Contrary to what our mailboxes and the television commercials would have us believe, it is not actually the season to shop, but the season to savor, enjoy and relax in each other’s company – to ease into the dark days of the last months of the year as a form of rejuvenation not depression, and bask in the golden glow of candlelight rather than sunlight.

The path to the savoring, enjoying and relaxing is clearly not about how swanky we can get our roast turkey to look, although that’s fun if you can do it, but instead about how easily and simply we can enjoy each other and the food we will share.

While you are with your family, take a moment if you can to remember why you are there – and no, it’s not about Black Friday, Shop Local Saturday (although you should) or Cyber Monday.

And then should you find yourself in a challenging moment, repeat with me, “I accept my family for who they are, not who I wish they were. I am blessed to gather with people I love. The rest is small stuff. It’s all small stuff.”

Believe me, I’ll be saying those mantras too. And while I’m saying them in my head, we’ll be enjoying these sticky buns for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving.

J. & E. Riggin Sticky Buns

This dough is interesting because unlike most breakfast rolls, it is not a yeast dough. Instead it is a sweet biscuit dough and much easier to work with. It also takes much less aggregate time to prepare.

Treat this dough like you would any biscuit dough – with a light hand, no kneading.

For something a little different, substitute cardamom or cloves for cinnamon and lime or lemon zest for orange zest.


2¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold butter cut into ½-inch cubes

¾ cup milk

1 egg


3 tablespoons melted butter

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

½ cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Zest from ½ orange


The topping amounts will vary depending on the size of the pan. These amounts are for an average-sized 12-muffin tin.

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

½ cup (1 stick) melted butter

¼ cup chopped pecans

Dough: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

Press the cold butter in with your fingertips until the mix looks like coarse cornmeal. Add the milk and egg and mix until just combined.

Sprinkle a countertop with flour and turn the dough out onto the countertop.

Knead 5 to 6 times and dust with flour as needed. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a little more than 1/4 inch thick.

Filling: Brush the dough with melted butter. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon and orange zest.

Carefully roll up the dough into a log and cut into 12 pieces.

Topping: Combine the rest of the melted butter and sugar and stir until well incorporated.

Spread the mixture into the bottom of the muffin tin or 9-by-9 baking pan.

Place the dough, crosscut sides facing up and dab a little butter on top with a pastry brush.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the insides are just cooked and the tops are golden brown.

Turn out onto platter or cutting board and share at least a few. Serves 12.

Anne Mahle of Rockland is the author of “At Home, At Sea.” She can be reached at [email protected]