True love, for me, is a sticky bun. I love them with an unrestrained zeal. Even if they are so much trouble to make and carry the risk of coming to nothing.
My daughter is coming home from college and she has a correct passion for them, so I flung myself into the throes of a complex and time consuming project. I wish I could just look at the yeast and know. But you just don’t know, until it is too late, whether or not it is true.
It begins with a brioche dough. The first step is to “proof” the dough. This is, for me, the most unnerving part. I want to be sure, feel the ease of certainty, but this has always eluded me. It looked good up until this point, beautiful in fact. The flour had “cracked” as evidence of life. I let it rise for 3 hours. But when it was time for the next step – it was unmoved. How could this be? I could not believe it and instead reasoned to myself: it’s an enriched complicated dough which will retard some of the rising, it’s a little chilly, maybe I neglected to cover it properly, but I was fooling myself, in my heart…I knew.
The second rise is overnight, I blindly continued forward: hoping. I didn’t want to have wasted all of my effort. A despondent inevitability slowly overtook me, but what could I do? The yeast does not respond, but to start over… Maybe I should just give up on sticky buns for good.
Still, the next afternoon I waited another 2 hours for them to disappoint me again by not rising to the occasion. I had gone to the supermarket to get pecans, and came home with 17 different items having forgotten the pecans. At this point I made myself a wine spritzer, not because I like wine spritzers, more because I had accidentally bought a sweet wine (I got excited by the idea of a “regionally local” table wine and neglected to notice the sweet/dry key clearly displayed on the side). I don’t like sweet wines, but I tried to make the best of it: with the wine and the few pecans I had in my freezer. I’m just absorbing the blows.
I baked them off. They probably didn’t deserve any more attention, but I was committed.
I took them out of the oven, of course they smelled good, that’s easy, they even looked okay, but they had the consistency of rugelach, certainly not what I was going for. The disappointment complete, should I try again? Do I have the will? I hate to disappoint my daughter.
Oh baby you…got what I need:
Here they are. Finally – loving me back. Out of focus because my daughter literally pushed me out of the way to get to them.