Pecan Sticky Buns

These pecan sticky buns are a family favourite, and have become an expected tradition for breakfast on any kind of holiday morning…or really just because its been too long. Today I thought I would surprise my girls with these as an after school treat, and it was a good decision, the minute they got home they ran into the kitchen. They knew what the spiced scented air meant, and couldn’t wait to grab one when they were still warm.

To start place warm water into the bowl of a stand mixer and add the sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water, and using the paddle attachment, give it a quick stir on low speed. Now  leave the mixture a few minutes so the yeast can begin to bloom.

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Usually while I am waiting for the yeast to get foamy I get the rest of the ingredients organized. Measure out 2 cups of flour, gently beat the egg, melt the butter, get the salt and vanilla. Now you are ready to add everything in if the yeast has started blooming.

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Once the yeast has woken up it’s time to add in the ingredients from up above. Also isn’t yeast just the coolest, I love watching all the little explosions as it starts growing.

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Once you’ve added all the ingredients to the yeast mixture, using the paddle attachment, gently mix on low speed until everything is fully combined.

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At this point you can tell the dough is still very sticky, it will take another 1 – 1 1/2 cups of flour. Just don’t add it all at once.

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Switch over to the dough hook and add 1 cup of flour, mix on medium low speed until the mixture comes together and all the flour has been incorporated.

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Once the dough is pulling cleanly away from the bowl you know you’ve added enough flour. In the first picture below you can see how clean the bowl is so I decided not to add anymore of the remaining flour. Now turn the mixer to medium high speed and knead the dough for about 5 minutes. In the second picture you can see the smoothness and structure kneading brought into the dough. All that is left is to pour some olive oil in a large bowl and place the dough inside to proof. Make sure to turn the dough to coat both sides with the oil. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and place in a warm spot to rise, about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.

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Near the end of the first rise is the perfect time to prepare the sticky pecan topping that lines the bottom of the pan. It is really simple to make. Place the brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, and salt into a small sauce pan. Also, I promise this pot in the picture is clean, just aged.

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While the butter mixture is cooking, you will stir it occasionally.  Lightly grease a 9 x 13″ baking dish with butter or cooking spray, then set to the side while you finish cooking the topping.

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Once the butter has melted, and the sugar has cooked down and isn’t granular it can be removed from the heat. Add the 1/2 – 1 cup chopped pecans and stir to evenly distribute.

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Now pour the pecan mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish and set to the side while we make the cinnamon rolls.

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Start by mixing the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set to the side.

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Remove the dough, now that it has doubled in size,  punch the air out of the dough, and shape into a rough rectangle. Its more like and oval/rectangle hybrid, but either way we will fix it when we roll it out.

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Roll the dough out into an 18 X 8 ” rectangle, or if you want bigger rolls feel free to make less than 12 and don’t quite roll out the dough as much. Once you’ve got the dough rolled into the rectangle, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and brush the entire surface of the dough.

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Now take the cinnamon sugar mixture and sprinkle over the entire surface of the rectangle, making sure to leave about a 1″ border on the edge so the dough will stick together.

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Start by folding over the long side closest to your body, then continue to roll the dough like a jelly roll cake. Once the dough is rolled into a log make sure to pinch the seam to close in the cinnamon sugar, and so your buns don’t open up while they rise.

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Now it is time to slice the log up into pieces, you should have 12. I usually make notches on the dough, about 1 1/2 inches apart, before I make my real cuts just to make sure they are all similar in size. I cut each piece to 1 1/2 inch thickness. My lovely assistant here, also the reason I keep losing my measuring spoons, helped me out by counting somewhat correctly. Also yes my house is a mess, but we don’t care we are baking :).

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Now slice the log using  a sharp knife, or pastry blade, where you made the marks on the dough.

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Once you’ve cut all 12 pieces, place them in rows of three making sure to leave some space between each roll. This gives them room as they now need to rest for a second rise. Cover with a damp tea towel and place in a warm location for about 45 minutes. During the last 15 minutes of proof time preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

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Once the dough has had the second proof the rolls should have doubled in size, and all the space in the pan should be filled by the pillowy buns. I mean just look at them so soft and fluffy, filled with all that cinnamon sugar. I cannot wait.

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Place the sticky buns into the preheated oven and bake for 20 -25 minutes, or until dark golden brown.

