coconut-almond sticky buns

I am so excited about this recipe … I honestly did a happy dance the first time I made it.  And then again the second … third … fourth and fifth times I made them.

There’s lots of dancing going on in my little apartment :0)

You might think it’s silly of me to be so excited about sticky bunsBut these aren’t just any sticky buns.  These are THE BEST sticky buns.

No lies.

Why you might ask???

1.  Super easy to make.  I have gotten the “prep” time down to 7 minutes.  Anyone can whip these up first thing in the morning or in a cinch when company unexpectedly arrive.  Or on Christmas morning …

2.  They smell ridiculously delicious while they are baking.  It starts with the smell of toasted coconut & almonds.  And then becomes a sugary sweet spicy doughy loveliness … wanna sell your house?  Bake these!

3.  They taste great.  Who doesn’t love coconut & almond?  Or chocolate & cherry?  Or cranberry & white chocolate?  Yeah … all of those are options … all you need is a little imagination and the perfect sticky bun can be all yours.

4.  You too can have a Martha moment!  I know … I usually shy away from a Martha reference … however in this case … I totally embraced the Martha in me … baking the sticky buns and then placing them in a slightly larger holiday tin.  Holy Martha! 

5.  Holiday hostess gift … check!  Who needs to gift a bottle of wine when you can gift a tin of sticky buns????  I think you want to join in the dancing, lovely smelling, martha madness that these sticky buns can bring to ones life. 

*bakers note: if you don’t have a food processor, this can be done with a handheld mixer or a whisk.  don’t worry about some of the cottage cheese curds – they bake out :0)

*the recipe below is for 1 pan for sticky buns … but I have actually divided the dough in half and made 2 different types at once … just use smaller pans.

coconut – almond sticky buns

ingredients:

1 c. shredded coconut

1/2 c. slivered almonds (or chopped almonds)

* other flavour options: dried cherries & dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries & white chocolate

dough:

3/4 c. cottage cheese (4% is great – but 2% works as well)

1/3 c. buttermilk

1/4 c. sugar

2 oz (4 tbsp) butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla

2 c. flour, extra for rolling

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp b. soda

filling:

1 1/2 tbsp butter, melted

2/3 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp ginger

* you can also swap the nutmeg for cardamon, or use chinese five-spice … just about any spice that catches your fancy

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Spread the coconut and almonds on cookie sheets, and bake until toasted – about 7 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Increase the temperature to your oven to 375 F or 400 F (depending on your oven).  Spray the sides and bottom of a 9 – 10 inch springform pan with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

 In the bowl of your food processor combine the cottage cheese, melted butter, buttermilk, sugar and vanilla.  Pulse until smooth – about 15 seconds.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and pulse until the dough starts to clump together.  It’s pretty sticky.

Done. Scrape the dough out and place it on a very well floured surface.  Knead the dough – about 5 times, you’ll notice how nicely it comes together (and super quickly) … Grab your rolling-pin and roll the dough into a large rectangle. 

Time to use your pastry brush and that second batch of melted butter.

Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border unbuttered around the edges. 

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg (or your choice spices): sprinkle the mixture evenly over the buttered surface.  Pat it gently, and then sprinkle the toasted coconut and almond on top.Once filled, roll up the dough.  Start at the long edge, and roll jelly-style.  With a sharp knife, cut the rolled dough into 12 equal pieces (I trim the slight excess dough at each end)Grab your springform pan and gently arrange each piece, cut side up.  Don’t worry if there are small gaps between each sticky bun – you want them to touch slightly. 

Ok … if you’re like me, you might think … both sides are cut sides!  Don’t worry, simply pinch one end and put the pinched end down.  You might notice that some of the almond/coconut mixture falls out … that’s ok, gather it up and then sprinkle the top of the sticky buns prior to baking. Bake until golden and firm to the touch, about 25 – 28 minutes (but there will still have that slightly raw middle … yum).

Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack – about 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove the springform ring, and then transfer the sticky buns – all in one piece – to either a serving plate … or pull a martha and set in a parchment paper lined tin.  

Make a glaze (powdered sugar, lemon juice and a little milk – whisked together) and drizzle it over the buns.  That’ll add that extra hit of sticky to this buns.

Sigh.  I can’t wait to get home and dance my way through another batch :0)

ms. charlotte

Charlotte is leaving Ottawa today.

It makes me sad :0(

Don’t get me wrong … I am so incredibly thrilled that she is going to a new place – new challenges, new adventures, lessons to be learned … all that great stuff that a move to a new city entails.

But it doesn’t mean I won’t miss walking into the whalesbone and seeing her.  Pestering her with all sorts of questions … having our monthly scheduled industry night dinner @ Oz Kafe … listening to her crazy stories … hearing her laugh … just enjoying her joie de vivre.

I’ve known Charlotte since she was 18 … she’d just moved to Ottawa and was ready to experience anything and everything.  She brought a sarcastic wit and wicked sense of humour to the house (6 roomies that summer in a house that really only had 4 bedrooms and 1 bathroom … with a mushroom growing out of the bathtub).  I can remember her attempting to bring order to our little backyard garden (it didn’t happen).  I can also remember when she decided she wanted to be a bread baker … early mornings learning to make fresh bread.  You should ask Charlotte to make you bread … it’s pretty awesome.

