Dark vs Light Sticky Buns

Last night Jeff and I taught a class based on Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day at Cooks of Crocus Hill. It was a tremendously fun evening, made all the more so by the curiosity of the people who came out to watch us bake a frenzy of breads. There were a number of great questions and one in particular that stumped me. I was baking the sticky pecan caramel rolls from the book. Because there were so many people in the class I had to bake them in two batches. One in a light cake pan, the other in a dark one. Other than the color of the pans the process and baking times were identical, in fact they sat side by side in the oven. When the time came to invert the sticky buns onto the serving platter we were shocked to see that they were entirely different colors. One was a very pale (I’d say insipid) caramel and the other was rich and deeply colored. I knew that it was because of the color of the pans, but when pressed by this curious crowd as to exactly WHY this happens I couldn’t answer. So I did a little investigating and this is what I found out…

The reason the dark pan produces a darker, more thoroughly baked sticky bun is because it radiates more heat. It is like stepping on the pavement that has been baking in the sun. Darker things absorb more heat and therefore radiate more heat and cause things to bake faster. What I hadn’t known before is this also works when you use a dark filling, like chocolate. So a chocolate danish braid will bake faster than one with almond cream or something light in color. Crazy, true and fascinating!

Thank you to the class at Cooks last night for teaching me something new! Happy baking and enjoy the book!