Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Buns

Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Bun
I am currently in "Cinnamon Roll Mode," preparing for the upcoming food competition at the Iowa State Fair.  I'm keeping my non-traditional cinnamon roll entry secret, because I think I actually may have a chance to win in that class.  The other two classes, though, traditional cinnamon roll and sticky bun, are crap shoots, so I figure it won't matter if I post a recipe.  I'm just crossing my fingers that I get a judge who likes this type of sticky bun, and maybe this year my sticky buns will go behind the velvet curtain, instead of straight to the reject table.  
I'm posting this recipe because I think these buns taste wonderful, and this coming from a woman who doesn't really eat cinnamon rolls anymore because she's made and tasted way too many.  Something about the caramel and pecans set these apart, though, and I can still enjoy them. 
I'm not going to lie, this is kind of a complicated recipe, but if you're into that sort of thing, give 'em a try. The unique thing about these sticky buns is that I've laminated half of the filling (butter, sugar, cinnamon) into the dough.  I just thought it would make them a little more interesting, but not quite "non-traditional."  The topping is a simple brown sugar and butter caramel that I think is outstanding due to its simplicity.  Overall, very satisfying.

Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Buns

  • ½ cup milk (2%)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting work surface


  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon regular ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Vietnamese ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of salt

  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 ½ cups pecan pieces, lightly toasted


1.  Make the dough: Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave until butter melts.  Remove pan from heat and set aside until the mixture is lukewarm (about 100 degrees). In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the warm water, yeast, sugar, egg, and yolk at low speed until well mixed.  Add the salt, warm milk mixture, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 cups of the flour, and mix at medium speed until thoroughly blended, about 1 minute.  Switch to the dough hook, add another 2 cups of the flour, and knead at medium speed (adding ¼ cup more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary) until the dough is smooth, about 10 minutes.  Scrape the dough into a large lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, then cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Let dough rise in refrigerator overnight.

The next morning…

2. Mix the filling: Mix together the filling ingredients and set aside.

3. Make the topping: In a medium sized pot over medium high heat, mix together the butter, light brown sugar, corn syrup, and water.  Stir constantly as you bring to a boil.  Once it has come to a boil, remove from the heat.  Butter a 9 X 13 inch cake pan.  Pour caramel topping into the pan.  Sprinkle pecan pieces evenly over the surface of the caramel.  Set aside. 

4.  Form the rolls:  Turn dough out of bowl onto a lightly floured work surface.  Using a rolling pin, shape the dough into a 16 by 12 inch rectangle, with a short side facing you.  Spread half of the sugar, butter, cinnamon mixture over 2/3 of the rectangle.  Starting with the unbuttered third, fold the dough into thirds like a letter.  Roll out to a large rectangle again and fold in thirds again.  Then fold in thirds one more time.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about half an hour.  Then roll dough out to a 16 x 12 inch rectangle.  Spread the remaining sugar, butter, cinnamon mixture over the entire surface and roll up, starting at one of the 12-inch sides.  Cut log evenly into 6 rolls.  Place rolls onto nuts & caramel in the pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled (45 minutes to an hour).  While the rolls rise, preheat oven to 350°.

5.  Bake the rolls: When the rolls have fully risen, put in the preheated oven and bake until rolls are deep golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of a roll reads 185-190°F, about 28-35 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes.  Invert rolls onto a large cookie sheet, making sure to get all of the caramel and nuts on top.  Cool for 10-15 more minutes before serving.
Makes 6 rolls
Sticky bun set to rise.

You can sort of see they layers here, but they're subtle.


  1. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!! :) I have been looking all over for a sticky bun recipe that has the buttery layers of a croissant with the texture of a cinnamon roll, this recipe looks like it's just what I have been looking for.

    1. Well, I hope it works out for you. If you think of it, let me know. You can also try this recipe (, which I think I actually like better. Let me know if you try either one!


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