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.

Savory Brussels Sprout & Caramelized Onion Galette

Savory Galette

Every Superhero has one great nemesis. Batman has Joker. Superman has Lex Luthor. My nemesis is named Inertia. Inertia convinces me to sleep an extra hour; she calls me to my comfy couch, and encourages me to get lost in formulaic television rather than creating something of my own. Inertia’s power frightens me. Without her, there’s no telling what I can do, yet I don’t know how to rid myself of her. This layoff has given me approximately 40 weeks to reinvent myself. 40 weeks seems like plenty of time, but not when Inertia sits at my left hand, whispering to me, “Tomorrow, tomorrow, start tomorrow.”


Savory Brussels Sprouts & Caramelized Onion Galette


Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • ½ onion, sliced
  • 4 Large Brussels sprouts, cut in half and finely shredded (about 1 1/2 cups of leaves)
  • 1/3 cup Canadian bacon, finely diced
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 1/3 cup All-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 Tablespoons plus 1 Tablespoon milk

Directions

  1. Sauté onion in butter until beginning to soften. Add Brussels sprouts and bacon and continue cooking until onions are soft and golden. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt and thyme. Combine canola oil and 3 Tablespoons milk in a measuring cup. Pour oil mixture over flour mixture and mix well. Place dough between two sheets of waxed paper and roll into a 12” circle. Place on a sheet pan, remove waxed paper.
  3. Spread filling on dough, leaving a ¾” border. Sprinkle filling with feta cheese. Brush border with remaining 1 Tablespoon milk, fold border towards center, just barely enclosing filling and pleating as you go. Brush top of dough with any remaining milk.
  4. Bake galette 25-30 minutes until crust is golden brown.

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