Tuesday, May 27, 2008

TWD: Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

This was a LOT easier than I thought it was going to be! I was a little nervous about making the brioche loaf, but I, uh, let the stand mixer do all the hard work. :-) Overall, the worst part about these was waiting so long to get to taste them! They were very yummy, and disappeared quite quickly at work, but in the future I might reduce the amount of honey because I found it to be too much.

Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Dorie Greenspan
Chosen by Madam Chow of Madam Chow’s Kitchen
See more TWD bakers here!
Makes 15 buns

For the Glaze:
~1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
~1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
~1/4 cup honey
~1-1/2 cups pecans (whole or pieces)

For the Filling:
~1/4 cup sugar
~3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
~1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
~3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the Buns:
~1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche loaves (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating it overnight)

Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan is perfect for this).

To make the glaze: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter, and honey to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, evening it out as best you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle over the pecans.

To make the filling: Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl. If necessary, in another bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.

To shape the buns: On a flour-dusted work surface, roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months . . . . Or, if you want to make just part of the recipe now, you can use as much of the dough as you'd like and freeze the remainder. Reduce the glaze recipe accordingly).

With a chef's knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends of the roll if they're very ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch thick buns. (Because you trim the ragged ends of the dough, and you may have lost a little length in the rolling, you will get 15 buns, not 16.) Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.

Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wax paper and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled and, in all likelihood, touching one another.

Getting ready to bake: When the buns have almost fully risen , center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Remove the sheet of wax paper and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and gorgeously golden; the glaze will be bubbling away merrily. Pull the pan from the oven.

The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicone mate or buttered foil. Be careful - the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.

What You'll Need for the Golden Brioche Dough (this recipe makes enough for two brioche loaves. If you divide the dough in half, you would use half for the sticky buns, and you can freeze the other half for a later date, or make a brioche loaf out of it!):

~2 packets active dry yeast (each packet of yeast contains approx. 2 1/4 teaspoons)
~1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
~1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
~3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
~2 teaspoons salt
~3 large eggs, at room temperature
~1/4 cup sugar
~3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm.

To Make The Brioche:
Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can-- this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you're doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you'll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You'll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.

Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight. (After this, you can proceed with the recipe to make the brioche loaves, or make the sticky buns instead, or freeze all or part of the dough for later use.)


  1. They look great. I was surprised by how easy it was to make the brioche dough as well.

  2. so glad the brioche was no problem. your sticky buns came out looking deeelish!

  3. Those look PERFECT and I'm glad that your coworkers liked them!

  4. Awesome process photos, and I'm glad you liked them!

  5. They turned out gorgeous! Yum!

  6. I agree with you on the honey part. But, yours look great!
    Shari@Whisk: a food blog

  7. These look amazing! I want to eat some sooooooo bad.

  8. I thought the same thing about the honey. Did you see that someone had used maple syrup instead of honey? That might be good for those of us who aren't big on honey.

    Your buns look great! Beautiful pictures.

  9. The buns look great, but what is ridiculously, unbelievably impressive is how spotlessly clean your kitchenaid is!

  10. Yours look beautiful! I loved watching my mixer dance with the dough! :) I used maple syrup instead of honey, the flavor was less pronounced.

  11. Colleagues of TWD bakers are some lucky folks!