Saturday, April 4, 2015

Croissant Caramel Sticky Buns

Croissant Caramel Sticky Bun with Pecans
Croissant Caramel Sticky Bun with Macadamia Nuts

I've made sooooo many cinnamon rolls in my five-year quest to win the Tone's Cinnamon Roll Competition at the Iowa State Fair, that I can pretty much say that I don't like to eat cinnamon rolls any more.  These, though, are an exception.  Made with croissant dough, they're super rich, flaky, and buttery; slightly crisp on the bottom and edges, and tender on the inside.  The caramel with its brown sugar and butter goodness and crunchy pecans, are the golden crown to these.  I CAN still eat these.  They probably won't win any awards, because, as I've mentioned in other posts, those judges are tough, and it's really a crap shoot as to whether your bun will get a judge whose tastes line up with your "product."  Those ladies can really be annoying.  I shouldn't complain because I've won in the non-traditional cinnamon roll class, but now that I think of it, that judge was not a regular; she was from the Tones company.  At any rate, these are FANtastic, if you've got the patience to make the croissant dough.
*I've updated this post and changed the dough laminating method that I've started using since the original posting of this recipe. I also tried macadamia nuts today, which I LOVE. The husband prefers the pecan version, but really, these taste great with any kind of nut--or no nuts at all. They're just caramely deliciousness.
These never did win the Tone's cinnamon roll competition, which has since been discontinued. Maybe someday I will like regular cinnamon rolls again.
Oh yeah, I'm reposting this with a new date because I have all new pics and because it deserves some attention. These sticky buns are amazing. You really should try them.

Croissant Caramel Sticky Buns


  • 3 cups KAF unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling 
  • 1 T Fleishman’s Rapid Rise yeast 
  • ¼ cup sugar 
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt 
  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk, cold 
  • 2 T unsalted butter, softened, but cool 
  • 2 ½ sticks butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces, cold 
  • 2 T unbleached all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cups light brown sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
  • 1/8 tsp salt 
Caramel Topping
  • 2 sticks butter 
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 2 tablespoon water 
  • 1 cup lightly roasted chopped pecans or macadamia nuts

The Dough
1.  Whisk 2¾ cups flour together with the yeast, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.  Place the milk in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Add the flour mixture and knead at low speed until a ball of dough forms.  Cut the 2 T butter into small pieces and add to the dough.  Continue to knead until the butter becomes fully incorporated and the dough becomes smooth, begins to form a ball, and clears the sides of the bowl.  Add up to ¼ cup more flour, one tablespoon at a time if the dough is too sticky.  Place dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

2. When dough is ready, place the 2 1/2 sticks of butter pieces with the 2 tablespoons flour in the mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until soft and relatively spreadable, but not melty (about 1-2 minutes). 

3. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface.  Roll dough into a large rectangle, about 14 x 18 inches or so (does not need to be exact). Spread the beaten butter onto the bottom 2/3 of the dough, being careful to not make holes in the dough. Fold the unbuttered third over like a letter onto 1/2 the buttered section. With a pastry brush, gently brush off excess flour, and then fold the bottom buttered section on top of that dough, so it's like you've folded a letter into thirds (You have 3 layers). Gently press the seams with the side of your hand. Turn the dough a half-turn and gently roll into a large rectangle again (if the butter seems too soft at this point, refrigerate for about 10-15 minutes before rolling). Fold into thirds again (Now you have 9 layers). Roll dough a little bit to make a long rectangle and fold into thirds, brushing away excess flour as you fold (Now you have 27 layers). Wrap dough loosely in plastic wrap, or in parchment paper. Place wrapped dough in a large (gallon size) zip top bag, but do not zip. Refrigerate 2 hours to overnight.

Filling and Topping
6. Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt with a fork and set aside.

7.  Spray three 12 cup muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

8. Melt the sticks of butter for the topping in a medium saucepan.  Add brown sugar, water, and pecans.  Mix well and bring to a boil.   Boil for one minute only.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Forming  & Baking the Rolls                                                                                                  
9. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll into a rough 18” x 18” square about ¼”, or a little less, thick.  Evenly spread the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture over the surface of the rectangle.   Cut square in half, forming two equal rectangles.  Roll each rectangle into a long log.  Gently pinch the seams to seal. Gently squeeze and/or push ends of dough log in until each log is exactly 18 inches long.

10.  Place about 1 tablespoons of caramel mixture in the bottom of the cups of three 12-cup muffin tins that have been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

11.  Measure and mark 1” segments of the log and then slice with a very sharp knife. Gently place rolls on top of caramel mixture in the muffin cups.  Cover pans loosely with plastic wrap and set to rise in a relatively cool place until puffy, about 1 hour.

12.  Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.  Once oven is heated, place a large sheet of aluminum foil on the baking rack and then place 1 or 2 muffin pans on top of the foil (the foil should catch any caramel overflow).  Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until caramel is bubbling and buns are well browned.  If buns seem to be getting brown too fast, loosely cover with aluminum foil and bake until done.

13.  Remove pans from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Invert onto baking sheets and redistribute nuts and caramel if necessary.  Allow to cool at least 10-15 minutes before serving.

Makes 36 sticky buns.       

Hmmm...I'm realizing that I should have taken some

pics of the laminating process. Maybe next time.                         

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