Dulces: Golfeados (Venezuelan Sticky Buns)


We all do it: we wander around the airport waiting for our flight to begin boarding, killing time by stepping in and out of newsstands, perusing the latest paperback crime thrillers, leafing through fashion glossies, wondering whether we should buy one of those vibrating neck pillows.

Our flight gets delayed. We call friends, check Facebook, tweet nasty messages about the airline, decide the vibrating neck pillow was a stupid impulse buy and may lead to permanent brain damage, throw the lame crime thriller to the side (of course it was the creepy sister!). There's nothing to do but take another lap. And that's when it happens. The scent of cinnamon hooks your nostrils and pulls you to the cinnamon bun stand. You buy a bun as big as your head and for just a little while you forget how lousy and uncivilized travel has become.

Glossy, warm, pull-apart, sticky cinnamon buns are impossible to resist, whether you're trapped at the airport or not. And not that your everyday bun needs much improving on, but when I discovered the Venezuelan version I had to wonder if I'd been missing something all these years. Golfeados are sugar-and-cinnamon-laden, but have the unexpected addition of fragrant aniseed and salty, shredded white cheese.

Partway through baking, the golfeados are glazed with melado, a panela (in this recipe substituted with dark brown sugar) based simple syrup. Once out of the oven, another coat of sticky melado is painted on. The result: buns that are candied on the outside and soft, buttery, cheesy, and spiced inside their coils. Sprinkled with more cheese and served with robust coffee, they are divinos.