08 April 2010

Double Take: Caramel Sticky Buns

I'm not a candy maker. I've never made candy before. I've watched my mom make her fudge icing a bajillion times, but I never watched for the purpose of learning, only to get the soft ball of caramel when the fudge hit the soft ball stage. But that is the entirety of my candy making experience.

I figured it was my turn to pick a recipe for the Double Take series. Thus far, we've made a sandwich and pork chops. So I wanted something completely different. I went to the breakfast/brunch section, and picked out Caramel Sticky Buns because I was 90% certain Hubby and Tabitha would like them even if I didn't get excited about them (I have rather strange feelings about cinnamon). Hubby and Tabitha approved, and we were off.

Obstacle number 1: Hot Roll Mix. Huh? What the crap is hot roll mix? I've never seen that in the US, let alone in Germany. A quick google search gave me my answer and it turned out I could easily make that here. Provided I could find powdered non-fat milk. Well, I didn't find non-fat, but I did find 1.5% and decided that would have to suffice. (Non-fat milk does not exist in Germany, so I wasn't terribly surprised that I couldn't find non-fat powdered milk.)

Obstacle number 2: I do not own a candy thermometer. To make caramel sticky buns, one must first make a caramel sauce. Seemed simple enough, and I only had to get the caramel to 230 degrees, so I figured I could do that with no problem. Well. I don't always use logic when I cook a new item. And this was one of those times.

I know my stove cooks hot. So when the recipe had me cook the sugar until starting to brown, reduce heat and cook until caramel colored and also gave a time measurement, I followed the time measurement instead of the color. My caramel was amber rather than caramel colored. Oops.

Steps to make caramel sticky buns:
1. Make caramel sauce (in the future I'll do this a day in advance)
2. Mix yeast packet with warm water, immediately add hot roll mix. Let sit 5 minutes.
3. Roll out dough, cover with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
4. Roll up the dough, cut into one inch rolls using dental floss (wow, that worked like a dream!)
5. Add caramel to pan,* add rolls, cover and keep warm until doubled in bulk.
6. Bake 16 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, flip out onto serving platter. Serve.

* Okay, so the real recipe calls for pecans too, but I can't get pecans in Germany,** and Tabitha was making them for someone who can't eat pecans, so we opted not to use pecans.

**Edit: I've recently discovered pecans at my local grocer. Woohoo!

My sticky buns did not come together so well. I made the hot roll mix with no problems, but one cup of water was way too much liquid for the amount of mix. After letting it sit, I kneaded another 1/2 cup of mix into the dough to make it a bit firmer (it had no firmness whatsoever beforehand). I had to let it rest again after that before I rolled it out. In the meantime, I was having issues with the caramel not cooking down (mainly b/c I was clueless about what to look for). At one point in time, I just decided to give up and poured some of the caramel sauce into the pan. Unfortunately, I immediately added the rolls to the pan, which may have killed quite a bit of my yeast. Hence why I suggest making the caramel sauce in advance.

I warned Hubby in advance not to expect much. But we were both pleasantly surprised until we thought about the ingredients! Even with my frustration making them, the ingredients are yummy, so the results are yummy, and I really didn't screw up that much. Hubby did have several suggestions for making them better:
1. More cinnamon (I skimped b/c I was afraid of not liking it with that much)
2. Use brown sugar instead of white sugar for the caramel and filling.
Instead of using American brown sugar, I think German brown sugar would be excellent in the filling. I almost used it while I was making it but remembered my promise to Tabitha to follow the instructions, so I didn't. (German brown sugar is similar to raw sugar)

Make again using my suggestions until we use up the caramel sauce, but they aren't worth perfecting b/c the Pilsbury one's are so good: 1 vote
Maybe: 1 vote
Hubby's bowl less than a minute after sitting down at the table.

For Tabitha's take on Caramel Sticky Buns, head on over to Double the Garlic!


  1. Wow again! Sticky buns? Really? I don't have enough nerve to make anything with yeast in it! I applaud you in your quest. It is interesting to see the different/similar problems that you and Tabitha have with these recipes.

  2. Check the front pages of the USL cookbook. They have a page on different types of sugars complete with pictures. Is the "German" brown sugar toward the bottom right? As an added bonus, the sugar page details how to use the different types they list.


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