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Yeah, I went there – gooey Maple Walnut Sticky Buns with caramel, drippy icing and an addictive filling. Your morning just got better.
Here in New York City I have some of the best bakeries in the world outside my door. Artisan breads, flaky croissants and delectable pastries at my fingertips. And you’d better believe I take advantage of them, despite that I have to wear my chubby-clothes for a week afterwards.
One of my favorite pastries at some of these shops are the sticky buns. I had to figure out how to make a version at home! Usually they are a tender brioche-style dough, not too sweet and very buttery, with crunchy nuts doused in caramel.
The dough was fairly easy. It’s a yeast dough, loaded with butter, enriching milk and eggs. One reason I say it is so easy, is there’s no trick to this yeast dough. With all the rich ingredients it stays very soft and gets mixed completely in your mixer. You don’t need to deal with a sticky mess on your counter, kneading by hand.
I kept everything streamlined and opted to buy caramel sauce instead of make my own. Guess what!? It’s NBD (no big deal), it tastes amazing and cuts out about a million steps. I also can’t leave well enough alone and wanted a unique, fun, morning flavor so I added maple to the recipe. Thank goodness I’m crazy like that, because dang! They are like a mix between my favorite pastry and a maple donut. Heaven.
Genius really struck when I started experimenting with a make-ahead option. These babies freeze! You can make them large or standard size and freeze them unbaked for up to 3 months. Pull them out 2 or 3 hours before baking and bam! you have breakfast, brunch, or a little nibble for a baby shower spread.
This recipe makes a dozen large buns so if you aren't serving a group, you can freeze some to bake later. To make smaller, standard-size buns for a crowd, see note at the end of the recipe.
- 1 cup milk plus 2 tbsp
- 2 pkgs (1½ tbsp) active dry yeast
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 21 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 5⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 1¼ tsp salt
- 3 tsp maple extract
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 cups walnuts, chopped
- ⅓ cup caramel topping sauce (such as Smucker's)
- 1½ cups confectioners' sugar
- Scald 1 cup milk (heat to steaming). In a mixing bowl combine warm milk, yeast and sugar. Let yeast start to bubble, about 5 min.
- Add 12 tbsp butter and eggs to mixer and beat, with the paddle attachment, until slightly blended. Stir in flour and salt, about 2 min. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue mixing on medium speed to develop the dough, 3 min more.
- Transfer dough to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap; set aside in a warm place and let rise until doubled, about 1 hr. Grease tow large-cup muffin tins. Melt 6 tbsp butter and stir in 1½ tsp maple extract; set aside.
- Gently punch down dough and divide in half. Roll into 2 12-by-18-inch rectangles on a lightly floured work surface. Spread maple-butter mixture evenly over both rectangles. Sprinkle each with half the brown sugar and walnuts. Roll tightly into logs, starting at the long edge, and pinch seams together. Cut each log into 6 3-inch pieces for a total of 12 buns. Place in muffin tins cut side up, cover and allow to rise for 30 min. Heat oven to 325°F Bake until golden brown, 28 to 30 min.
- Combine caramel topping and 1½ tsp maple extract. carefully remove hot buns from pan and place on a clean baking sheet; drizzle with caramel.
- For icing: Melt 3 tbsp butter and stir together with confectioners' sugar and 2 tbsp milk; drizzle over buns. Serve warm or cool. Store airtight for up to two days.
- Grease 18 standard-size muffin tin cups. Fill and roll dough as directed. Cut each log into 9 2-inch pieces. Place cut side up in muffin tins, cover and let rise 30 min. Bake as directed, 22 to 25 min.
- Prepare buns as directed, in either size. Do not let rise a second time; cover pan, freeze until solid, then keep frozen in pan or transfer frozen buns to a zip-to bag. To bake, thaw in pan and let rise at room temperature until double in size, 2 to 3 hr. Bake as directed.
Recipe by Tara Bench
Photographer: Lisa Hubbard
Food Stylist: Susan Vajaranant
Prop Stylist: Penelope Bouklas
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal Nov 2011
Oh, bacon! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! No really, let’s count them. Just when you thought you couldn’t love bacon any more than you already do, here are 101 ways to enjoy this delicious meaty treat. HINT: It’s not just for breakfast anymore.
Bacon is meat candy. Admit it, you think so too!
