Butterscotch Cinnamon Twists with Grandma Ruth’s Icing

Two Carolines Butterscotch Cinnamon Twists with Grandma Ruth's Icing.jpg

I have a well-documented history of food experimentation, and this is the latest in my pursuit of kitchen Dr. Frankenstein madness. I love cinnamon rolls, but sometimes they can be a bit too bready or dry, so I wanted to try a twist, rather than a roll, with really goopy filling and tons of glaze. What is a more gooey filling than sticky-buns? My mom’s recipe kills, so I went with that for the filling and the ever-famous Grandma Ruth’s icing (with one minor tweak). I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I’m going to say that these twists may have broken a friends’s long-standing diet, and received their fair share of accolades. These will be the perfect weekend baking project, so get crackin’ y’all!

Ingredients

        Butterscotch Cinnamon filling:

  • 1 small pkg. butterscotch pudding (regular or instant)
  • 1 ½ cubes butter, melted
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 t. cinnamon

    Brioche:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs (room temp)
  • 3 1/2 – 3 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups soft butter

    Grandma Ruth’s Icing (barely altered):

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6-7 cups powdered sugar

Directions

Butterscotch filling:

In a saucepan melt butter and add brown sugar and cinnamon. Add nuts and butterscotch pudding and mix until combined. Cover and let ingredients “settle” for 4 hours or overnight. (You want the butterscotch pudding mix to have time to incorporate with the rest of the ingredients.)

Brioche dough:

Heat milk until lukewarm (about 100 degrees). In a large bowl lightly whisk together sugar and warm milk. Add 1 cup of flour, mix until smooth. Lightly beat the eggs then mix into the milk mixture until combined. Add in instant yeast and another cup of flour and continue to mix, adding salt and a half a cup of flour and mix till the dough comes together. Knead dough in machine for 3 minutes, incrementally adding the rest of the flour—dough should be sticky. Add 1/4 of the soft butter, mix until the the butter is completely incorporated, then add another 1/4 of butter, continue till all 1 1/2 c. of the butter is mixed in. Pour dough into greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to approximately a 18×12″ rectangle. (To be honest, I totally eyeballed all of these measurements and they can be adjusted to whatever you find easiest) Spread butterscotch filling evenly all over the dough. On the wide side, cut dough into three portions, then cut about 8 strips in each of those three portions. To assemble, lay two strips together—the filling facing inward—then twist. Place each twist on a prepared baking sheet and let rise for about 45 minutes. Bake twists for 15-20 minutes or until golden and filling is bubbling. Cool twists on a tray (could be a two spatula job to transfer while hot). Drizzle generously with icing while still warm.

Grandma Ruth’s Icing:

In a large saucepan put evaporated milk, sugar, salt and flour. Mix on medium heat until mixture is bubbling and thick. Stirring constantly, add butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Once it’s done—as instructed by 2.0 in the recipe for the original, glorious Cinnamon Rolls—pour it through a strainer and push it with a rubber spatula to get all the lumps out so it’s nice and smooth. Drizzle over warm twists.

-CK 1.0

 

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pull-apart Bread

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brown sugar cinnamon pull-apart bread by twocarolines.com

I saw this beautiful pull apart bread a few months ago on King Arthur Flour who has an awesome blog with loads of great recipes and a really cute IG feed as well – I was certain to make it ASAP – as it turns out, it was truly weeks before I could get to that “P” in the ASAP.  The last 6 weeks have been non-stop for us!  I’m so glad I finally got down to my important baking business because this recipe was so much fun.  I doubled it and made a savory loaf and a sweet loaf, and there was even enough for a bonus loaf!  For the savory, I made an herbed butter compound by just chopping up fresh rosemary and adding some garlic salt, it was SO GOOD!! I will be making that again for sure.  For the sweet, I slathered a mixture of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon into my folded rounds and glazed it with my fave glaze from our famous Grandma Ruth’s Cinnamon Rolls – and there are easier icings out there, but there are NONE that compare with this one, it’s magically not too sweet and it hardens as it cools.  It was SUCH a treat, we loved it.  And there are so many ways you could make this bread – have fun with it!

