Pecan Sticky Buns

Perhaps no pastry requires more napkins or inspires cravings more than homemade pecan sticky buns. They’re warm, gooey and soft in all the right places—and absolutely delicious.

After years of customer requests, we’re launching our own based on Leslie’s recipe for her homemade brunch favorite. We make them by layering our slightly sweet and pillowy brioche dough with toasted pecans and cinnamon sugar, tightly rolling it, then baking it upside down on a rich brown sugar and butter caramel with orange zest and vanilla. We invert the rolls while still warm, causing deep swirls of caramel to run through the bun leaving the pecans gooey and proud on top.

The silky not-too-sweet roll has a light, tender crumb that provides a divine contrast to the toffee-like caramel and crunch of toasted pecans.

The Pecan Sticky Buns are available individually in our retail cafés and as a four-pack. They are best served warm (5–8 minutes in a 325°F oven).

Darker Crust, Exceptional Flavor

Flour, yeast, water, salt. That’s it. And yet, so many varieties of bread. We’ve been experimenting with these four essential ingredients—plus time, temperature and technique—ever since we first hung a Macrina Bakery sign over the door of our original bakery and café in Belltown in 1993. That’s a lot of loaves, a great many early mornings, a mountain of flour. The one constant: our desire to make great bread.

And that means never losing your sense of wonder over the marvel that is bread.

Increasingly, we’ve added wheat from local farmers. Cairnspring Mills in nearby Skagit Valley mills it to our specifications. We’ve spent some time exploring how hydration and fermentation impact different flours and have enjoyed the results of recent bread additions to our offerings. Beginning July 15, we will bake many of our loaves at a higher temperature. The deep caramelization of the crust adds a depth of flavor that you can’t get any other way. The higher oven temperature also produces a creamier crumb and a crackly crust. The moist interior also helps the bread keep better.

When Macrina Bakery first opened, we had a small four-door electric Bongard oven. Now we have much bigger ovens and many more loaves to bake. But Leslie Mackie, Macrina’s founder, and Head Baker Phuong Bui, who has been with us since that first year, still oversee every element of our production. It’s fun to see them so excited about a loaf of bread, the way the crust crackles when you break into it, the texture of the crumb, and what one can do with just four simple ingredients.

Now Serving: Rustic Ready-To-Bake Pizza

Our growing line of grab-and-go savory items has given our customers a quick and easy way to put healthy, flavorful meals together. Our newest item is a Rustic Ready-To-Bake Pizza. 

This is not your typical frozen pizza! We form the crisp and flavorful crust from our Giuseppe dough and top it with our house tomato sauce, mozzarella and parmesan. 

Years ago, we offered a pizzetta in our cafés, and it was a customer favorite,” says Leslie. This is an adaptation from that, and Ive been really loving this new version,” says Leslie. We made it simple so you can dress it up with your favorite toppings at home. Lately, for me, its been prosciutto and roasted asparagus. But it’s also great just as it is.” 

The pizza bakes in 15–18 minutes, depending on how many toppings you add, and feeds two. 

Macrina Gift Sets: Gift Ideas That Won’t Miss the Mark

You know that feeling when someone with the best intentions gives you a gift that you’ll never use? Even as you’re saying thank you, you know where you’ll put it—the shelf in the back of your closet with the other gifts waiting for your next white elephant gift exchange. As amusing as those are, you never want to see one a gift you’ve given be the subject of so much laughter.

With that in mind, we’ve designed two gift sets—one salty, one sweet—that you won’t miss the mark. In fact, we suspect they’ll be devoured before the new year!The Macrina Mug Gift Set features our new flower-design mug, ideal for coffee or tea, a pouch of our house-made Vanilla Sugar, and four of our Brown Sugar Shortbread Star Cookies.

The Macrina Artisan Appetizer Gift Set is an impromptu appetizer party in a box. It contains our Thin-cut Rye Crostini, a Mole Salami stick made by Coro, Apricot Conserves by Project Barnstorm, and Ritrovo’s Squashed Green Olives with Truffle. One of the crostini with a thin slice of salami and a dollop of the conserves is a salty-sweet combination that will send you to the moon. The tender green olives from Abruzzo, packed in olive oil with flecks of aromatic truffle, make the perfect salty chaser. All that’s missing is your favorite cocktail or glass of wine.The Macrina Mug Gift Set

• Macrina’s new flower-design coffee mug

• House-made Vanilla Sugar

• Four-Pack of Brown Sugar Shortbread Star Cookies

The Macrina Artisan Appetizer Gift Set

• Thin-cut Rye Crostini

• Coro Mole Salami Stick

• Project Barnstorm Apricot Conserves

• Squashed Green Olives with Truffle

December Recipe of the Month: Babka French Toast

We make our Chocolate Babka just a few times a year: Rosh Hashanah, Christmas and New Year’s. The loaf is rich like brioche bread, with an added swirl of chocolate glaze and roasted pecans. It’s delicious simply toasted with butter, but for a special brunch, use it as a base for French toast and serve it with your favorite breakfast sausage, raspberries and sweetened whipped cream!

