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Golfeados (Venezuelan Sticky Buns)
Recipe adapted from Manuel Sulbarán, Harry's Pizzeria, Miami, FL
Yield: About 18 sticky buns
Cook Time: 35 minutes
9 tablespoons unsalted butter (4 tablespoons melted and 5 tablespoons at room temperature)
2 cups whole milk
1½ tablespoons fresh yeast (1½ teaspoons granulated yeast can be substituted)
1 cup granulated sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3½ cups grated panela or piloncillo sugar (light brown sugar can be substituted)
2 cups finely grated Pecorino cheese
2 tablespoons whole aniseeds
½ cup water
¾ pound fresh mozzarella or queso de mano, sliced into 18 thin rounds
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚. Butter a 3-by-9 inch baking with 1 tablespoon of the room-temperature butter. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the milk and heat until the milk registers 125° on an instant-read thermometer.
2. In a large bowl, add the yeast and the granulated sugar. Pour in the warm milk-butter mixture and whisk to combine. Add the 4 tablespoons of melted butter to the milk mixture and stir to combine.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the 5 cups of flour and the salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture and use a rubber spatula to fold just to combine. Add the eggs and stir to combine.
4. Lightly dust a work surface with all-purpose flour and turn the dough out onto the work surface. Use your hands to knead the dough, flouring the surface frequently so the dough doesn't stick, until the dough is very soft and smooth, about 5 minutes. Lightly flour a rolling pin and roll the dough into a 12-by-24-inch rectangle, about ¼ inch thick. Spread the remaining 4 tablespoons of room-temperature butter across the surface of the dough with an offset spatula and sprinkle evenly with 1½ cups of the panela. Sprinkle the grated Pecorino over the top in an even layer, then sprinkle the aniseeds evenly over the cheese.
5. Beginning on the longer end of the dough, roll the dough up into a tight cylinder. Place the cylinder seam side down on the work surface and use a sharp knife or pastry cutter to cut the roll into eighteen 1½-inch slices. Place the slices evenly into the buttered baking pan and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place for 1 hour; the dough should rise and puff slightly.
6. Place the sticky buns in the oven and bake until they are puffed and lightly brown, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add the remaining 2 cups of the panela and the water and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the buns from the oven and use a spoon to drizzle half of the sugar-water mixture over the hot buns. Top each bun with a slice of mozzarella and spoon the remaining glaze over the top. Serve the buns warm.