It’s one of the most versatile foods–used for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and even desserts. I mean, that really covers it. These days no one blinks if you mention bacon on a cake, in a cocktail or a fancy chocolate bar. You can serve bacon wrapped in bacon on top of bacon and people wouldn’t question it.
This stat puts it all into perspective (not really, but I think it’s funny) “In general, 62 percent of people prefer bacon over sausage on breakfast sandwiches. But among those who feel more confident in dressy clothes than in comfortable clothes, 74 percent prefer bacon on breakfast sandwiches.” From correlated.com.
In honor of this ever-popular, delicious food, I’ve collected 101 ways to cook it, use it, eat it and celebrate it. This was done purely out of love–for you, and for bacon. To help you navigate the list, it’s broken into categories. However, categories or not, I urge you to start from the top and enjoy all the way to the bottom!
How to Cook Bacon
The first rule of bacon is knowing how to cook it. You’re no longer limited to the ol’ frying pan when it comes to cooking bacon. My personal favorite method is to bake it in the oven, but you can’t go wrong with any of these options.
Ok, ok, I couldn’t help but include some breakfast recipes. But these aren’t your typical bacon and eggs dishes. These take bacon for breakfast to the next level.
Bacon, it’s what’s for dinner. These dishes are sure crowd pleasers, and offer some new ways to highlight the flavors of bacon in your main course.
20. Bacon Explosion
Side Dishes and snacks
If it’s a snack or side dish you’re looking for, then bacon is the answer. After all, what pairs better with a bacon main course than more bacon?
32. Bacon Granola
52. Bacon on a Stick
56. Campfire Bacon
HINT: These would be amazing using these tasty mozzarella sticks from Farm Rich Snacks
Bacon has a sweet and savory quality to it that makes it a perfect choice to use in desserts. These unusual pairings will have everyone asking for more.
71. Bacon Cannoli
72. Bacon Doughnuts
77. Bacon Toffee
78. Bacon Pralines
90. Bacon Crack
This just goes to show that bacon really does go with everything.
Whether you’re looking for home decor, fashion, or a gift for the bacon lover in your life, here are a few fun bacon finds.
95. Don’t Go Bacon My Heart Mug . . . I Couldn’t if I Fried.
97. Bacon Tape
98. J&D’s Bacon Salt
For any vegetarians out there, please accept my condolences, and this recipe for something akin to bacon.
100. Tofu Bacon
Even dogs love bacon, and now you can feel good about feeding it to them.
Also produced by Melanie Donahoo. This post may include affiliate and sponsor links. For more information please see my disclosure agreement.
Crunchy Bacon Granola puts bacon where it should be, in everything! This slightly sweet, nutty granola is your new brunch go-to.
I eat granola for breakfast. I eat bacon at breakfast. I figure why not combine the two! You’re probably wondering though, what do you eat bacon granola with? Well it’s really quite simple: It goes with just about everything.
If you’re not eating it right out of hand as a fantastic snack, your imagination is your guide.
I like it with plain tangy yogurt. The sweet maple comes in to play here, but the simple yogurt flavor works well with the more savory taste of bacon. I also love it sprinkled on top of hot cereal. It is to die for over cream of wheat, with just a little extra drizzle of maple. MMM!
And one of my favorite ways to eat it is over grits. Cheesy or not! Again you get that sweet and savory situation going on that is quite delicious.
It’s a very simple granola recipe. Most granola starts with plenty of rolled oats as a base, but I bulked this recipe up with coconut chips and nuts. I only used 1 cup of rolled oats because I wanted this granola to be a great topper for hot cereal. It is! Pure maple syrup and coconut oil give the mixture a sweet flavor and crispy texture. I cooked the bacon before roasting it with the rest of the granola. That extra bake in the oven crisps it perfectly.
The granola can be stored at room temperature for a few days, but I suggest keeping it in the fridge just as a food safety precaution thing. Enjoy!
Serve with tangy yogurt or sprinkle it on top of grits or hot cereal.
- 8 slices thick-cut bacon
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut chips
- 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/3 cup coconut or canola oil
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg white
- 1/2 cup pitted dates, sliced
- Heat oven to 325ºF. Cook bacon until done, but not crisp and chop into small pieces.
- In a large bowl mix the bacon, coconut chips, flaxseed, oats, sunflower seeds and nuts.