-Leslie Mackie

Ingredients:
Serves 4

1 loaf Macrina Chocolate Pecan Babka
1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract, divided
3 eggs
2½ cups whole milk
1 Tbsp brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
1 pint fresh raspberries
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
Maple syrup (optional)

Directions:

Remove the Chocolate Pecan Babka from its paper mold. Cut into 8 even slices. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the whipping cream, granulated sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Whip for 2 to 3 minutes to form medium peaks and cool in the refrigerator until needed.

Make the custard: In a medium bowl, add the eggs, milk, brown sugar and remaining vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.

Submerge the sliced bread into the custard and soak for 1 minute, flipping them half way through so both sides are evenly coated. Place soaked slices on a plate and set aside.

Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add just enough canola oil to coat the base of the pan. When the pan is hot (but not smoking), carefully transfer the soaked bread to the pan, fitting as many in as you can without crowding. Sauté for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Flip to cook evenly on both sides. Repeat this process until all 8 slices are cooked.

Place 2 slices on each plate. Cut each slice on the bias and fan the four pieces across the plate. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream, fresh raspberries and a dusting of sifted powdered sugar. If you choose, serve with warm maple syrup (it’s divine). Enjoy!

Printable PDF here.

Flaky Pie Dough Four Ways

Our Flaky Pie Dough is the most frequently prepared recipe in our pastry department—and has been since the day we opened our doors in Belltown in 1993! The dough is perfect for so many kinds of baking, from savory quiche to double-crusted pies to classic tarts.Now, for the first time, we are selling our Flaky Pie Dough in our cafés. The dough is frozen in discs and sold in a two-pack. Each 12 oz. disc rolls out to make a ten-inch tart or a nine-inch pie shell. Or you can use the two discs together to create a double-crusted pie.

Your imagination is the limit for what you can make with our Flaky Pie Dough. To get you started, we’ve included three inspiring suggestions and one of our favorite new recipes with an accompanying video of Leslie showing you how to make it.

Stop by one of our cafés and grab a few of these. When inspiration strikes, you’ll appreciate the time-saving benefits of having these at the ready.Banana Nutella Hand Pies: With our pie dough, simple hand-pies are as easy to make as the filling inside. Start with the mouthwatering combination of bananas and Nutella (what could be easier?) and work your way up through your favorite sweet and savory combinations. Simply roll the dough out and cut 5-inch circles. Add your filling, fold the dough over, and crimp the edges. Bake at 400°F for 20–25 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

Savory Galette with Butternut squash, Roasted Pear and Gorgonzola: Shortly after opening, Leslie introduced savory free-form folded tarts or galettes, and they quickly became customer favorites. This galette is a seasonal adaptation of the one on page 203 of our first cookbook. With the pie dough already made, it’s easy to turn out an elegant lunch. Or cut the galette into small slices and serve it as an appetizer.Harvest Pie: This winter pie is one Leslie serves at her home alongside pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. It’s also one of our most requested recipes. Our Flaky Pie Crust forms the bottom crust and the top is an almond streusel. You’ll find the recipe in our first cookbook on page 249.

Macrinas Holiday Tart: With our frozen pie dough, this festive tart is a breeze to make. It’s both beautiful to look at and makes a refreshingly delicious end to a holiday meal. The tart cranberries find balance in the sweet filling and pecans add texture and flavor. Orange zest and a dash of brandy give it some zing. Find the video tutorial below!

Ingredients:
Makes one 10” tart

One 12 oz. disc of Macrina Pie Dough

1 cup chopped pecans, roasted

3 eggs

⅔ cups light brown sugar

⅔ cups corn syrup

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

2 tsp orange zest

½ tsp salt

1 Tbsp brandy

1½ cups fresh cranberries

1 Tbsp powdered sugar

Directions:

Thaw 1 disc of Macrina pie dough for 2 to 3 hours at room temperature. On a floured work surface, roll dough into a 14-inch circle that’s about an eighth-inch thick.

Fold dough in half and lift on to a 10-inch fluted tart pan. Drop dough into pan and flatten at base of pan and edges. With the remaining overhang, fold into the pan to create an edge that stands a half-inch above the top of the pan. With your hand, smooth the crust edge to a consistent thickness. Chill for 30 minutes in freezer.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill it with baking weights or beans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the base appears dry. Remove the beans and let the shell cool.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.

Place the baked shell on a rimmed baking sheet. Add the pecans and cranberries to the tart shell and spread them so they’re evenly distributed.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, orange zest, salt and brandy together until well combined. Pour the mixture over the pecans and cranberries. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. When done, the center of the tart will be set and golden brown.

Let cool for 30 minutes. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

A Granola Worth Celebrating

Granola, according to Wikipedia, was invented in 1863 by Dr. James Caleb Jackson as a food to serve at a health spa in New York. A century later, granola became a staple of the hippy culture in the 1960s and then went mainstream in the 1970s when the Quaker Oats Company, General Mills, and Kellogg’s got involved.

