From Scratch: Sticky Buns

Making bread and pastries from scratch may seem like a daunting task, but with a few tricks and a little patience, the reward of sinking your teeth into a plush, homemade sticky bun is worth it. This recipe comes from a couple of different places. The dough is a basic sweet yeast dough I’ve adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, and the sticky smear is a simple concoction I worked with in culinary school. If you want to make them ahead of time, these reheat beautifully in the microwave covered with a damp towel for about 40 seconds or covered with foil in the oven until bubbly and gooey.

Sticky Buns


For the dough:
3 lg eggs
1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. whole milk
1 packet instant yeast (1 1/4 tsp)
4 c. all purpose flour, divided
1 tsp salt
6 tbs butter, melted and cooled

For sticky glaze:
5 tbs butter, room temperature
1 c. brown sugar
pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbs honey
1 c pecans, chopped

For filling:
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tbs butter, melted

In the bowl of a standing mixer whisk the eggs, sugar and milk until combined. Add the yeast and stir together. Add 2 cups of flour and whisk until evenly distributed. Add the rest of the flour, salt and butter and, using a dough hook, knead on low speed for five minutes. Check the consistency to make sure the dough is soft and moist. If sticky add a tablespoon of flour. Continue to knead on low for an additional five minutes. The dough will be hugging the hook and sticking to the bottom of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form into a smooth ball. If the dough sticks to the surface, sprinkle with flour.

Spray a large glass bowl with cooking spray and place the dough with the smooth side up in the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

While the dough rises, make the glaze. In a standing mixer cream together the butter and sugar till combined. Add salt, vanilla, honey and pecans and mix until well incorporated. Spread the mixture into the bottom of a 9x13x2 glass baking dish and set aside.

In a glass bowl make the filling by stirring together the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Melt the butter and set aside.

To assemble:
On a lightly floured surface shape the dough into a rough rectangle. Roll out to make an 18×13-inch rectangle, keeping the long side towards you. Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving a 1/2 in border at the top. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the dough, leaving the 1/2 in border intact. Be sure to use all of the mixture. Using your hands gently press the sugar into the dough to adhere.

With the long side of the rectangle still towards you, begin to tightly roll the dough into an even cylinder. To create a compact swirl, begin to roll and then pull gently towards you to tighten. Firmly pinch the seam together and with the seam facing down, slice the dough evenly into 12 equal rounds.

Placed the rounds in the prepared dish with the glaze. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof until slightly puffy and the rounds have begun to crowd each other, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Place the oven rack on the lowest position and preheat oven to 350. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.

Once out of the oven, allow to cool for only a few minutes then position a cookie sheet over the sticky buns and flip so that the glazed side is up. Serve warm.

If you need to save for a later time either wrap them directly on the cookie sheet or wrap them individually in foil and refrigerate.