- In a small saucepan heat the oil, syrup, cinnamon and salt. Pour over the nut mixture and combine. Mix in the egg white and spread granola on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 min, then let cool 20 min. Stir in dates. Store in an airtight container, int refrigerator, for up to 5 days.
Recipe by Tara Bench
Photos Peter Ardito
Food Styling Paul Grimes
Prop Styling Penelope Bouklas
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal April 2014
Easy Cinnamon Rolls is an understatement! There’s no waiting for dough to rise–this is a quick, and delicious version of a favorite morning treat.
Good cinnamon rolls still warm from the oven, with drippy thick icing, have got to be one of the best gifts to mankind. But sheesh, they take a long time to make.
My solution: quick bread cinnamon rolls! The dough uses baking powder and baking soda as leavening instead of yeast. The idea is sort of a glorified biscuit.
The dough is richer than typical baking powder biscuits. With the addition of an egg and a little more sugar the flavor is closer to your favorite yeasty cinnamon roll. I’ve melted the butter instead of cut it in like typical biscuits. This makes the dough less crumbly and easy to roll with the cinnamon filling.
I used buttermilk in the dough so I included it in the frosting as well. I don’t use buttermilk often, so I like to find ways to use it when I have it in the fridge. I think I may just have to make this recipe again to finish it off–Woohoo!
These are quick to make, and disappear even faster. Eat them while they’re warm–they are best eaten the same day. Like biscuits they don’t keep all that well. I mean they’re fine…I eat anything made of bread with frosting no matter how old it is…but I’m just saying the cinnamon rolls are at their prime right out of the oven!
Trust me: it's worth the time to make these mouthwatering rolls from scratch rather than baking the prepackaged kind.
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 5 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2½ tsp cinnamon
- 2⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup low-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 tbsp low-fat buttermilk
- 1¼ cups confectioners' sugar
- Heat oven to 425°F with rack in upper third. Coat a 9-inch square pan with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a bowl, combine the brown sugar, 2 tbsp granulated sugar and cinnamon with 2 tbsp butter; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 3 tbsp granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg and 3 tbsp butter. Stir together the liquid and dry ingredients; dough will look rough. Knead on a floured surface until just smooth, about 5 turns.
- Pat or roll dough into a 9-by-13-inch rectangle. Brush with 2 tbsp butter. Spread dough with brown sugar filling, leaving ½-inch border. Use a spatula to lift dough from surface and roll, starting at a long side, to form a tight log. Pinch seam to seal log and slice evenly into 9 pieces. Place in prepared pan swirl-side up and press rolls down slightly. Brush tops with 1 tbsp butter.
- Bake until edges are just golden brown and rolls are cooked through, 22 to 25 min. Loosen rolls from pan and invert onto a plate; reinvert to right side up onto a rack. Cook 5 min before icing.
- For icing: In a bowl, beat together cream cheese and buttermilk until smooth. Beat in confectioners' sugar to form icing; spread over rolls with knife. Serve rolls warm.
Here’s another quick bread treat: My Whole Wheat Pumpkin Walnut Bread, or Pulla Bread, a yeast bread that will blow your mind…if you’ve got a few extra minutes to spare.
Recipe by Tara Bench
Photographer Yunhee Kim
Food Stylist Anne Disrude
Prop Stylist Megan Hedepeth
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal March 2009
Carrot Cake Pancakes with spice and a hint of orange zest are a delicious excuse to eat a little something sweet for breakfast, and cream cheese frosting, if you need an excuse for that!
Guest post by: Morgan Aibinder of The Improv Kitchen
Tara and I met last year on a photo shoot for KitchenAid, and her food styling blew me away. So you can imagine how honored I was when she asked me to guest post on her blog. I was even more excited when I found out the theme for the month—brunch!
I’m brunch obsessed. While I’m typically team savory, I can never resist getting a sweet item for the table when I go out for brunch. These Carrot Cake Pancakes are the perfect weekend treat. And who doesn’t love an excuse to eat cream cheese frosting FOR BREAKFAST?! Plus they’re loaded with carrots, so they are also considered a health food too, right? I think that’s how it works. Yep, that’s definitely how it works.
I hope you love these pancakes as much as I do!
I’m a big fan of tweaking recipes to make it your own. Pancakes are such a perfect canvas to do that with. Over on my blog, The Improv Kitchen, I like to give inspiration on how you can change a recipe in a section that I call “improv style.” How would you tweak these carrot cake pancakes to make them your own?
