We often hear how food brings people together, but in the case of this recipe, it's absolutely true. I didn't know what stickies were until I met a woman named Bama and several members of her family in Charlotte, NC. Think cinnamon buns made with biscuit dough and whatever filling you like. After several attempts and many porch visits later, I've come up with a holiday version that I hope would get the stamp of approval from the Blackmon family.
For the dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, salt and baking soda. Add the shortening and use your fingertips to pinch it into the flour mixture completely until the flour mixture looks like sand.
Coat the butter in the flour mixture, then use a box grater to grate the cold butter into the flour mixture and toss until all of the pieces are coated. Cut the butter into the flour by gathering the dry mix, pinching and dropping it for 30 to 60 seconds.
Make a well in the center of the flour and butter mixture and add the buttermilk. Mix until the dough forms a shaggy mass and there are no dry bits of flour left. The dough should be slightly sticky.
Lightly coat your work surface with nonstick cooking spray, then flour. (The spray keeps the flour in place.) Transfer the dough on to the prepared work surface and dust the dough lightly with flour. Lightly coat your hands with flour and gently press the dough with the heels of your hands to form it into a flat rectangle, 1/2 inch thick. Fold the rectangle into thirds, like a letter, then repeat the same process of pressing the dough out and folding 2 more times. Lightly dust the dough as needed to prevent sticking. Place the folded dough on a sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap directly over the dough and chill for 15 minutes.
For the filling: Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar and salt in a small bowl, then mix in the orange zest; set aside.
Dust the work surface with flour and roll out the dough into a 17-by-8-inch rectangle, 1/4 to 5/8 inch thick, with the longest end facing the edge of the counter. Brush the softened butter evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the butter and then the chopped ginger. Using both hands and starting from the long end, roll the dough as tight and neat as possible. If the dough gets too soft, place the roll on a sheet pan and chill for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
Using a sharp knife, slice the rolled dough into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Place them in the buttered pan. Bake until the stickies start to brown, about 20 minutes.
For the milk drizzle: Mix together the milk and vanilla extract in a small bowl and pour evenly over the stickies.
Return the pan to the oven and bake until the milk is absorbed and the tops of the stickies are golden, another 20 to 25 minutes. Place the pan on a cooling rack.
For the orange glaze: Combine the powdered sugar and orange juice in a small bowl and drizzle over the top of the stickies. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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