Skis and Christmas Sticky Buns.

Have I mentioned that I L-O-V-E cinnamon?

On Christmas morning, the Birthday Boy rose early to enjoy some of Park City’s fresh powder before the holiday truly kicked into high gear. He packed up his faithful companion and headed off to play in his happy place.

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So I headed to mine- the kitchen.

After a chilly morning of skiing, I thought some hot, gooey cinnamon sticky buns would be the perfect happy birthday surprise for my sweet hubby. Plus, I was craving them. Win-win!

You guys won’t believe how easy these are. Thank you, Ina Garten, for yet another fabulous go-to recipe. Got a full house of guests? This is a total crowd-pleaser, any time of year. I started by beating brown sugar and butter together. If that’s where we begin, wherever we end is sure to bring a smile!

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The buns bake in a standard 12-cup muffin tin. A big old dollop of the brown sugar butter fills up the bottom of each one, followed by a sprinkling of chopped pecans.

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The genius part of these sticky buns is that you use refrigerated puff pastry dough! It comes out of the fridge ready to unfold and be covered in the delicious filling. Hint: it’s smart to have some flour on the surface before you lay out the dough.

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Be nice to the dough by brushing melted butter all over it. Sprinkle a generous helping of brown sugar, and- my favorite!– plenty of cinnamon. Here, you can add raisins, more nuts, even dried cranberries- but I kept it simple for this batch.

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Roll that dough right up into a tube, and don’t worry if some of the filling falls out- you can sprinkle it on top later. Slice up the tube evenly and place each spiral a muffin cup. Look at these little guys!

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About this time, I started receiving pictures on my phone from a certain SKI DOG in my household. I got the word that my beloved duo was headed back toward home!

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This gave me JUST enough time to bake the sticky buns! The muffin tin should be placed on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper to bake- you’re going to want someplace for the sticky part to land! 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven is all it takes for AMAZINGNESS.

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Let the browned muffins sit in the muffin tin for five minutes before flipping the whole shebang upside down- the sticky buns fall out onto the parchment paper, the oozy caramelized brown sugar and pecans dripping down over them. You might have to coax the sweet sauce out with a spoon- and be sure that you do. You’ll want every last bit.

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The incredible aroma of freshly baked cinnamon rolls greeted John when he walked in the door, as did his festive wife (disguised as a cheerful reindeer).

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And guess what we learned? On Christmas morning, after a chilly ski with a rein-dog, these warm sticky buns are perfection when served with eggnog. Flaky, sweet, sticky, and cinnamon-y. Delish.

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Merry Christmas to us.

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Sticky Buns via Barefoot Contessa

You’ll need:

  • 1 ½ sticks butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 package frozen puff pastry dough, defrosted

The filling:

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Raisins, dried cranberries, additional nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Blend 1 ½ sticks butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar with a mixer. Place one rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each cup. Sprinkle pecans evenly in the cups on top of the butter.

Flour a countertop and unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of brown sugar and 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon. Roll pastry snuggly into a tube, finishing with seam side down. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, placing each spiral in 6 muffin cups. Repeat with second sheet of puff pastry to fill 12 cups.

Bake for 30 minutes until the sticky buns are browned. Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, then flip the buns onto the parchment paper (ease remaining nuts and filling onto the buns with a spoon.

Best if served warm and with eggnog on Christmas morning. YUM.

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