Be sure to swing by, say hi, and grab some tasty treats.
These are some of the goodies that will be available for purchase while supplies last. If you’d like to preorder, send an email to CasualConfections@gmail.com. You can pay via invoice or pay day-of in cash. Your order will be ready for you to pick up at the table.
The ooey gooey topping of a sticky bun along with the crunch of the pecans is a combination of flavors and textures that is difficult to beat. I decided to try my hand at making my own version this holiday season. As baking goes when you have family around, distractions happen which lead to mistakes, which lead to lessons learned.
This go-round, my misstep was not separating out the butter I needed for the different steps of the buns. Instead, I had all of the butter sitting out to reach room temperature and didn’t section the amounts off as I typically do. Can you see where this is going? When everything was ready, I excitedly started making the dough. When it came time to knead, it was a silky texture but seemed a bit wetter than expected. I was still excited thinking about the soft flaky texture of the rolls. The moment I put the dough into the oven for its first rise, it hit me. I had added all of the butter – the butter for the filling and for the topping as well as that for the dough. Nothing left to do at that point other than see what happens, right?
Since the dough was so buttery, some separation occurred during the rise but folded back in fine during the kneading. Adding more butter for the filling onto the already over-buttered dough had my laughing pretty hard. I love butter, especially on white breads, but this seemed excessive. After rolling and cutting the rolls, I noticed they didn’t fill out the pan as nicely as I’ve seen in photos. Maybe it will change when they go in for their second rise… They kind of did, but there was still room for the topping to rise up instead of it being trapped beneath the dough. That meant that while baking the rolls, much of the topping boiled over the sides and onto the oven. This resulted in quite the mix of amazing smells and burnt smells in the kitchen. In hindsight, I should have tried to bake the rolls longer since they were so moist. I also waited too long to turn the rolls out as the topping mostly stuck to the pan and not the rolls. Nothing some scooping out and plopping on top couldn’t fix.
All said and done, the rolls turned out ok, a bit dense but ok. Now my first attempt at them is done and I learned a lot of what to do and what not to do for next time. These rolls are actually super easy to make (when you pay attention) and I’m really excited to add these to my repertoire.
Dough 1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into 4 pieces
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more to flour work surface
Heat milk to about 95ºF. Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a mixer with the dough hook attached. Whisk in the sugar and yeast. Cover with a towel and let rest for 5-10 minutes, until foamy.
On low speed, beat in the softened butter until it is slightly broken up. Then add the eggs one at a time. The butter won’t really mix into the mixtures, so don’t be alarmed.
On low, gradually add the flour. Once it’s all added, beat the mixture on medium high until dough is soft and supple, about 6 mins.
Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead with hands for 1 min. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough loosely and let sit in a warm place* for 1-2 hrs, or until doubled in size. (*can heat oven to 200ºF, turn oven off, then place bowl into warm oven)
Topping 2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
Grease the bottom and sides of a 9″x13″ baking dish. Spread pecans in an even layer in the pan. Set aside. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted, then bring to a boil for 3 mins. Remove from heat and pour on top of the pecans. Set aside.
(back to dough) Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly flour surface and roll it out into a 12″x18″ rectangle. Make sure dough is smooth and even.
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Spread softened butter all over the dough (since the dough is still generating heat, the butter will further soften once placed on the dough, so bits that are harder to spread will spread more easily if they’re let to sit for a minute). Top evenly with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Tightly roll up the dough to form an 18″-long log. Cut the log into 12 even rolls. Arrange them in baking pan. Cover tightly with foil and let rise in a warm environment (could be the same oven) for 30-40 mins.
(remove rising dough from oven but leave it covered) Preheat oven to 375°F. Place uncovered rolls in oven and bake for 25 mins or until golden brown. If some parts are browning more quickly than others, cover the rolls loosely with foil to slow down the browning.
I’ve been on a maple kick lately and fudge has been on my add-to-skills list for a long time. When I came across McCormick Spice’s recipe for maple pecan fudge, I knew this would be the first fudge I tried to make. While the recipe seems relatively simple, I ran into an issue or two that resulted in less of a fudge consistency and more of a maple sugar candy. The good news is that it is insanely delicious and no one has complained about it not being more fudge-like. I have a few notes on things to be mindful of on my next attempt but I plan to duplicate this happy accident in the future, too.
Maple pecan fudge
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into chunks
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 Tbsp maple extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, divided (1 cup and 1/2 cup)
Line an 8” pan with non-stick foil (or regular foil and non-stick spray), allowing the foil to extend over the sides of the pan.
Mix the evaporated milk, Brown sugar, and butter in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, stirring consistently. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring frequently until mixture reaches 236°F on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage). This will take around 30 mins. (My mixture sat under 220°F for a majority of this time and took longer than 30 mins on med-low heat to reach soft ball stage). Mixture will darken in color as it cooks. Remove from heat.
Gradually beat in confectioner’s sugar with electric mixer on low speed. Increase to medium speed and beat until thickened and smooth. (Be careful not to over-beat. I’m pretty sure I did.) Stir in extracts and 1 cup of pecans. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of pecans.
Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. Use foil to lift out of pan and onto cutting board. Cut into small squares. Store in refrigerator.
A neighbor recently had a birthday and had one request for me: one of my baked goods and maple flavor. Maple is a favorite of mine so I happily looked up several different maple desserts before finding a drool-inducing cake recipe from Betty Crocker: https://www.bettycrocker.com/…/7b978598-581f-4e07-9485-2e9f…. I knew I had to match the perfect glaze to this cake and found a cinnamon version of a glaze I had done before on Gonna Want Seconds: https://www.gonnawantseconds.com/…/pumpkin-cake-with-cinna…/. The feedback on this cake was amazing! It’s quick and easy to make with flavor that will put a smile on any maple-lover’s face.
Maple Pecan Cake with Cinnamon Glaze
1 box of yellow cake mix (regular or super moist)
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup maple syrup (or maple-flavored syrup)
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
To toast pecans – Place pecans on a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350F for about 5 mins. Take them out when they become fragrant. Be careful not to over-bake as they burn easily.
Preheat or keep oven at 350F.
Generously grease and lightly flour a bundt pan. In a large bowl, beat cake ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds then on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally. Pour batter into pan and bake for 47-53 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (mine was good after 47 mins). Cool for 10 mins before removing from the pan. Remove from the pan and let cool on a rack for about 2 hours.