For most of us today, granola is a commodity—a cereal, sometimes dessert-like sweet, modestly healthy, to be eaten for breakfast or while hiking. Most commercial granola is highly flavored and fatty and often overly sweet, a far cry from Dr. Jackson’s original health food.

At Macrina, we sought to create a granola that matched our desires: healthy, energy-rich, flavorful, tasty enough to eat by the handful, and crunchy. Of course, rolled oats would be part of it, but there were so many other whole grains, nuts, seeds and dried fruits to consider. And so many oils to choose from! At our test kitchen, we assembled a grand array of quality choices and started experimenting. We kept at it: adding, then subtracting, then adding again. Baking longer at lower temperatures, then baking hotter and quicker.

Finally, we settled on a recipe we’re proud to call our own. It’s loaded with thick-cut golden oats, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, quinoa, pecans and dried tart and sweet cherries. Brown sugar and maple syrup add a subtle sweetness. Extra virgin olive oil and cinnamon and just enough salt add depth of flavor. It’s perfectly crunchy and addictive enough that you have to be careful when you start to eat it by the handful, but it’s not overly sweet. We even think Dr. Jackson would be as proud to serve it at his health spa as we are at the café. We recommend it on yogurt or with milk and topped with whatever fresh fruit is in season. You’ll find it in our cafés, both ready to eat and packaged in a 12 oz. heat-sealed pouch.

New To-Go Soup

With sweater weather fast upon us, it’s time to cozy up with a bowl of soup. Not only have we resumed selling it at our cafés, but we’re also introducing a line of favorite Macrina soups packaged for you to take home to heat and serve.

 

“I love a bowl of soup on a crisp fall evening,” says Leslie Mackie, Macrina’s founder. “The simplicity of soup on those early, dark nights, and the aroma that fills the house as it’s heating, is soul-satisfying. And there’s nothing better than dipping a buttered slice of crusty bread in soup.”

Our first two are Tomato Bisque and Chicken & Vegetable. They come in 32 oz. containers, which is enough to serve four. Add a salad and a loaf of crusty bread and you’ve got dinner.

The Tomato Bisque is silky smooth and gets its deep, rich flavor from ripe tomatoes, roasted red peppers, fennel, rosemary, and thyme. The soup is thickened with rice and gets its velvety texture from being pureed with olive oil and cream. Perfectly paired with our grilled cheese sandwich.

The Chicken & Vegetable is our version of the classic hearty soup. It’s loaded with chicken and chopped vegetables in a fragrant vegetable stock seasoned with rosemary, thyme, and garlic.

Stop in one of our cafés to grab a healthy soup and a loaf of your favorite bread. Also available for delivery through DoorDash.

Challah Crowns for the Jewish High Holidays 

At Macrina, we make Challah every Friday, offering it in both plain and poppy seed. We braid three ropes of dough in the European Jewish tradition to represent unity. According to The Book of Jewish Food by Claudia Roden, the three braids stand for truth, peace, and justice, and the poppy seeds represent manna that fell from heaven. We bake our challah loaves to a deep golden mahogany color and a firm crust. The soft, tight crumb pulls apart easily. The shiny, honey-sweetened bread is excellent toasted, turned into delicate french toast, or passed around the table with a meal.

For the Jewish High Holidays, we form our Challah into rounds—or crowns—to recall the cycle of the year, or as Roden characterizes them, “where there is no beginning and no end.” The honey in the crowns represents hopes for a sweet new year. We make our crowns in both plain and studded with raisins.

This year we will be offering our Challah Crowns from September 18–20 to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and September 27–28 to celebrate Yom Kippur. Whether they’re part of your religious tradition, or you just love great bread and the tradition of sharing it with others, stop by one of our cafés and get one of these beautiful, symbolic loaves.

New Product Alert: Macrina Bakery’s Ready-to-Bake Olivia’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough 

There’s just something about that smell of cookies baking in the oven—that irresistible aroma, the building anticipation, the cookies warm and gooey, the melted chocolate and crispy edges. Our new ten-packs of Ready-to-Bake Olivia’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough make it tantalizingly easy to make your own.

We freeze the dough in individual cookie-sized dough balls. You merely preheat the oven, pop them on a tray, and bake. You can make a few at a time or the whole batch at once. What you don’t eat right away will save for four weeks in your freezer but we are guessing they won’t last that long.

They’re so good that Leslie named them after her daughter. Olivia’s Chocolate Chip Cookies are our version of the traditional Toll House classic. A combination of butter and shortening gives the cookies a soft, rich crumb. And the right blend of high-quality semisweet chocolate chips and a hefty pinch of sea salt give them the consummate chocolate chip cookie flavor. Food and Wine even included them in a list of America’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies.

As lovely as they are at the café, they are even better right out of the oven, warm but still gooey. The kits are available at our cafés for $8.99, and available for delivery on DoorDash!

Enjoy!