Don’t have buttermilk? You can use any type of milk you have (non-fat, 2%, whole milk) with a splash of vinegar or lemon juice.
Don’t have some of the spices? You can leave some out or add in your favorite spices like allspice, cardamom or even clove. If you’re a big cinnamon fan, you can add a little more.
Not a fan of nuts? Leave them out! You can also try it with toasted walnuts, pistachios, shredded coconut, raisins or your favorite dried fruit.
You can play with adding flavors to the cream cheese frosting—reinforce the cinnamon flavor with a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Try adding in a few tablespoons of maple syrup instead of powdered sugar. The frosting too tangy for you? Add in a little more sugar or maple syrup—I don’t like my cream cheese frosting overly sweet but that’s my preference. Make it how you like it by adding more sugar or sweetener of your choice!
Your favorite dessert flavors to start the morning! Spices, tender and sweet shredded carrots and cream cheese frosting come together in a pancake breakfast.
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 8 tbsp (1 stick) butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup confectioners' sugar
- 3 tbsp whole milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tbsp orange zest
- 1 cup finely shredded carrots
- ¼ cup toasted chopped pecans
- Maple syrup (optional)
- For the Cream Cheese Frosting blend cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the confectioners' sugar, milk, vanilla extract, and salt. Beat together for an additional 30 seconds until incorporated.
- For thinner frosting, add milk a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
- For the Carrot Cake Pancakes whisk together the flour, baking powder and spices in a large bowl. Mix together the brown sugar, buttermilk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, eggs and orange zest in a separate bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently until fully combined. Stir in the shredded carrots and pecans.
- Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat and add a tablespoon of butter, or spray with cooking spray. Spoon approximately ¼ cup of batter per pancake onto the griddle and cook until bubbles form on the surface of the pancakes. Flip and continue cooking for another minute or two until golden brown on both sides. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- Serve with a dollop of cream cheese frosting and garnish with additional chopped nuts and maple syrup if desired.
adapted from pickycook
From Tara: Morgan was “the client” on one of my photo shoots and we hit it off talking about our food blogs. She decided to take my Food Styling 101 class on Nicole’s Classes. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the beautiful food and recipes she created. I love her style and taste and am so happy she shared a little of it with you here!
If you love this recipe, you might like some other Tara Teaspoon breakfast and brunch recipes like:
Recipe, Food Styling and Photography by Morgan Aibinder
I was on my way to a cooking audition for Martha Stewart and didn’t want to fail. My newly acquired culinary school skills did me right, until the omelet. How could I forget the basic technique for making the perfect fluffy egg?
Originally published on KSL.com
I walked into the 42nd Street offices of Martha Stewart looking professional wearing my first skirt-suit and carrying a bag with recipes tucked inside. I was greeted at reception and escorted down a flight of stairs. That’s when I saw her, and my heart skipped a beat. Martha was standing at the bottom of the stairs. As I passed her, the nerves I had been carefully squelching went haywire. I couldn’t believe I was on my way to audition for an icon!
I was 22 and just about to finish my culinary arts degree from Utah State University — my classmates and I were the second graduating class. While most of my classmates wanted to become chefs or caterers, I spent time in my dorm devouring food magazines like Fine Cooking, Gourmet, Bon Appetite and Martha Stewart Living and asked my culinary professors, “Who makes the food in these pictures?” I wanted to be THAT person. I wanted to be a food stylist.
I applied for internships everywhere, and got a steady stream of “no’s.” Then I got a response from the test kitchen director for Martha Stewart Magazine. Of all the places to crack open a door! She said she only took kitchen interns from the CIA (The Culinary Institute of America just north of New York City), but she would give me a try. I bought a plane ticket and showed up at the famed Martha Stewart Offices at 11 West 42nd St.
The official test kitchen was just doors from Martha’s personal office. I lingered for the tiniest moment as we passed her glass-walled office and tried to soak in every inch, from the fresh flowers on her desk to the windowed view of the Empire State Building and downtown Manhattan.
But once in the test kitchen, I faced the cooking test of a lifetime. I had come armed with a three-course meal I had planned and perfected at school. After sweating, sifting and stirring for three hours I confidently presented the dishes to the test kitchen director, Susan Sugarman, who was notorious for being opinionated.
Sugarman dipped her fork into each dish, taking the tiniest of bites, without giving any hint of a smile of approval. Then she revealed that my test was only half over.
