Food + Drink

From the Chronicle Kitchen
Fast Breads

This week’s guest blogger is Elinor Klivans, beloved and best selling author of many Chronicle baking favorites like Cupcakes!, Chocolate Cakes, and Big Fat Cookies.

Her newest book, Fast Breads, features easy-mix batter breads that prep in 10 minutes or less and can be mixed by hand. Sounds intriguing, right?

Let us know what you think of this recipe – tempted to make it? Would you change anything about it? Leave a comment and you’re eligible to be a randomly selected winner of a copy of the book.

Stuck on Sticky Buns

I’m in my hunker down and get ready for cooler weather mode. Translation – I’m ready to turn on the oven and bake some bread. I want to start with one of my favorite breads – sticky buns. And I don’t think that I’m going too far out on a limb here to say that they are one of the most popular breads in the world. First, I’m going to bake my super-fast version of Bottoms-Up Cinnamon-Caramel Pinwheels. They are made with a very fast biscuit dough that will quickly satisfy my craving. While I’m in the kitchen, I’ll whip up a batch of buttery yeast dough and refrigerate it. When I have time, in a day or two, I’ll make a big pan of high-rising Extra-Sticky Caramel-Pecan Buns stuffed with cinnamon and pecans (and maybe some raisins). The plan is to eat several, then freeze some for my holiday stash.


Bottoms-Up Cinnamon-Caramel Pinwheels
This is the fast version of a sticky bun. Spread a brown sugar glaze in the bottom of a pan, pat out a soft biscuit dough, roll up the dough with cinnamon sugar, and bake it. Then feast on the fastest, stickiest, cinnamon-swirl buns around.

Yield: Makes 9 rolls
Mixing time: 15 minutes
Baking: 350ºF for about 25 minutes

4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

Biscuit Dough
11/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp kosher salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk, any fat content

1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Line a 9-in round pan or baking dish with 2-in high sides with parchment paper.

Make the glaze. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, honey, and brown sugar over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until the butter and sugar melt and the glaze is smooth. Pour the glaze into the prepared pan, tilting the pan to spread it evenly over the bottom. Set aside.

Make the biscuit dough. Sift together both flours, the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Put about half of the flour mixture into a large bowl. Add the butter, sour cream, and buttermilk to the flour mixture in the large bowl and stir with a large spoon until blended. Add the remaining flour mixture to the large bowl and stir until it is incorporated and a soft, ragged dough forms.

With floured hands, gather up the dough and put it on a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough about 10 strokes: push down and away with the heel of your hand against the surface, then fold the dough in half toward you, and rotate it a quarter turn, flouring the surface as necessary to prevent sticking. The dough is ready when it looks fairly smooth, feels very soft, and there is no loose flour. Pat the dough into a rectangle about 12 by 7 in by and 3/8 in thick.

Make the topping. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Using a pastry brush, spread the butter evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-in border uncovered on all sides. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the butter.

Using a thin, metal spatula to help lift the dough, and starting from a long side, roll up the dough, jelly-roll style, pressing the seam to seal. If any dough sticks to the surface, use the spatula to spread the dough back onto the dough cylinder. Pinch the ends to seal. The roll will be about 11 in long. Using a sharp knife, cut the cylinder crosswise into 9 rolls each about 11/4 in thick. Place them, with a cut side up, in the prepared pan, arranging 7 rolls around the edge of the pan and 2 rolls in the middle. Pinch together any edges that separate.

Bake until the tops feel firm and the edges just start to brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a serving plate and peel away the parchment. Serve warm.

The pinwheels can be baked 1 day ahead, unmolded as directed, covered, and left at room temperature. To serve, preheat the oven to 275ºF and reheat the pinwheels, sticky side up, until warm, about 15 minutes.

Choices: Sprinkle 1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries over the cinnamon sugar.

Purchase Fast Breads.

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  • Janel October 27, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    These sound great for a quick breakfast treat! I'm sure my family would like them this weekend.


  • jennifer October 27, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    very tempted to make it!!! amazing. i'd add pecans!!


  • Jennifer October 28, 2010 at 8:59 am

    I think I'm going to give this a try this weekend. Sounds like the perfect warm treat for a cool fall weekend morning 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


  • Matt October 28, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    i dont know if there is anything more satisfying than a good sticky bun. It sounds particularly amazing as we move into the fall and winter. Definitely putting this one on my to do list.


  • @wirechairs November 5, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    …and our lucky winner for this posting is Matt! Congrats! You win a copy of this excellent cookbook.
    Thanks to all for posting, and got try out more of those truly quick and fast breads.


  • Sebaspr November 25, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Best PIE DOUGH EVER!!! Wel I haven’t tried it yet, but i know that it will be easy and fun to make coz I hate recipes of pie dough that calls for Add enuogh water to make a ball of dough I hate that because the pieces of dough keeps falling .I like your recipe coz it’s soft and I can knead it Thank you for sharing all of you wonderful recipes!!! I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!! ^_^


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