In keeping with the theme of my “Two Soups, One Base” post from a few weeks ago, I am pleased to present you with the first of two (look for the second recipe next week) sweet, simple puff pastry treats that you would be proud to serve for afternoon tea with the Queen or for coffee with your soon-to-be monster-in-law (My MIL is amazing. She’s more like an angel-in-law for putting up with my husband for so many years).
My freezer is usually stocked with a box or two of puff pastry. I can pull it out and thaw it quickly and use it for a yummy app for unexpected (but always very welcomed) guests. I might just smear a jar of pesto on the sheet, throw on a little extra Parmesan (there should already be some in the pesto if the pesto has any decency), roll it up, slice it, and bake it off for some simple, tasty pinwheels. I also might just put it on a sheet pan covered in ham and cheese for a ham and cheese crisp. It works great for hand pies (savory or sweet) too. What other ways do you use it? PP (the pastry formerly known as Puff) is one of THE most versatile shortcuts I know of in the prepackaged food world. I guess I figure, if you are grabbing a magical ingredient like PP, you might as well have a few good uses for it.
This recipe was inspired by my idol, Ina Garten. I thought, “If PP is good enough for the Queen of ‘If you can’t make your own chicken broth from chickens you hatched and raised from heirloom eggs, store bought is fine’, it is good enough for me!” There are definitely times when it is fun or necessary to make your own pastry (like for cinnamon rolls) but let me tell you, these Toffee Sticky Buns are so delectable, you won’t kick yourself for not making your own dough.
Okay. You caught me. “Didn’t she just use toffee in her last sweets recipe?” Yep. Sure as heck did. I am not sorry either. I had them sitting in my cupboard from the blondies I made a few weeks ago. I knew that if I left them there for much longer, I would just end up eating the whole bag. This way I can spread the wealth of those delish little morsels.
The addition of these little guys made a thin, crispy crust on the tops of the rolls that kind of reminds me of a super thin (but waaayyy more tasty) brittle. When the buns bake, the toffee melts and there are no hard bits left behind to chip a tooth on. Plus, the buns stay shiny and fresh-looking for more than a day after they are made (not that they will last that long).
******* When you are using PP, remember it must be cold when it hits the oven or it will not puff up nicely. It is kind of like a pie crust (or almost all pastries). The butter in it needs to be cold (solid) so that little pockets of steam form and create those soft, flaky layers. Science, y’all. I think. ********
Without further adieu, (Simple) Toffee Sticky Buns. You will go bonkers over these.
Bottoms of muffin tin:
- 12 tbsp 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/2 cup toffee bits
- 1 package, 17.3-ounces/ 2-sheets frozen puff pastry, defrosted
- 1tsp salt (kosher- always)
- 2 (more)tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2/3 (more) cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup toffee bits
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, salt, and toffee bits until softened. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, melt additional 2 tbsp butter then add 2/3 cup brown sugar, and tsp of cinnamon.
Carefully unfold puff pastry sheet onto a lightly floured and cold surface. Spread half of the butter and sugar mixture evenly over the entire sheet. Sprinkle half of the toffee bits over the sugar mixture and roll (the long way) until you have a nice, tight spiral. Using a very sharp knife, cut the roll in half, then each half into 1/3’s. You should now have 6 rolls. Repeat with the remaining sheet. Place rolls into refrigerator or freezer to cool while you fill the muffin tins.
Put a dollop of the first mixture (slightly more than a table spoon) into 12 greased muffin tins. Remove your 12 rolls from the refrigerator and nestle them carefully on top of the sugar/butter mixture.
Put buns immediately into the oven ON A LARGER baking sheet (unless you want your kitchen to smell like a burning sugar factory) and bake for 27-30 minutes or until the tops (soon to be bottoms) are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let rest for 3-5 minutes in muffin tins. Don’t let them rest for much longer or you won’t get all of the sticky, toffee goodness out of the bottoms. Invert onto a larger pan. Serve whenever but warm is best.