Every year my mom’s church does an online auction to raise money. Elderly churchgoers with screen names like ‘Falala24’ bid up fudge sauce, bread baskets, pound cake, and the most sinful sticky buns. I can hear my mom frantically typing on her computer as the countdown draws closer and she curses “Jinglbells5” for upping the price of her prized sticky buns. There’s something about a group of sixty year old women fighting for homemade baked goods and then passing the peace on Sunday morning that just makes me giggle.
Now, I hate showing up to a party empty-handed, so I made a batch of these for a New Year’s Eve party. What’s great about these sticky buns is that they’re decadent enough for a special occasion, but still comforting enough to make for a Sunday morning breakfast. Don’t you just love that?
This recipe yields 2 pans of about 8-10 rolls, so it’s perfect to keep one for yourself and give one to the neighbors. Alternatively, you can freeze a batch and take them out when you have a hankering for something sweet.
2 packets of rapid rise yeast (1/2 ounce)
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. warm water
1 cup whole milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs (room temp)
4 1/2 cups bread flour*
Mix the yeast, sugar, and warm water is a small bowl. Set aside and let proof for approximately ten minutes (you will see tiny bubbles form which means the yeast is alive and happy). Warm the milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter melts and then turn off and set aside. Mix the sugar, vanilla, salt and eggs in a large bowl and slowly whisk in the warmed milk and butter. I do this by hand and then transfer to my Kitchen Aid. Using the dough hook, add the flour 1 cup at a time until it is all incorporated. Pull off the hook, form into a ball, and cover with a kitchen towel to rise in a warm spot for 1 hour.
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
While the dough is rising, melt the butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup in a small saucepan until tiny bubbles form on the surface and it begins to boil. Turn off the heat and pour into two, 9-inch round, buttered cake pans. Top each with a 1/4 cup of toasted, chopped pecans and set aside.
Cinnamon Sugar Mix:
2 cups light brown sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg (I used freshly grated)
4 Tbs. melted butter
Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg in a bowl. Once the dough has risen, divide in half and roll out to about 1/4 inch rectangle. Mine was about the size of my silpat, 11×16. Take 2 Tbs. of the melted butter and brush across the dough. Sprinkle 1 cup of cinnamon sugar mixture and roll up dough, pinching to seal the ends. Cut into 1 1/2 inch rolls and place in one of the pans. Repeat for the second pan.
Cover pans with a tea towel and let rise for 45 minutes to an hour. Rolls will double in size. Brush a bit of extra melted butter on the top of the rolls and bake in a 450° oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Invert onto a baking rack with parchment underneath to catch any rogue caramel drips. As soon as they are cool enough to eat, dig in!
*bread flour has a higher protein, and thus higher gluten content, than all purpose flour. This is why it is used in yeast-raised baked goods for volume and that gorgeous, slightly chewy texture. I use King Arthur bread flour for this recipe.