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As soon as the sticky buns come out of the oven they need to be flipped over onto a tray so that the caramel pecan bottom becomes the top. I find the easiest way is, wearing oven mitts, place a jelly pan roll over top of the sticky buns and then flip upside down onto the pan. Let the buns cool for about 5 minutes, so the caramel topping can set up on the buns, before serving.

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In our house, even though these are sticky buns, my family still wants icing for the top. I like making what I call a fluffy butter for on top. Really its a fluffy vanilla frosting, I just increase the butter and decrease the sugar amount. One dollop on top of a warm sticky bun and it will melt into the perfect compliment for this treat. Enjoy !

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Ingredients:

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 – 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon corn syrup

1/2 – 1 cup pecans, chopped

Filling:

2 tablespoons butter, melted

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Preparation:

  • In the bowl of the stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the warm water, sprinkle with the sugar and yeast.
  • With the mixer on low gently stir the mixture together, it should look murky. Leave the yeast to get foamy for about 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime prepare the rest of the ingredients for the dough.
  • Once the yeast is foamy add 2 cups all purpose flour, the lightly beaten egg, vanilla, and salt.
  • With the mixer on medium low combine the ingredients until all the ingredients have been fully incorporated.
  • At this point the dough will be fairly sticky, add another 1 cup of all purpose flour and switch to the dough hook attachment.
  • With the mixer on medium speed combine the ingredients until all the flour has been incorporated into the dough.
  • At this point, if the dough is cleanly pulling away from the bowl you don’t need to add more flour and can move on to kneading. If the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl add another 1/4 cup of flour and fully incorporate. If needed add the remaining 1/4 cup.
  • Once the dough is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl knead for about five minutes on medium setting. The dough should look smooth and have more structure.
  • Place the dough, turning to coat both sides, in a large oiled bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and place somewhere warm to rise. The dough should be doubled in size, this takes about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
  • Near the end of the first rise make the caramel pecan topping, and pour it into a greased 9 x 13 ” pan so it is ready to be filled when the buns are rolled and cut.
  • Also prepare the sugar mixture for the inside of the sticky buns.
  • Take the 1/2 cup granulated sugar and add the 3 teaspoons of cinnamon, whisk to combine. The reserve to sprinkle over the dough.
  • Melt the 2 tablespoons butter, and grab a pastry brush, so it has a chance to cool down a little before it is brushed over the top of the dough.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size place it on a well floured surface to roll out.
  • To make 12 rolls you want to roll the dough into an 18″ x 6″ rectangle, you can always change the size if you want bigger or smaller buns, just make sure to adjust the baking time.
  • Once you’ve rolled out the rectangle brush it generously with the cooled melted butter, then sprinkle with all of the prepared cinnamon sugar mixture. Just make sure to leave a 1″ space around the outside of the rectangle.
  • Start by folding up the long side closest to your body so you have a long thin strip. Then continue to roll the dough up much the same way as a jelly roll cake. Once you’ve rolled the dough up pinch all along the seam to seal in the cinnamon mixture.
  • Using a sharp knife cut the dough log into twelve buns. I make notches on the dough before cutting to ensure all the buns are roughly the same thickness, about   1.5 inches.
  • Place the rolls face down into the prepared baking dish filled with the caramel pecan topping. Place the buns into three rows of four, making sure to leave a space between each bun.
  • Once you’ve placed all the buns in the prepared baking dish, cover with a damp tea towel and place in a warm spot to rise a second time. This will take about 45 minutes.
  • Near the end of the second rise preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Once the buns are ready they will have bulked up in size and filled all the open space that was in the baking pan. They should look pillowy and soft.
  • Place the sticky buns into the preheated oven and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until a dark golden brown.
  • As soon as the sticky buns are removed from the oven they need to be inverted onto a tray so the caramel pecan topping is now on the top.
  • Using a tray, or jelly roll pan, place it over the top of the baking pan and then flip the sticky buns onto a tray.
  • Place the tray on a wired rack to cool for about 5 minutes before serving. This is when I make the icing if you are interested, just look below.

Fluffy Vanilla Icing:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Prepartaion:

  • Place the butter in a medium sized bowl, and using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until fluffy and lighter in colour.
  • Add the icing sugar into the butter, and starting on low speed, beat the two together.
  • Once the icing sugar has been mostly incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Add the 2 teaspoons vanilla and mix on medium speed until it is fully comibned.
  • Now it is ready to serve, and taste test.

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