As I add more and more recipes to this blog, you will soon figure out that I am not a huge sweets person. I live for appetizers and savor the main course, but you will almost never find me first in line at the dessert table. For breakfast, you can feed me eggs and bacon until I pop, but I can usually pass on the doughnuts and danishes. Its not that I hate sweets, I usually just prefer more savory treats in my tummy.
This is not to say I cannot appreciate a great pecan roll once in a while, and boy, these are GREAT pecan rolls. They are actually Ina Garten's Easy Sticky Buns, and my good friend Heather made them last weekend at the cabin. I was of course there with my pastry brush and melted butter, providing moral support and and extra hand. She needed that hand, not because she needed help in the kitchen or help with the recipe, but because we were at a cabin and she was sitting cross-legged on the floor, assembling pecan rolls at 8:30 in the morning.
Frozen puff pastry makes these rolls an absolute breeze (even on the floor). Unroll the pastry, sprinkle on some goodies, roll it up, cut it up, put into muffin tins, and presto, you have pecan rolls. Heather's turned out a little tall for the muffin tin we had, so like any great chef, she improvised and made them fit. They were promptly renamed 'Heather's Squishy Buns', and that is what they shall be called henceforth.
'Heather's Squishy Buns'
Adapted from Ina Garten's Easy Sticky Buns
My notes in green
1 package frozen Puff Pastry (17.3 ounces, 2 sheets - defrosted)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature) - if you forget like we did, just set them on top of a warm stove for a few minutes, or put them in the pockets of your apron as you prep the rest of the items
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans - chopped or whole, your call
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
2/3 cup light brown sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Here she calls for raisins...but Heather made the executive decision to omit, I backed this decision. If you want, add 1 cup of raisins.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place a 12-cup (or two 6-cup) muffin tins onto a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. There is a good chance that they will boil over, so this step saves some cleanup time.
Combine the 1 1/2 sticks of butter and the 1/3 cup of brown sugar together in a bowl. - Ina calls for doing this in a stand mixture, but there really is no need. As long as your butter is soft, a fork and a bowl is all you need to mash these two ingredients up together. Just ask Heather.
Place 1 tablespoon of this mixture into each of the muffin cups, and then evenly distribute the pecans among the 12 cups, on top of the butter and sugar mixture.
Lightly flour a wooden surface - or glass, or plastic, or 30 year old linoleum counter tops, whatever you have available to you - and unroll the puff pastry dough. Brush each pastry with melted butter, leaving a one inch border on all sides. Sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup brown sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon - and raisins if you are so inclined...we were not.
Starting at one end, roll up pastry snugly, jelly roll style, and place seam side down.
Cut each roll into 6 even pieces and place one piece into each muffin cup, spiral side up.
This is where things got a little squishy. They were sticking up quite high so we did what any hungry, slightly hungover, unsure cook would do. We squished them down until they looked about even and stuck them in the oven.
30 minutes later, take them out, let them sit for just a few minutes, then turn them over onto a plate and let the gooey, sticky, goodness runeth over.