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Season 17, Episode 7 Recap: How to Make the Ultimate Sticky Buns

Plus Jack and Bridget discuss the merits of almond butter, and Adam Ried reviews Belgian waffle irons.
By Published Feb. 20, 2017

Host Julia Collin Davison kicks off the episode by confessing that she’s never been that big a fan of sticky buns, to which host Bridget Lancaster says, “I bet you’ve never had a real sticky bun.” And so, Bridget sets out to convince Julia that our recipe for sticky buns is not only worth making, but also is the recipe that will change her mind. (What exactly is a sticky bun? Learn more on what differentiates sticky buns from their close cousins, cinnamon buns and honey buns.) Later, Adam Ried gets to the bottom of what makes a good Belgian waffle iron, and Jack Bishop convinces Bridget that almond butter is a worthy substitute for peanut butter.

America's Test Kitchen TV

"The Ultimate Sticky Buns"

Hosts Julia Collin Davison and Bridget Lancaster head into the test kitchen to uncover the secrets to making the ultimate Sticky Buns at home. Next, tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges Bridget to a tasting of Almond Butter. And finally, equipment expert Adam Ried reviews waffle irons in the equipment corner.  
Watch the Episode

Five Takeaways from the Episode

1. When Making Sticky Buns, Be Sure to Weigh Your Flour. Weighing flour is much more accurate than measuring it by volume, and it can make a big difference when baking, especially when baking delicious sticky buns. [Read our review of digital kitchen scales | Buy our winning digital kitchen scale on Amazon] 

2. The Process of Letting Dough Rest Is Called Autolyse. Autolyse allows for gluten development. Always add salt to dough after the dough has gone through autolyse because salt pulls moisture out of the dough, inhibiting the formation of gluten. (Why is gluten so important? Watch the video below and find out.) 

3. The Temperature Sweet Spot for a Good Belgian Waffle Iron is Between 400 and 435 Degrees. Anything below 400 degrees, and you get a sad, pale, gummy waffle. Anything above 435 degrees, and you get a piece of cardboard masquerading as a waffle. [Read our review of Belgian waffle irons | Buy our winning Belgian waffle iron on Amazon] 

Best Buttermilk Waffles

Our recipe for crisp, fluffy buttermilk waffles starts with replacing some of the buttermilk with a combination of powdered buttermilk and seltzer, which inflates the batter. Adding some baking soda to the recipe gave us buttermilk waffles that were perfectly browned.   
See the Recipe

4. Most Almond Butter Isn’t Made Just from Almonds. Most brands include some kind of oil—usually palm oil or hydrogenated vegetable oil—to prevent separation. And some brands include salt and sugar (some, however, do not). Our tasters preferred brands that included some salt and some sugar. [Read our review of almond butter | Buy our winning almond butter on Amazon]

5. Instant-Read Thermometers Aren’t Just for Temping Meat. You’ll want to cook your sticky buns to an internal temperature of 200 degrees, and the best way to make sure you’ve hit your mark is by temping them with an instant-read thermometer. [Read our review of instant-read thermometers | Buy our winning instant-read thermometer]

Quote of the Week: “Well Bridget, these look absolutely terrible.” Julia Collin Davison, sarcastically, while admiring a pan of sticky buns after Bridget’s big reveal.

Director's Cut: 

Can't wait for next week's episode? Get your fill with our past episode recaps: 

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