Sticky Buns of this gooey caliber are not commonly found in Australia. There are scrolls and buns but they tend to get their sweetness from dried fruit and a dab of fondant icing on top.
I had a childhood of cinnamon buns that were rich and decadent. The Australian versions seemed a bit austere for my tastes. So these are a lovely addition to the repertoire. Thank you to Madame Chow for choosing this weeks recipe.
I really struggled with what bread I would use in this recipe. In the end I thought about the flexiblity that is built into the TWD challenges. The recipes are a starting point, not dogma.
I used the challah dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day instead of Dories Brioche. I will try her recipe one day but 1 minutes mixing and a great result was too tempting to pass up. This post details the recipe and process.
Something that is important to know about me is I am not a perky morning person. I feel that the first 20 minutes of the day should be spent very quietly sipping a coffee and coming to terms with the impending day. Having children completely stuffed that management strategy.
What I can do is be kind to myself and not try to do too much in the morning. Which brings me to my standard operating procedure for sticky buns. I make them up the night before leave them on the bench for 40 minutes and then pop them in the fridge. Whoever gets up first preheats the oven and takes the prepped buns out of the fridge.
All the glory with minimum effort (first thing in the morning anyway). You don’t even have to face the washing up (unless you got slack the night before)!
The twist of these is the use of honey in the glaze. The honey adds an interesting flavor and I think helps prevent the glaze from becoming a hard caramel topping. This is an advantage in terms of gooey topping not needing to be molten to stay sticky (which is the fatal flaw in many other recipes).
I like the honey flavor but I don’t LOVE the honey flavor. This recipe has made me think about how to adapt other recipes to achieve the texture of the glaze. I will experiment with adding a bit of glucose syrup for pure sweet flavor to see if I can keep the sticky factor up.
Now because I used a different bun recipe, I thought the least I could do is follow the rest of the recipe to the letter. My suspicions about the glaze being even better with a touch of salt were correct. I sprinkled on a bit of Maldon and Oh My it was good
I made a half batch. There are four of us so that would mean two each. Patrick (almost 2) liked his so much he moved over to my lap to polish off mine as well. That will teach me to eat slowly (and take my time taking photos) in a house full of boys!
Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Makes 15 buns
For the Glaze:
1 cup (packed) (220g) light brown sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) (115g) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup (60g) honey
1-1/2 cups pecans (180g) (whole or pieces)
For the Filling:
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons (42g) 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) (I used 1/4 full batch of the challah dough -400g)
Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan is perfect for this). (I used a 9 inch round pan for a half batch. I used a baking paper round)
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. (I misread the instructions and mixed all of these things together).
To shape the buns:On a flour-dusted work surface (be generous here with the flour), roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. (or 8 x 16 inches for a half batch) 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. (I use a pastry mat getting underneath with my hand to get a good roll)
(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, (or my personal favorite, a bencher- which will just slice through) 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 (or plastic wrap that has been oiled) and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. (You can prep this far and put the buns to bed in the fridge if that suits your schedule, do make sure the buns have properly proofed before baking though) 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
What You’ll Need for the Glaze (you would brush this on brioche loaves, but not on the sticky buns):
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
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.)
The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.
Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)
Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.
Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.