Dough:

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pull-apart bread dough by twocarolines.com

1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast
4 1/2 to 4 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons potato flour (I didn’t have any, and they still worked out great, but I just bought some for next time)

Brown sugar butter filling:
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
(for an out of this world savory filling mix butter with a tablespoon or so chopped fresh rosemary and 1/2-1 teaspoon garlic salt)

Icing:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

  1. Warm your milk and pour it over your butter to melt it. Add the sugar and salt and let it cool slightly, then add your eggs, yeast, potato flour, and all-purpose flour – you want your dough to pull off the sides of your bowl, but not too dry, just workable.  You may need to add a little as you knead.
  2. Once you’ve mixed and kneaded your dough, let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size – this took me about an hour.  A good way to quickly check to see if your dough is ready is to press it with your finger. If the indentation remains without springing back, it’s ready to go.img_5329
  3. Roll your dough 1/2” thick. Using an English muffin ring, large biscuit cutter, or wide-mouth Mason jar lid, cut circles out of the dough.  Roll out your leftovers and get as many circles as you can out of your dough.
  4. To make the filling, just mix all the ingredients together until incorporated. Spread half of each circle generously with your filling then fold it and place it into your greased loaf pan.  I pushed them to one side then the other alternating to get more circles in, but stack them in however you like.
  5. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F and bake the loaf for 22 to 24 minutes. It should be golden brown all over. After 5 minutes or so turn your loaves out of the pans to cool on a rack.
  6. For the icing cook the evap milk, sugar, salt and flour until it starts to thicken, then add the butter vanilla and powdered sugar. You can sift the powdered sugar as you add it to avoid lumps, but I tend to just strain my icing after it’s done which is easier and it comes out beautifully lump free.  Drizzle onto your slightly cooled loaves.
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pull-apart sweet bread by twocarolines.com

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour pull-apart breads blog post

Grandma Ruth’s Cinnamon Rolls

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There is something so warm cozy and welcoming about a cinnamon roll, cinnamon rolls just want to love you, cinnamon rolls understand.  There are many versions of this beautiful pastry, but these are BY FAR the best I’ve ever tasted.  I was introduced to them from our sister Kristin who learned about them from our other sister Courtney who got the recipe from her husband Greg’s Grandma Ruth.  I never had the honor of meeting Grandma Ruth, but based on all accounts she was a character with a talent for cute one liners and cinnamon roll perfection.  The thing that makes these the most magical is….well, all of the things.  The dough is soft, but bouncy, not too sweet, and the filling has no strange flavors, it’s brown sugar and cinnamon, but perhaps the very most special ingredient is the really unique icing.  I’ve never met an icing like this one and PLEASE take the time to make it instead of wussing out on some easy sleazy pow sug and milk silliness.  You thicken it on the stove with sugar and flour then add the powdered sugar later.  It harden’s as it cools so it kind of closes in on your roll making it stay fresh longer, plus it allows you to easily freeze them individually and as Grandma Ruth used to say “zip ’em in the microphone for 20” to have a cinnamon that tastes like it just came out of the oven for weeks after the effort.  I have made a few adjustments, such as tripling the icing because a cinnamon roll without enough icing is truly tragic and I would never treat these sweet buns that way.  This is not the easiest thing on the planet to make but it’s not a finicky recipe, have fun with it, get your kids involved and don’t stress out.  They will turn out amazing and make for a magnificent morning guaranteed!

Rolls:
2 cups milk
2 rounded teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (cut up for easy melting)
2 beaten eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
6 1/2-8 cups flour (enough to make your dough curl and handle easily – I usually use about 8)

Cinnamon Filling:
5 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

Frosting:
1 cup sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
6-7 cups powdered sugar

1. Scald the milk, either on the stove or I usually just warm in up in a large (4 cup capacity) pyrex for 3 minutes so it’s really hot.  Add salt, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter to the milk and let stand until sugar and butter are dissolved and milk is no longer hot but just warm, -give this a mix before adding to your yeast mixture.

2.  In a separate bowl (I do this in a stand mixer) put your yeast into the 1/2 cup warm water and let sit with the extra teaspoon sugar until dissolved and starting to puff.  Add the two beaten eggs.  Next add milk mixture.  Combine and slowly add flour starting a few cups at a time but once you get to 6 cups slow down and watch how it curls and handles.  When your dough is ready it will start to pull off the sides of the bowl and stick more to itself than it does to your fingers.  It will still be a bit tacky, you don’t want it dry, just to the point where you can handle it.  It does not require a long knead, I just kneaded with the dough hook for about 4-5 minutes until all incorporated.

