Quick Apple Sticky Buns

Quick sticky buns

Over 20 years ago, a young woman traveled to Sedona and stayed, on recommendation, at Don Hoel’s cabins. They were a cluster of small cabins near Oak Creek, looking a bit tired, but still cozy and homey, each with a kitchen, fireplace and a separate bedroom.

12 years later, she returned to Sedona and the first lodging she considered was Don Hoel’s. She was disappointed to learn she couldn’t reserve a cabin – the owner was selling and the cabins were closed. She stayed just down the road at Junipine, at a place that was neither cozy nor homey. During that trip, she drove past Don Hoel’s and saw the large “For Sale” sign across the closed gates. Even then, she daydreamed about buying it. The place was big – over 20 acres, with 20 cabins and a market. Her thoughts on the matter stayed in the daydream world.

The woman is back again. The place is now renamed, owned by a young couple for the past 5 years . They’ve polished the place up, adding the much needed character, and turned it into a little gem. The woman, who is not so young anymore, is envious. Again, she thinks “I could do that” and this time she doesn’t consider it just a daydream.


Quick Apple Sticky Buns

I don’t usually use packaged or pre-made products and call them my own, but sometimes busy mornings call for shortcuts. Adapted from Real Simple Quick Sticky Buns.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into 10 pieces
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 7.5 ounce tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drop a piece of butter in the bottom of 10 muffin tins. Divide apple among tins and sprinkle with pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon. Top each with a biscuit.
  2. Bake until golden brown, 8-12 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with a baking sheet and flip the tin over. Tap the bottom to release the buns.
  3. Combine powdered sugar with enough water to make a thick glaze. Drizzle glaze on still-warm sticky buns. Serve warm.

Lemon Cheese Pastry Squares

Lemon Sweet Cheese Pastry Squares

She hikes along the path, entreating the universe, “please let me find an arrowhead, please let me find an arrowhead.”  She even makes ridiculous pledges like, “I swear if I find one, I won’t keep it…I just want to see if I can wish it into existence.  I’ll bury it once I find it.”

Many years ago, she found another arrowhead, quite by accident, near an abandoned homestead on a cattle ranch outside Galconda, NV.  She placed it in the back pocket of her Levi’s for safekeeping.  After a long, dusty and bumpy ride back to the ranch in the bed of a pickup, she was astonished to find her pockets empty.  While disappointed, she decided her possessing it wasn’t meant to be.

Now, for a reason that she doesn’t understand, she’s on the hunt to locate one again.  For four days, she’s hiked with her eyes fixed on the trails in front of her.  She’s picked up a dozen of pieces of flint for closer inspection. Nothing.

She’s driving out of town today, on her way back home, leaving a little early to fit in one last brief 45-minute hike on a hill she’s never hiked before.  The day is hot, 93 degrees, under a blue and cloudless sky; time slips by quickly.  As she heads back to her car, she spots it on the path, dusty and damaged, most likely from being stepped on by hikers – a black flint arrowhead.

Decisions, decisions. She promised the universe not to keep it, but now it’s in her hand and the location and timing of her discovery convince her this was predestined.  This town is her magical place, after all.  She stops to consider her choices.  After a few minutes, she slips the arrowhead in her back pocket, concluding, if it’s still in her pocket when she arrives home, she was intended to keep it, at least for a while.


Lemon Cheese Pastry Squares

These use the same dough as the Almond Pockets, substituting a cream cheese and lemon filling. Of the two pastries, these were the crowd favorite in the office.

Ingredients

  • Danish Pastry Dough
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons raw sugar

Directions

  1. Follow the instructions for making the dough.
  2. Make the Cheese filling: Beat the cream cheese, sugar, yolk and zest together until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Make the squares: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into 20” x 20” square. Divide into 16 squares approximately 5”x5”. Place the cheese filling in the middle of each square, Brush 2 all corners with egg, fold each corner over the center, pressing down firmly to seal. Proof for 15 minutes.
  4. Egg wash the outside of the pastries and sprinkle liberally with raw sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

arrowhead

Almond Pockets

Almond Pastries

Sedona’s magic has followed me home.  When I opened my laptop tonight, I had initially intended to tell you about the purpose of my latest visit to Sedona.   Upon realizing the complexity of this almond pockets recipe below,   I hesitated to incorporate a long-winded post about Sedona too and opted to save the tale for another day.  So, no sooner do I resolve to forget the story and focus on the recipe when what comes up on PBS but a First Nations Experience (FNX) program on Sedona’s Boynton Canyon – reminding me that no one puts Sedona on the back burner.  I’m still determined to save my story for another day, but rather than utterly avoiding the  topic of Sedona, I’m sharing a photo from my favorite perch in Boynton at the end of this post.  I know better than to mess with red rock juju when it happens.


