Kitchen Exhibitionist
The Culinary Quests of a Food Enthusiast Stuck in the Sticks
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Grilled Stickies

One day I was riding down a local interstate highway with Darwin when I noticed a large sign outside a regional chain restaurant proudly announcing “Grilled Sticky Sundae”. “What’s a Grilled Sticky?” I wondered aloud. Darwin, a Penn State alumnus, was tickled to discover that he knew about a local food specialty that I didn’t.

Grilled Stickies originated at the College Diner at Penn State many years ago, and have nourished countless generations of students at all hours of the day and night. A cup of coffee and a grilled sticky was standard break fare when pulling an all-nighter; the caffeine in the coffee and the sugar in the Sticky providing the necessary fuel to continue studying.

So, what is a Grilled Sticky? If Cinnabon mated with French toast, their offspring would be Grilled Stickies. Imagine a large cinnamon sticky bun cut it into thick slices and fried in butter on a griddle until hot and crispy on the outside, and warm and soft on the inside.

Shortly after that conversation on the highway I noticed grilled stickies at the local grocery stores. I’m sure they had been there all along, but once my attention had been drawn to them, they were everywhere. Of course I had to try them! The grilled stickies available in the local grocery stores are actually manufactured and distributed by The College Diner at Penn State so they are authentic.

I purchased a box of the stickies and followed the directions on the box for grilling them. In a non-stick skillet I heated a bit of oil and butter; oil for its high-heat cooking properties and butter for its flavoring and browning properties. The box contained one flattish loaf, about 7 inches long by 4 inches wide and 2 inches high, which I cut into slices about 1 ½ inches thick. I cooked the slices, cut side down, in the hot skillet. It is important to cook only the cut sides because the sugars on the sweet sticky sides would certainly burn. When the bottom was golden brown, I turned the slices to cook the other side.

Then I sat down with a hot cup of fresh coffee to enjoy a classic grilled sticky. The first bite told me why these treats are so popular. The grilled surface develops a thin crispy crust, which crackles when you bite into it and contrasts so nicely with the warm soft interior. The heating process also enhances the sweet flavors and fragrance of the cinnamon and brown sugar.

Grilled Stickies may be taken from the breakfast realm to the dessert domain via the Grilled Sticky Sundae. Just top a grilled sticky with ice cream, hot fudge sauce and whipped cream.

Leave it to those clever, frugal Pennsylvania Dutch cooks to discover a great way to resurrect stale sticky buns! You can try this with any sticky bun and I bet you will find they taste better grilled than they ever did fresh.

To discover other regional specialties from around the globe, visit “A Taste of Terroir” from Anna’s Cool Finds.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wow! That's a really interesting specialty :) Thanks for sharing it :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...
okay, i'm drooling! I want a grilled stickie! I bet they're as good as Krispy Kremes.

Blogger Skyhighideas said...
I just tired some and they have been as good as described! Maybe even better than Krispy Kremes. I got some online Sticky Buns Online

Blogger William Behun said...
At the risk of necroposting, it should be noted that grilled stickies did not originate at the College Diner but at Ye Olde College Diner, which, believe it or not, is totally different.