when in doubt, bake sticky buns

I’ve been busy. It’s that time of year, isn’t it? Head down, trying to make a dent in the perpetual to do list.

There has been a lot of cooking, but nothing of any particular interest. Just the old favorites, pantry friendly, quick meals that satisfy and don’t demand. It’s also the time of year I begin to evaluate the previous year of preservation. Will I need more tomatoes next year? Are the pints as useful as the quarts? That urge to pickle asparagus not once, not twice, but three times has resulted in a dozen jars still to go. And asparagus season is only moments away. Lesson learned.

Peach jam doesn’t get used, but peach pie filling does. Raspberry jam, plain and simple, is the household favorite, and I need more.

Indeed, 47 pints of frozen pesto was just way too much. Four basil plants will be enough this year.

The lessons go on and on.

While doing inventory, I found the last of the sticky buns. A recipe I’ve made since I was a teenager, and one I turn to when I need some quiet kitchen time, wanting to make a recipe so familiar it’s meditative.

When I moved to my first apartment, The Fannie Farmer Baking Book was one of five cookbooks my mother insisted would start my library. The other cookbooks, for the record, were Joy of Cooking, Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking and the Gourmet Cookbooks, Vol. I & II. And a subscription to Gourmet, of course.

Long before it was bloggable, I baked every recipe in the Fannie Farmer book, to teach myself how to bake. It was a two or three year process, during which time I fell in love with lemon squares, sables and homemade hamburger buns. I brought dessert into work frequently, and became known for my sweet confections.

And oh, gracious, the sticky buns, those were special. There is a rhythm, a process, a quiet contemplative path to making these breakfast treats – the ambrosia of a warm, caramel soaked and covered yeasty eggy buttery roll.

The recipe makes three pans, or 24 rolls. Way more than any human being needs at one time.  Just because they have that allure and no one needs to eat two dozen sticky pecan rolls. Not that it’s ever happened or anything.

So I devised a way to make the effort pay in triplicate. Freezing. It’s so simple and you’ll have a treat on hand and waiting for the perfect moment. However you might define perfection.

All I know is.. when I found a pan-full of sticky buns this week, it was cause for celebration.

Take the frozen rolls out after dinner and just leave them on the counter until morning. They will defrost, and then rise. In the morning, bake and serve in about half an hour. Your household will be happy.

I use these amazing paper pans. They’re reasonably priced and available through King Arthur and many kitchen stores.


17 thoughts on “when in doubt, bake sticky buns”

  1. I have fond memories of visiting my grandparents and going to the farmers market early in the morning for a pan of fresh warm sticky buns. Freezing them is a brilliant idea. I’ll have to give this one a go when we’re eating sugar again.

  2. I love the idea of freezing these – that would make for a wonderful Sunday morning treat – and I love your paper pans. I’ve seen them in the shops here and never would have thought to use them for something like this, but that’s a brilliant idea.

    Here in New Zealand, Joy of Cooking is not a book I had ever heard of until an American friend of mine showed me her well-used copy a while back – it’s been on my wish list ever since. It’s getting close to the top of the list now thought, so hopefully soon 🙂


  3. Your story made me glance at my library. Joy of Cooking (with a price inside the cover of $8.50!). Julia and Fannie too although I also have a 1974 edition of Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. It’s not so new anymore but it was an invaluable resource for most of the basics that started me on this journey.

    Love nothing more than a recipe that makes extras that can be frozen. Wishing I had some now; they look fantastic Cathy.

  4. Soooooo delicious and easy! I’ve never been able to make any kind of sweet roll before now, but I will definitely keep this recipe.

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