I’ve followed her adventures over the years … culinary school in Prince Edward Island … working in Vancouver … working in Niagara on the Lake … coming back to Ottawa and taking the food scene by storm.  I feel like a uber proud big sister.

But I have to say it’s in the last few years that we’ve become closer.  It started because we genuinely enjoyed hanging out together … and then obviously a shared passion in food … and then Charlotte did the nicest sweetest thing ever.  She invited me to stage at the whalesbone.  She wanted to offer me the chance to see what working in a restaurant would be like.  And then she took the time to show me how to do the simplest of things … because although I can bake up a storm, cleaning mushrooms for 4 hours isn’t something I’d done before (and fyi … wild mushrooms can get pretty dirty).

But since friends tend to forget to tell each other how much they mean to one another … I’d like to take this opportunity to let Charlotte know what she’s taught me …

I learned that you should never attempt to plate ice cream on 6 desserts until all the components are already on each dish.  Otherwise … you have to start all over.

I’ve learned that manicuring shallots takes a really sharp knife … but that I can do it.

I’ve learned that I probably shouldn’t be hanging out on the line in the middle of a Saturday night rush … trying to get a perfect picture.  Lucky for me … Charlotte still let me do it :0)

I’ve learned that I can do anything.  As Charlotte told me every single weekI might never have done something, but it doesn’t mean I can’t do it.  It just means I have to try … and practice.  But that I can do it.

Charlotte taught me to trust my instinct when I bake.  To just go with what I think tastes good … and she applauded every single thing I have ever made.  Seriously … she was always the first person to offer me praise for anything I brought in for her to sample or told her about.

This past year has been a super difficult year for me … it’s still a struggle … but in the beginning it felt unsurpassable.  Charlotte always asked me how I was doing; we started a ranking system.  We applauded when I got to a 6/10 … and when I was having a 3/10 day … Charlotte let me stand in the prep kitchen and just cry.

And finally … Charlotte taught me to give 100% to everything I do.  That every person that comes into the whalesbone deserves to get the same experience – the same beautiful plate, the same standard of flavours … I shouldn’t just scoop ice cream on a plate and think it’s ok … it needs to be perfect.  People deserve that.  People deserve our best.

I think I echo lots of sentiments when I say it’ll be strange to walk into the whalesbone and not see our fiesty chef with the short-shorts and a kiss for everyone … But I think every single one of us are so proud of our little Charlotte … for everything she has done … and everything that is to come.

I don’t know if Toronto is ready for Charlotte.  But I know that she is totally ready for Toronto.

So without further ado … good luck Charlotte (the harlot).  Don’t think this is the last you’ve heard of me … I’m gonna come and stage with you in Toronto :0)

 

clove chocolatiers

What would you think if I told you I spent Sunday afternoon taste-testing chocolate truffles?

Would you be just a tad envious?

What if I told you that all of those truffles can be yours.  It’s true.  Every single one of them can be yours (and I sampled close to 15 different types) … and it’s all thanks to this guy …

Justin Rogers.

I fell under Justin’s culinary charm when I tasted his fruits of passion / coconut macaroon indulging in a passion fruit 4 way .  The entire dish just blew my mind and my taste buds.  I was hooked pretty much from first bite.  After my blog post, Justin emailed me  … and … we became friends :0)

We’ve been meaning to get together for a chocolate truffle date for long time … but … well … my life totally got in the way of that.

So when Justin invited me over to his wonderland of truffles … I showed up and brought the lovely and talented Deb Ransom with me.  Justin had his own photographer on site too … the hilarious, wickedly talented Marc Brigden (MarcMyWorks photography) … and the four of us spent the afternoon snapping pictures, chatting away about the different flavours, giggling over some of my random flavour combinations and well … obviously … eating truffles.

Lots and lots of wonderful delicious truffles.

I’d like to claim that one is the VERY BEST TRUFFLE I’ve ever tasted … but well … I’d be lying.  Because they are all pretty awesome.  The flavour combos are insanely lovely … some subtle, others not so much … all rich and creamy … and so original.

My first favourite of the day was the sailor jerry’s & eggnog.  You can take the girl out of the whalesbone … but I guess you can’t take the whalesbone out of the girl :0)

My second new favourite was the bourbon pecan … or maybe it was the vanilla cognac … which Justin says reminds him of Switzerland … it looks like a beautiful snow ball … but it tastes oh so much better than snow ;0)

After a mini break I went back in and the amaretto toasted almond pretty much rocked my world … one bite … the toasted almond and the fudgy ganache filling … mother of pearl … an absolute delight to the senses.

Feel free to contact Justin if you’d like some of these truffles …  they make great Christmas treats for friends, loved ones , co-workers (your boss) … or for yourself.  Go ahead.  You deserve it.  They deserve it.  These truffles might just be one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.  For Realz.

clove chocolatiers

Justin Rogers

t. 613.668.3420

info@clovechocolatiers.com

www.clovechocolatiers.com