Monday, March 26, 2012

Honey Pecan Sticky Buns

These sticky buns will change your life. Seriously. They are just....the bomb. Yes, I just said that, because they're that good. The pictures don't do them justice. Trust me on this one. The dough— slightly sweet and deliciously buttery—is filled with butter and cinnamon sugar and topped with a honey and brown sugar glaze and pecan halves. Sounds good, right?

This is about the fifth or sixth recipe I've made from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours, which my mom gave me recently (thanks, Mom!), and it's official, she is my new favorite. Every one of her recipes I've tried has been phenomenal. They are super easy to follow and I really enjoy her style of writing (her instructions on how to spot when the buns are done: 'they are puffed and gorgeously golden; the glaze will be bubbling away merrily').

I will say, as much as I am a fan of these sticky buns, they are definitely a labor of love. They take a lot of time and effort. The brioche dough has to be tended to for several hours while it rises and then needs to chill overnight in the fridge. On day two, there's the time that goes into making the glaze and filling (not too bad), assembly time (a little worse), rising time (the worst), and actual baking time. So if you're not an avid baker, I wouldn't attempt these. It's just not worth it.

However, if you're enthusiastic about baking and enjoy breakfast sweets, then you have to try this recipe. You'll be glad you did, I promise.

Bon appetit!
Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Makes 15
Buns (1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche Loaves, make full recipe and cut in half after refrigerating overnight)
2 packets active dry yeast
1/3 cup water, just warm to the touch
1/3 whole milk, just warm to the touch
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm

1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cups pecan halves

1/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature

Prepare the brioche dough a day ahead of time. Place the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add flour and salt and fit the mixer with the dough hook. Place a kitchen towel over the mixer and turn it on and off in a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour. Remove the towel and increase the mixer speed to medium and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mass.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tbsp size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like cake batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the warmth of your room.

Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes, until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave covered dough in the fridge to chill overnight.

Once the dough has chilled overnight, divide in half and reserve one half for later use. Generously butter a 9x13-inch glass baking dish and set aside.

To make the glaze, combine the brown sugar, butter and honey in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Stir frequently to dissolve the sugar. When the sugar has dissolved and the glaze has boiled, pour it into the buttered dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle pecans over the glaze.

Next, make the filling. Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl. If necessary, in a separate bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.

To assemble the buns, roll the chilled dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest to you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as possible.

Use a chef's knife to cut the buns. Use a gentle sawing motion and trim just a tiny but from the ends of the roll if they're very ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch thick buns. Fit the buns into the pan, cut side down, leaving some space between them.

Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wax paper and set in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes (mine only took about an hour). The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled, and most likely, touching one another.

When the buns have almost fully risen, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 °F. Remove the sheet of wax paper and put the pan on a baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes or until they are puffed and golden and the glaze is bubbling merrily. 

Remove from the oven and unmold after cooling for about 5 minutes. Serve as soon as the buns are cool enough to eat. These taste best right after they are made and should be eaten the day of.

Eat these guys while they're still warm, or reheat for a few minutes at 350 °F

Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan


  1. Isn't that book the best??? I haven't made that recipe yet but not one recipe has come out wrongly from that book!!

    1. It's amazing, I'm obsessed. You have to try these at some point. Definitely the best thing I've made from the book so far.