3.  Work dough into a ball and put into a lightly greased bowl covered for about an hour – until doubled.  Punch down once doubled and let them come back again about 15 minutes.  Divide dough into two and roll on a floured surface into a large rectangle.  Try to even up your corners as best you can.

4.  For the cinnamon filling melt the butter and use half for each half of dough – about 2 and a half tablespoons butter for each.  Spread out on your rectangle evenly then mix up your brown sugar and cinnamon and use half of this mixture over the butter reaching almost to the ends all over the dough.  Starting on a short side roll your dough rectangle into a nice tight rope and do your best to seal it at the end by pinching the dough into itself.  With a nice sharp knife cut rolls from your rope in about 1 1/2 inch sections and place them on a cookie sheet with either a silpat baking mat, parchment, or greased with butter or oil.  I just cut as many as my recipe makes instead of trying to do a set amount.  In my last batch I was able to make 35 total rolls.  Repeat step 4 with the other half of the dough.

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rolled out dough for cinnamon buns by twocarolines.com

5.  Preheat oven to 350.  Let the rolls rise under tea towels or plastic wrap for a good 20-30 minutes until nice and puffy.  Bake one cookie sheet at time for about 12-14 minutes.  Mine were done at 13.  You want them lightly browned and gorgeously puffed up.

6.  Make frosting – please don’t be lazy and do an easier frosting, the frosting for these is so unique and spectacular – it’s what makes them so super special!  In a large saucepan put evaporated milk, sugar, salt and flour.  Mix on medium heat until mixture is bubbling and thick.  Stirring constantly add butter vanilla and powdered sugar.  You might add a bit more powdered sugar to get desired consistency, but this magical icing hardens as it cools so don’t stress out about it.  Once it’s done, I pour it through a strainer and push it with a rubber spatula to get all the lumps out so it’s nice and pretty smooth.  You can also sift your powdered sugar as you add it, but this is too messy for me.  You could also just leave the lumps in, they taste fine, but are somewhat unsightly and won’t do if you’re a dessert blogger like me.  When they are hot out of the oven put icing on each bun generously, there should be enough to cover all your rolls easily.

7.  We always freeze what we don’t eat the first day in individual sandwich bags then heat them for 25 seconds and they taste incredible.  This magic icing doesn’t stick to plastic so they are easy to freeze.

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Grandma Ruth’s Cinnamon Rolls by twocarolines.com

 

 

 

Homemade Bagels

homemade bagels

homemade bagels

Of all the white carbs I adore, legit, chewy, fresh bagels have my whole heart.  Maybe you’re thinking “why would I make them, when I can easily just buy them?” but you’ve been decieved!  It’s actually really difficult to buy a legitimate bagel these days – the distinction being a bagel that is actually boiled before it’s baked.  Even some large bagel chains have switched from poaching to steaming, which is so weak sauce!  In order to achieve that super chewy texture that makes a bagel so much more special than circle shaped bread, they need to take a little bath in boiling water, trust me, it’s a difference you can taste.  The cool bonus is that they are quite easy to make and don’t require any super secret ingredients.  And think of how impressed the people at your table will be when you bust out these beauties!  I cut, wrap in plastic, and freeze anything we don’t eat the first day then we eat them for weeks by throwing them in the microwave on defrost for a minute or so.  I’m way to much of a bagel purist to ever toast a bagel (BLASPHEME!) But I won’t judge you if you choose to warm yours up that way, this is assuming of course that you have any left after the first day….