Almond Pockets

Adapted from Wayne Gisslen’s Professional Baking

Ingredients

    Danish Pastry Dough
  • 4 ¼ oz. warm water (105 – 110 degrees)
  • 1 pkt rapid rise yeast
  • 18.5 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 1.25 oz. sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 oz. whole milk
  • 10 oz. unsalted butter, softened
  • Almond Crème
  • 2 1/8 oz. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ¾ oz. powdered sugar
  • 2 1/8 oz. almond flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract

Directions

Make Dough: In a large bowl, mix the water and yeast together. Sprinkle about 2 Tablespoons flour over the yeast mixture. Let stand for about 15 minutes. In another bowl, mix the sugar salt and milk together until the solids are dissolved.

Sift the remaining flour and add it to the yeast mixture. Add the milk mixture and begin mixing to form a shaggy dough. Finish by kneading the dough on the countertop until a formed until a ball. Cover and allow to ferment for 40 minutes. Punch down and refrigerate, covered for 1 hour.

Roll in the Butter: Roll the dough into a long rectangle. Smear softened butter over bottom two-thirds of the dough, leaving a margin around the edges. Fold the unbuttered third of the dough over the center. Fold the bottom third on top. Rotate the dough 90 degrees (so the folds are vertical). Complete the first fold: Roll out the dough in a long rectangle. Fold the top third over the center. Fold the bottom third over the top. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Repeat the rolling and folding two more times.

Make the almond crème:  Cream the softened butter, stir in the powdered sugar, almond flour, salt, egg and almond extract.  Refrigerate.

Make the pockets: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into 20” x 20” square. Divide into 16 squares approximately 5”x5”. Place the almond filling in the middle of each square, Brush 2 opposite corners with egg, fold over the center, pressing down firmly to seal. Proof for 15 minutes.

Egg wash the outside of the pastries and sprinkle liberally with sliced almonds. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.


Kachina

Kachina Woman – Boynton Canyon

Coconut Walnut Granola

Homemade Granola

Every morning at the cabin around 7 a.m., the landlords would hang a breakfast basket on a hook just outside the front door. The contents would change daily, but there was an overall theme – orange juice, fruit, some combination of granola or cereal with yogurt or milk, a homemade sweet pastry, and a homemade savory pastry.

I’d wake up and grab my basket from the hook, make myself a cup of coffee, rewarm the pastries in the oven, and then carry my repast to the flagstone patio. I’d spend the remainder of the morning watching the sun peek its head above the mountaintop while munching on my breakfast.

I made this granola upon my return to help ease me back into workday life and remind me of breakfast at the cabin.


Coconut Walnut Granola


Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup toasted flax seeds
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup desiccated unsweetened coconut

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the oats, walnuts, and pepitas together in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Cover with oil, maple syrup and vanilla and stir well.
  2. Spread granola on a half-sheet pan and bake about 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until granola is evening brown.
  3. Remove from oven and immediately add flax seeds, raisins, and coconut to sheet pan. Cool and store.

Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake

Lemon Coffee Cake

I’m traveling to an enchanted place for my birthday – the spot where I breathe and dream and bury my electronic devices for a week.  I recall my last visit a few years back.  One afternoon, I was resting at the foot of a rock formation called Kachina Woman pondering life when, from a ledge above me, a hippy sprite wearing Tevas sprung down and alighted beside me.  He was neither hallucination nor a result of ingesting peyote. He spoke to me as if it were the most natural thing– scrambling down a rock face to chat with a complete stranger.  I’m neither a fan of Tevas nor hippies, yet his company wasn’t unwelcome.  We conversed for an hour or so on my perch, though I hardly remember what we spoke about.   He invited me to a drumming circle that night, or coffee, or a poetry reading – I can’t recall exactly; I didn’t go.  As I pack and consider my upcoming trip, I doubt I’ll see my sprite again.  But if I do, and if I’m asked to go somewhere, I may just say yes.


Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake


Ingredients

    Streusel
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter
  • Cake
  • 4 Meyer lemons, cut into paper-thin slices, ends discarded
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Glaze
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice

Directions

  1. Place lemon slices in a medium saucepan of water, bring to boil, drain, repeat. Cool and chop fine. While lemon slices cook, make the streusel: Mix together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Using your fingers, work butter into the flour mixture until small to medium clumps form. Cover and chill.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt. Beat butter, granulated sugar, with a mixer on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, add eggs, 1 at a time, then the vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream. Fold in lemon.
  3. Spoon 1/2 of the batter evenly into cake pan. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer over the batter. Spread remaining batter evenly over the top. Sprinkle the chilled streusel evenly over the batter.
  4. Bake until cake is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. 4. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove sides of springform, using a knife if necessary. Let cool completely on rack.
  5. Make the glaze: Just before serving, stir together confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Drizzle over cooled cake, letting excess drip down the sides. Let glaze set before slicing, about 5 minutes.