I have to admit, I had never had pecan sticky buns until now. I had lot’s of cinnamon buns but never a pecan sticky bun. My older daughter made these for Mother’s Day following a recipe from The Chelsea Market Cookbook. To say that they are good is a big understatement. They are divine! Soft and airy inside, they are covered with delicious sticky caramel and crunchy roasted pecans. They are at their best fresh out of the oven, while they are still warm. But if you have any leftovers, you can just warm them up again.
These sticky buns take a bit of time to make, about 4-5 hours from start to finish depending on how quickly the dough rises, which depends on the ambient temperature. That said, the actual hands-on time is not that long and you can easily do other things while the dough is rising and proofing.
For the dough:
- 1/4 cup very warm water (105F to 115F)
- 3 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 3/4 cups warm water (about 90F)
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter (melted)
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 2 3/4 cups white bread flour
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)
- Vegetable oil for the bowl
For the topping:
- 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar (packed)
- 14 tablespoons 200 g unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, plus softened butter for the pan
- 2 Tbsp corn syrup (light or dark)
- 1 1/2 cups pecans (toasted and roughly chopped)
For the filling:
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter (softened)
To make the dough:
- Add the yeast to the ¼ cup of very warm water and stir. Let stand for 3 minutes then stir to dissolve the yeast, then pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the warm water, sugar, butter and salt to the bowl. Start mixing on low speed with a paddle attachment. Slowly add bread flower until incorporated. Then add just enough all-purpose flour to make a soft, sticky dough that barely cleans the bowl. Cover the bowl with a Saran wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Replace the paddle attachment with a dough hook and mix on medium-low speed until the dough is soft, supple and tacky to the touch, about 7 minutes.
- Shape the dough into a ball and transfer into a lightly oiled bowl. Turn the dough around to cover it with oil. Cover the bowl with Saran wrap and let rise in a warm place until about doubled in size, about 2 hours.
To make the topping:
- Add the brown sugar, butter, and syrup to a small saucepan set over low heat, frequently whisking, until the butter has melted and the sugar is wet and starting to melt (it won't be fully dissolved). Remove the pan from the heat and whisk well until the butter is fully absorbed. Let cool until just warm.
- Grease a 13" x 9" baking pan. Pour in the warm sugar mixture and spread evenly across the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the pecans on top of the mixture. Let cool down to room temperature.
- Carefully transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, trying to not deflate it. Gently pat and stretch the dough into a 13" x 10" rectangle, with the long side facing you. If the dough doesn't stretch easily, let it rest for 5-10 minutes and try again.
- Using your fingers, spread the butter evenly over the dough all the way to the edges. Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle evenly over the butter.
- Starting with the bottom edge, roll up the dough into a log. Pinch the seam closed.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 equal pieces. Place the pieces on top of the cooled caramel in the baking pan, spacing out evenly. Butter a piece of Saran wrap and cover the rolls, buttered side down. Let proof in a warm place for 1 hour, until the rolls increased in size about 1.5 times.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375F.
- Place the baking pan with the buns on a baking sheet (you need it to catch any drippings). Bake for 10 minutes on a middle rack. Reduce temperate to 350F and bake for another 35 to 40 minutes, or until the tops are completely golden brown.
- Remove the buns from the oven and let cool inside the baking pan for 3 minutes on a cooling rack. Place a large platter on top of the pan and, using oven mitts, flip the pan and the platter together. Carefully lift the pan, releasing the buns, topped with pecan caramel, onto the platter. Scrape any caramel leftovers and spread on the buns. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve warm.