6-7 cups white bread flour (I’ve used all purpose flour with great results, bread flour just makes a little smoother texture, it’s’ not essential)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast – (I like this saf instant one that performs well mixed in with flour instead of needing to hang around in water)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar for poaching in water (the recipe uses malt, but I’ve never found that and sugar works beautifully)

  1. Combine the flour, salt and yeast together in a large bowl.  Start with 6 cups flour but be ready to add 7 depending on how much your dough will take.  Add the sugar and oil to the water in a different bowl.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the liquid, mixing to a dough with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  2. Knead the dough either by hand or with a dough hook, trying to add more flour as it kneads- you actually want a quite dry dough vs. normal bread and yes, your dough will be stiff, but knead for a good 10 minutes until you have a really smooth, elastic dough.  I use my kitchen-aid mixer with the dough hook and it takes about 11-12 minutes.
  3. Form the dough into a ball, and put it into an oiled bowl (I just use my kitchen-aid one) turning once to coat.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it to rise for about 1 hour.  It should be well risen, and when you poke it with your finger the impression should remain.
  4. Punch down the dough and give it a few kneads then divide it into 3 pieces.  Using your hands roll each piece into a rope then cut each rope into 5 fairly even pieces.  I line up my 3 ropes and cut with my pastry scraper that also helps me measure.
  5. Roll each piece into another rope and curl it around to form a ring.  Seal the ends by over-lapping them a little and pinching them together – I usually dip one side in a little water.
  6. At this point put a large pot of water to boil and once it’s boiling add your sugar.  Preheat your oven to 500 – I know it’s hot, but that’s what your bagels want!
  7. Set the bagel on baking sheets, cover with tea towels and leave for about 25 minutes by which time they should be puffy.
  8. To poach your bagels drop a couple at a time (I do 3-4 because I use a large pot) into the water and boil for only about 1 minute turning once.  I use a slotted spoon for this which works great.
  9. As you poach them put them back on your baking sheet that is either oiled or has a silpat on it.
  10. Bake for about 10 minutes or until they’re shiny and golden brown.  Let cool for a good 10 minutes, but they are incredible served warm.
  11. Note:  You are welcome to get creative with toppings etc.  I like to sprinkle a coarse salt/flour mixture on some and it’s also yummy to do a cinnamon sugar/butter combo on top as well.  If I have time I will even mix my last 5 with various things like chocolate chips, blueberries or cranberries before I boil them.  They always turn out tasty but some of my combinations make them look a little busted.  Do what sounds good to you!

Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson How To Be a Domestic Goddess

homemade bagel sandwich

homemade bagel sandwich

Homemade Hamburger Buns

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Homemade Hamburger Buns by twocarolines.com

Burgers are a subject we feel quite strongly about in the King family.  It’s one of those foods that we not only love to eat out, but we make an incredible burger at home – and of course the secret is in the bun!  This is a pretty easy way to elevate your Memorial Day burger game on a whole nother level.  It makes burgers on store bought buns seem so sad and pedestrian by comparison.  I’ve been using this recipe for years, sometimes I make half burger buns and half hot dog buns and we grill both.  However you choose to shape them they are guaranteed to make the most memorable Memorial day meal you’ve ever had!

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups (maybe a bit more) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter (to go on top before they go in the oven)

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl if mixing by hand) stir the yeast into the warm water, and let sit 3-5 minutes until dissolved.
  2. In a separate bowl (I use a large pyrex measuring cup) whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt.  Add this to the yeast mixture and stir until combined.  Add all the flour and stir (use dough hook on stand mixer) until it forms a shaggy dough.  Knead at a low speed (or on the counter if mixing by hand) for a good 10 minutes.  The finished dough should be smooth, feel slightly tacky and spring back when pushed.
  3. Spray mixing bowl then return dough to mixing bowl and cover.  Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about an hour.  IMG_1150
  4. Dust your work surface with flour and turn out risen dough on top.  Divide the dough into 8 pieces.  I just roll it into a burrito, cut 4 even chunks and then cut those in half to make 8.  Shape each into a tight ball.  Transfer dough balls to a lined baking sheet and preheat oven to 375 while those rise until they are puffy and hamburger sized, about 30-40 minutes.
  5. Melt the butter and brush it over the risen buns.  Bake until they are nice and golden brown – a good 13-16 minutes.  Let them cool for at least 30 minutes until slicing, they will slice better closer to room temperature.  Enjoy!

 

I wrote this recipe down years ago and I have no idea where I got it – so if it’s yours, let me know and sorry for not giving you props!