She handed me a cake recipe as well as a list of cooking tasks that included chopping an onion to medium-sized dice, cooking pasta al dente, and mincing garlic to a fine paste. I spent another three hours making the cake and breezed through the other tasks. The final task I thought I had in the bag, “make a fluffy 3-egg omelet.”
I had passed the egg tests in cooking school with flying colors. I was confident I could make any egg, in any preparation, flawlessly.
I started in on the fluffy 3-egg omelet. I whisked and whipped the eggs until they were foamy and proceeded to make a classic omelet, seasoned with salt and pepper.
“Not fluffy enough, and it needs more salt,” said Sugarman. “Make it again, fluffier.”
I whisked faster, harder and more this time; beating as much air into those three eggs as I possibly could. Seasoned it with a bit more salt this time and presented my creation to her.
Nope. “Not fluffy enough,” she said again. “Make another one.”
A third omelet? What was I doing wrong? How was I going to make it fluffier? I was panicked. I was whisking for all I was worth, and did not want to fail. I certainly did not want to fail on an omelet of all things.
I whisked until I could whisk no more and there it was, a third omelet that looked just like the others. I knew it and Sugarman knew it. I had failed.
Sugarman told me she would get back to me in a few days. I left her with pleading in my voice, letting her know I was a fast learner, and could do whatever they needed me to if I got the chance. I flew back to Utah with a pit in my stomach.
The next day I recounted my experience to my chefs, professors and classmates. They barraged me with questions about Martha Stewart, but I had one pressing question for them. “How do you make a fluffy omelet?”
One classmate immediately answered, “It’s simple, whip the egg whites separate from the yolks until peaks form, and then add the yolks.”
Of course! Egg whites without the yolks get extremely fluffy; the fat in the yolks inhibits this, so they must be separated first. I thought I had jeopardized my chances at working with Martha Stewart by not remembering this simple cooking skill.
Miraculously my lackluster performance did not get in the way of securing the internship. Sugarman called to inform me I was the new intern at Martha Stewart.
The audition that I failed ended up changing my life. I would fly to New York after graduation, the city I would call home for the next two decades. There, I would work my way up to senior food editor, and I spent six years at Martha Stewart, learning to develop recipes, cooking with her on TV and becoming a food stylist — the job of my dreams. I was finally the one making the food in the magazines, and not just any magazine, Martha Stewart Living.
And to think it almost didn’t happen — thanks to a fluffy omelet!
Needless to say I have never forgotten how to make a proper omelet since. Here is my recipe for a fluffy omelet, courtesy of The American Egg Board. Called a soufflé omelet, the whites and yolks are separated and whipped separately. If ever you need to make a fluffy omelet for Martha Stewart, I’d use this method.
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- ¼ cup water
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar OR lemon juice
- 4 egg yolks, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon butter OR vegetable oil
- HEAT oven to 350°F. COMBINE egg whites, water and cream of tartar in large mixer bowl. BEAT with whisk attachment on high speed until stiff but not dry, just until whites no longer slip when bowl is tilted.
- BEAT egg yolks and salt in small mixer bowl on high speed until thick and lemon-colored. Gently but thoroughly FOLD yolks into whites.
- HEAT butter in 10-inch nonstick omelet pan or skillet with ovenproof handle over medium-high heat until hot. POUR IN egg mixture; gently smooth surface. Reduce heat to medium. COOK until omelet is puffed and lightly browned on bottom, about 5 minutes. (Lift omelet at edge with spatula to judge color.)
- PLACE pan in 350°F oven. BAKE until knife inserted halfway between center and outer edge comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes. LOOSEN omelet edge with spatula. SERVE immediately.
This simple French-inspired oven-baked soufflé omelet can be made savory or sweet. Fill it with cheese, meat and vegetables or top it with fresh fruit compote and whipped cream.
Puffy omelets begin to deflate when removed from oven, so plan to serve immediately.
To serve folded: Using sharp knife, cut across center of omelet, cutting through upper surface but not through to the bottom of omelet. Top with filling, if desired. Tip pan. Fold omelet in half with turner and invert onto warmed plate with a quick flip of the wrist. Cut in half or into quarters.
To serve open-faced: Invert pan over warmed plate, or slide omelet from pan onto plate. Top with filling, if desired. Cut in half or into quarters.