Prep Time: 3 hours prep. Place sticky buns in refrigerator overnight and bake in the AM
Source: The Food Lab: Better Cooking Through Science
Filling: only mix sugar and cinnamon. Melt butter and spread on dough
Note on preparing in the PM and baking in the AM
Note from the author on baking in the AM: Being a night owl and a late riser, I like to prepare the buns and let them rise overnight in the fridge so all I have to do is bake them off in the morning. To do so, place the buns in the refrigerator immediately after covering them in step 6 and allow to rise for at least 6 hours, and up to 12. The next day, remove the buns from the fridge while the oven preheats, then proceed as directed.
Makes 12 sticky buns
For the Dough
3 large eggs
⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons kosher or 1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
20 ounces (4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
For the Pecan-Caramel Sauce
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons buttermilk
4 ounces (about 1 cup) toasted pecans coarsely chopped
Pinch of kosher salt
For the Filling
⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1. Make the dough: Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until homogeneous. Add the brown sugar, buttermilk, salt, yeast, and melted butter and whisk until homogeneous (the mixture may clump up a bit—this is OK). Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until a cohesive ball of dough forms.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes, or until completely homogeneous, smooth, and silky. Return to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise at room temperature until roughly doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
3. Make the pecan-caramel sauce: Cook the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is bubbling, about 2 minutes. Add the buttermilk, pecans, and salt and stir to combine, then pour the mixture evenly over the bottom of a 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish.
4. Make the filling: Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
5. Roll out the dough: Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and lightly flour it. Shape into a rough rectangle with your hands and then, using a rolling pin, roll into a rectangle about 16 inches long and 12 inches wide, with a short end toward you. Brush with the melted butter, leaving a 1-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture and spread it with your hands until the buttered portion is evenly coated. Roll the dough up jelly-roll-style into a tight cylinder, using a bench scraper as necessary to assist you. Pinch the seam shut and turn the dough so that it’s seam side down. Use your hands to even out its shape.
6. Use a sharp knife to cut the roll into 12 even slices: The easiest way to do this is to cut it in half, cut each half in half, and then cut each section into thirds. Nestle the 12 rolls with the swirl pattern facing up in the prepared baking dish, making sure the slices from the ends of the log go cut side down. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until roughly doubled in volume, about 2 hours (for overnight instructions, see Note above). The rolls should be well puffed and pressed tightly against each other.
7. While the dough is rising, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F. Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake until the buns are golden brown and well puffed, about 30 minutes, rotating the dish once. Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then invert the buns onto a serving platter; scrape out any excess goo from the pan and spoon over the buns.