St. Lucia Saffron Buns (Lussebullar)

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One of the benefits of living in Berlin is being so close to other cultures that I haven’t been exposed to previously. In my time here, I’ve made good friends with a wonderful (and of course very attractive, as northern europeans tend to be) Swedish couple. Girl Swede and I like to get together and bake during the week and she is always introducing me to her amazing traditional Swedish recipes. On December 13th, the Swedes celebrate St. Lucia Day and these buns are a traditional confection that accompanies the holiday. You know I’m down for any holiday that comes with it’s own special food! Bring on the light crowns and long live the Swedes!

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6 ounces butter, melted
2 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
3/4 teaspoon saffron threads (or 1 gram of saffron powder)
1 cup sugar
1.7 ounces fresh yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup quark or full-fat greek yogurt
2 pounds wheat flour, or as needed
Raisins, for garnish (Girl Swede and I like more raisins throughout the roll, so we added a handful or two to the dough)
Beaten egg, for brushing

 

Place the butter and milk in a medium bowl. Using a mortar and pestle (or a teaspoon and small bowl, since that’s all we had), grind the saffron with a pinch of the sugar, and stir into the mixture. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in a little of the lukewarm butter mixture, then add the remaining butter mixture, the remaining sugar, quark or greek yogurt, the salt and raisins as desired.

Gradually add enough of the flour (almost all of it) to make a workable dough, kneading for 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes in a mixer with a dough hook. Shape into a ball, sprinkle with a little flour and cover with a cloth. Allow to rise in a warm spot for 30 to 45 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, and knead in additional flour if the dough is sticky. Break off a piece and form it into a ball about 2 inches wide (60 to 70 grams if you are weighing). Roll the ball out into a snake, about 14 inches long. Then curl the ends in opposite directions, forming an “S” with spirals at each end. Place on a lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough shapes double in size, 30-45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400.

Brush the buns with beaten egg, and press raisins lightly into the dough. Bake until golden and risen, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a bun comes out dry. Smaller buns may take 8 to 10 minutes; larger lengths and braids, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool the buns on a rack under a cloth.

Recipe adapted from The New York Times

Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Pecan Sticky Buns

IMG_9011Do you have a house full of people and need some good breakfast ideas?   Are you on a Thanksgiving sugar high and not ready to get down?  Or do you just want to eat the best breakfast EVER?  We’ve got you covered.  It might sound like putting whole wheat into your sticky buns would make for a dense texture and unwelcome taste, but trust us, these are all light, fluffy and poppin off flavor like nobody’s business.  Also, unlike their white flour contemporaries they taste amazing for days.  And there must be some great health benefit in whole wheat, even if you do dress it up with a little butter and sugar right?

Dough –

2 tablespoons butter melted and cooled

1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour

3/4 cup all purpose flour

2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ

1 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup warm water

1 large egg beaten

Filling/Topping

1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons butter softened plus more for pan

1 cup packed light brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt 

2/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Directions:

  1. Dough – brush a medium bowl with butter (or cooking spray) set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough attachment, combine flours, wheat germ, yeast, salt, brown sugar, water, egg, and butter.  Mix on medium-low speed, scraping sides and bottom of bowl once, until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  IMG_9010
  2. Filling/ Topping – Brush a 9 inch round cake pan (I usually use a 9.5 which works great) with butter; set aside.  In a medium bowl, sitr together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, until smooth and fluffy.  Spread half the mixutre over the bottom of the pan; sprinkle with half the pecans.
  3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Gently roll into a 10-by-14 inch rectangle.  If it’s not exact that’s okay – I use this handy dough scraper to cut my rolls off and measure.  With an offset spatula, spread remaining brown-sugar mixture on top, leaving a 1/4 inch boarder.  Sprinkle with remaining pecans.  Starting at the long edge, roll up dough like a jelly roll, then cut crosswise into 10 pieces.  Place pieces in a pan cut side down, spaced evenly.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until buns are just touching and almost doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake buns until golden brown and topping is bubbling around the sides of the pan, about 25 minutes.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes.  With a serving plate centered over pan, hold plate and pan together and carefully flip over.  Lift off pan and scrape out any remaining topping onto buns.  Serve immediately.  Keep leftovers and room temperature wrapped in plastic.  15 seconds in the microwave will make your leftovers taste like new!

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Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living – Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Sticky Buns