Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns
I set out years ago to make peace with food. I knew there had to be a way of reconciling my deep love for baking and cooking with my internalized fears about eating and fatness. There were countless times that I never wanted to see a sweet again, countless times I went on a diet or didn’t eat for days because I baked cookies and ate some. Countless times I considered giving up baking altogether. I can say here and now that I am firmly on the path of making peace with food. People often ask me how I can bake all the time and not eat it all or gain weight. The answer is that I do eat a lot of it and some times I do gain weight. But the important thing is that I don’t restrict any kinds of foods, I eat cookies all the time! At this point, after so many years of practice, they still taste amazing but they don’t have the power over me that they used to.
I do want to make it clear however, that while I faced many challenges and still do, my challenges are those of an able bodied, thin woman with white skin. Others who are recovering from eating disorders may deal with different issues like weight discrimination at the doctor’s office. Because believe it or not, it is possible to have an eating disorder in a larger body. In many ways, I am advantaged, with access to mental health care, financial resources, and social and cultural capital.
Like many things in my life I wasn’t sure were worth it, I went into eating disorder recovery not knowing if it was possible. I went on blind faith, refusing to believe that the rest of my life would be lived in a prison of my (and society’s) own making.
And I definitely still struggle with food and my body. It wasn’t a choice to develop an eating disorder but I did consciously make the choice to challenge my damaging ideas and fears, and commit to therapy and myself for over 10 years. Here’s to a life free from eating and food restrictions.
Pumpkin Pecan Sticky Buns
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
3/4 cup half and half or whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg, room temperature
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans
Warm up half and half in microwave or on stovetop until it feels warm to the touch. In bowl of a stand mixer combine the yeast, milk, and sugar. Let sit for a few minutes for the yeast to activate.
Add butter, egg, and pumpkin puree. Mix until combined.
Place bowl on stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment and add all dry ingredients (flours, cinnamon, ginger, and salt). Mix for 4 to 5 minutes until dough is smooth and comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours until dough is about doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. When dough is doubled in size, remove from bowl and roll out into a large rectangle, roughly 12 inches by 18 inches in size. Brush butter or use your hands to smooth butter for the filling evenly across the rectangle. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread evenly on top of the butter. Roll up the dough like a long cigar. Cut into 12 rolls.
For the topping, melt butter and stir in brown sugar. In a 9x13 inch pan, pour in the butter and brown sugar mixture. Scatter toasted chopped pecans on top. Place each of the 12 rolls into the pan, leaving even space between each. Let rise for another 45 minutes.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool five minutes and then invert onto a large serving platter. Enjoy enjoy!