milk
- 1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery sticks or butter, melted
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons fine salt
- 1/4 teaspoon each: ground nutmeg and ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Cooking spray
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Ingredients for glaze:
- 2 Tablespoons chilled butter, cut into very small pieces
- 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon hot water
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
- a pinch of cinnamon, 1/8th to 1/4th teaspoon, to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped, roasted pecans, to sprinkle on top of glaze
- Dissolve the yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Allow to stand for five minutes.
- Spoon flour into dry measuring cups and level with knife. Add two cups flour, pumpkin and all the ingredients through the cinnamon to the bowl.
- Beat with a mixer on medium-speed until the batter is smooth.
- Turn the batter out onto a floured surface. While kneading, add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the batter becomes a “tacky” dough, does not stick to hands and you can form a ball. You may need to use slightly more or less than 3/4 a cup flour. This kneading process should last for about ten minutes.
- Put the dough in a large bowl sprayed with cooking spray. Turn dough to coat. Cover and allow to rise in a very warm place until double in size, about an hour.
- Punch the dough down. Cover again and allow to rise for thirty minutes more.
- Mix the 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in the butter with two knives until the mix is a very coarse meal.
- Punch the dough down. Then, cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Next, roll the dough into a rectangle on a floured surface, about 12×10 inches.
- Sprinkle the dough evenly with the brown sugar mixture. Then, roll up the rectangle tightly, starting with a longest edge. Press firmly to get rid of any air pockets.
- Pinch the seam and ends of the dough to seal well.
- Cut roll into twelves slices, approximately one inch each. Place the slices in a 9-inch, circular cake coated well with cooking spray. Cover and let the buns rise 30 minutes or until they doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Bake the rolls at 375°F for 20-25 minutes, until they are a light gold hue and firm when tapped. Place the pan on a wire rack. Cool for ten to fifteen minutes in the pan.
- Meanwhile, prepare the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon hot water (or more, if needed), and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Stir vigorously with a whisk until silky smooth.
- Drizzle glaze evenly over buns and serve them nice and warm. Whisk in the maple syrup and and 1/8th to 1/4th teaspoon cinnamon, to taste.
- Drizzle glaze evenly over buns, sprinkle with pecans, and serve nice and warm.
*You can prepare the buns the night before and bake them the next morning. Just allow your cake pan to come to room temperature while the oven heats up.
©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013-2014), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.