This is a great recipe based on cream biscuits. Normally, sticky buns are made with yeast dough, which scares off lots of folks. These are blessedly yeast-free. But you don’t have to tell your brunch guests. Let them assume that you got up at the crack of dawn to give the dough time to rise.
Makes 18 Small Buns
For the buns
To make the buns, place the cherries in a small bowl and add the rum. Pour in 1/4 cup hot water and set aside until the cherries are softened, about 20 minutes. Drain well.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Sift the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Pour in 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups cream, or just enough to form a dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough gently 3 times and roll into a rectangle that measures 18 inches long and 10 inches wide. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the dough. Sprinkle on the cinnamon and the drained cherries.
Beginning with a long side, roll up the dough tightly, jelly roll fashion, and use a sharp knife to cup 1-inch-thick slices. Fit the slices, cut side up, into the pan with the glaze and gently press down. Bake for 20 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the dough comes out clean.
Heat the remaining ¼ cup honey and pour it evenly over the top of the buns. Cool completely before serving.
I love those little measuring cups that I use on the show. When you have to measure 2 or 3 tablespoons, it is tedious to use a regular tablespoon measure. With these cups, you can measure 2 or 3 tablespoons at one time. They are made by OXO and you can find them in most kitchenware stores or on line:
Back in the days when I worked in Gourmet’s test kitchen, I was assigned an article on biscuits. I proceeded as if it were a science experiment. Starting with no preconceptions, I worked with all kinds of ingredients in all kinds of combinations in my quest to produce the most tender, delicious end product. I tried buttermilk, cream, milk, butter, and shortening in various combinations and settled on just cream, which did double duty as the best provider of both liquid and fat.
This would not have come as news to James Bears, whose cream biscuits had long been famous, but I had to find out for myself. My test kitchen colleagues agreed with me, and the biscuits became the starting point for many other recipes, including these apricot scones.
Always a smash in the Gourmet dining room, these scones are so easy to make that we used to bake them to order and serve them hot. I recommend you do the same.
By the way, try to get California apricots. They have a much brighter, sunnier taste than the more widely available Turkish variety.
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