Sticky Buns are a real treat and worth making at home, right in your own kitchen. Unlike cinnamon rolls, sticky buns have an amazing gooey syrup that’s studded with toasted pecans and that’s what makes them so exceptional. They are not complicated to put together, and if you follow my lead, I guarantee your kitchen will smell like you are operating a mini-bakery inside.
When we were young, my parents had a place in Palm Springs that we would frequent on the weekends. It was a small condo, around the corner from the main drag in town. Before starting our day of swimming and sunning, we would go to Billy Reed’s for pecan rolls. These jumbo sweet buns were loaded with nuts and brown sugar, and took up an entire salad plate. It would take us all day to work them off in the pool, and I think that was my mother’s plan all along and boy, we’re they good.
Sticky bun dough should be pillowy soft and easy to roll out into a big rectangle, so you can dust the surface with cinnamon sugar. After rolling the dough into a log, it’s sliced into eight pieces and then, placed upon a sticky syrup, and then proofed for a couple hours before baking. After baking, the buns are lightly brown, and when inverted on a plate, drip with a fragrant nutty glaze. The pumpkin in these rolls is very slight in taste, but it does add that special fall-like quality, making them some of the best buns around. This breakfast treat is definitely a weekend affair, and perfect with a hot steamy cup of coffee.
3/4 cup warm milk, about 110 degrees
1 package active dry yeast, about 2 1/4 teaspoons
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/3 cup granulated sugar + 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, room temperature
1 cup pumpkin puree
oil for bowl
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
12 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey, any variety
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
(Makes 8 Buns)
- To make the Dough – Whisk together warm milk, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar, set aside for 5 minutes until frothy.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, remaining sugar and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer with dough hook, add flour and yeast mixture, mix for 3 minutes. Add egg and pumpkin puree, continue mixing for 5 minutes with hook on medium-low speed. Remove dough, and place in an oiled boil in refrigerator for 4 hours, up to overnight.
- Whisk together Sugar Filling, set aside. To Make Sticky Syrup – in a small saucepan, add butter, sugar and honey and place over medium heat. Warm until sugar has melted with butter, then remove from heat, and add cream, water and salt, whisk. Set aside.
- Roll dough out on floured surface into a large rectangle, about 15 x 10 inches long. Sprinkle top of dough with Sugar Filling. Starting on short end, roll dough towards you until in a log. Trim 1/4 inch off of each end. Slice log in half, and slice each half into four equal pieces.
- Pour Sticky Syrup into a greased 13 x 9 casserole dish and sprinkle pecans on top. Place each roll on top of syrup, several inches apart (2 rolls per row). Cover dish with plastic wrap and proof in a warm dry place for 2 hours. *Proofing tips – use a heating pad with kitchen towel cover, to warm dish slowly, or place in a gas pilot lit oven, or place in a sunny window wrapped in a towel.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove plastic wrap from dish and bake in oven for 40-45 minutes, or until buns are light golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let cool in dish for 20 minutes. Using a knife, separate each roll and lift individually with spatula. Invert each bun separately onto a plate, and scoop any additional syrup on top of each roll. Enjoy!