Pecan Sticky Buns are a sweet treat for breakfast or anytime you need a pick-me-up!
Sticky buns, cinnamon rolls, and morning buns. I’m a fan of all sweet pastries deemed appropriate for breakfast. However, if I had to chose a favorite, it’d definitely be pecan sticky buns.
Cinnamon rolls are made with a standard yeasted dough. Morning buns are often made with a flakey layered puff pastry. Sticky buns are special. They’re made using a brioche dough. It’s the brioche dough that makes sticky buns so ridiculously decadent and delicious. Since brioche bread had a higher amount of eggs and butter compared to bread used for cinnamon rolls, it resulting sticky buns are much softer, richer, and more flavorful.
Sticky buns are made upside down, baked, and then inverted onto a serving plate. During assembly, the bottom of the baking pan is coated with a gooey caramel sauce made with brown sugar and honey. While this recipe uses lightly toasted pecans, walnuts are an equally tasty substitute. I like to add a little orange zest to the cinnamon sugar mixture that fills the brioche dough. It adds a nice aromatic touch and a pop of brightness to this otherwise very rich treat. The sticky buns will start off small, barely filling the pan (as shown in the photograph above). After resting, they will puff up and expand to fill the entire pan.
Although homemade pecan sticky buns are bit time consuming due to the dough’s resting times, I believe the results are well worth the effort. Best of all, you can prepare the dough the night before, keep it chilled in the fridge, and simple bake it the following morning. Imagine waking up to the scent of sticky buns warming up in the oven. It would definitely lead to a delicious morning and a happy day!
This is the kind of recipe I like to reserve for special occasions (birthdays, holidays, and especially when I have guests staying over). It’s a dish that everyone will love and talk about all day.
Pecan Sticky Buns
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ⅓ cup whole milk, warmed to 100° F
- ¼ cup granulated white sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1¼ cups roughly chopped toasted pecans
- ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, sprinkle the yeast over warm milk. Stir to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes to activate yeast. Whisk in the sugar and eggs.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.
- Attach the dough hook to your stand mixer. Add the flour mixture to mixing bowl in three additions while the mixing is running on low speed. The dough will be sticky. Do not be tempted to add additional flour.
- With the mixer running on low, added the softened butter one tablespoon at a time. Continue to mix until the butter is thoroughly incorporated. Increase speed to medium and knead the dough for 3 to 5 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 90 minutes.
- While the dough is resting, make the caramel sauce.
- In a medium sauce pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the brown sugar and honey. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and whisk in the heavy cream. Let cool. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
- Whisk together the brown sugar, sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside until ready to assemble.
ASSEMBLY AND BAKING
- Lightly grease a 9 x 12 inch baking dish. Pour about cooled caramel sauce into baking dish, reserving about ⅓ cup. Sprinkle the pecans over the caramel sauce.
- Roll the dough into a 17 x 13-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the dough. Sprinkle the orange zest over the dough. Starting at the long end, roll the dough into a tight log. Pinch the seams together to seal the dough. Slice the log into 12 equal portions. Place the rolls cut side down onto prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 60 minutes.
- Center a rack in the the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Remove the plastic wrap and bake the rolls for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown on the outside and the internal temperature of the bread hits 190° F. Let the rolls sit in the baking dish for 3 minutes before inverting into a serving dish. Serve warm with reserved caramel sauce, if desired.
- If you would like to make the sticky buns the night before, you can let them proof overnight in the fridge. After placing the cut rolls in the baking pan, simply cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge overnight. Before baking, let it come to room temperature (about 30 to 45 minutes) and then bake according to normal instructions.
- The brioche dough can be made without a stand mixer. Use a large bowl and sturdy spatula (or sturdy wooden spoon) to combine the ingredients. After adding all the butter, turn out dough onto a lightly floured worked surface. Knead dough for 15 to 20 minutes until dough is smooth and soft. Do not add additional flour while kneading. If the dough sticks to your hands, simply dust your hands with flour.