Resurrection Brunch Fare: Pecan Sticky Buns

Today’s
recipe for sticky buns may very well be the most decadent thing I have EVER
made, and definitely not healthy in anyway. However, when I saw a photo of one
on the cover of the March issue of Bon appetite I made a decision to
temporarily forget my health conscious ways, and boy am I glad I did!  Dripping with caramel and encircling an
intoxicating mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans; these light –as-air
buns are indulgence perfected.

Unlike other
morning bun recipes this version calls for twice the amount of butter and way
less flour; resulting in a small, very pliable dough.  As a result kneading proved difficult, and
when I became entangled in a sticky web of the stuff I decided to add another 1/3
cup of flour to the mix.  I worried this
would irreparably damage the bread, but I could not roll it out any other way. The
recipe also calls for multiple rises along the way, and because of my schedule
I tweaked these too; breaking the rise into one long rise and two shorter
ones.  With all these changes, and the
rather paltry size of the uncooked buns I was certain my visions for perfect
sticky buns would be dashed, and the rolls would cook up into hard little rocks.
Instead I was astonished and delighted to find that they more than doubled in
size resulting in the some of the most tender and impressive rolls that I have
ever made.

On top of the
excellent bread though there is also the sauce. Oh the sauce!  A combination of butter, brown, sugar and
honey melds together to form the most ridiculously sweet topping that bread has
ever experienced.  Pouring the sauce
around and over the buns just before baking imbues them with moisture, and of
course decadent sweetness. Once cooled, the sauce thickens into a caramel like
confection that enrobes each bun, and will have you licking your digits and
greedily scraping the pan long after the last rolls are gone.

So go run a
half marathon, and then replenish your glucose stores by whipping up these
babies and 

experiencing carbohydrate nirvana.

The Ultimate Sticky Buns

BA April 2012 by Melissa Roberts

Dough:

2/3 cups whole or 2% milk

5 tablespoons sugar, divided

1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
(from one 1/4-ounce envelope)

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose
flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter,
cut into 1″ pieces, room temperature, plus 1/2 tablespoon, melted

Topping:

3/4 cups chopped pecans
(about 8 ounces)

1/2 cup (1 stick)
unsalted butter

3/4 cup (packed) dark
brown sugar

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup honey

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon finely
grated orange zest (optional)

Buns:

1/2 cup (1 stick)
unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup (packed) dark
brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground
cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly
grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

dough chilled for 2 hours

All-purpose flour (for
dusting)

1 large egg

Coarse sea salt (such as
Maldon)

Special
equipment:

 An 8x8x2″ metal
baking pan

dough:

Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°F–115°F. Transfer milk to a 2-cup measuring cup; stir in 1 Tbsp. sugar. Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs; whisk until smooth.

Combine remaining 4 tablespoons sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add milk mixture. With mixer running, add 1/2 cup room-temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Knead on medium-high speed until dough is soft and silky, about 5 minutes.

Brush a medium bowl with some melted butter; place dough in bowl. Brush top of dough with remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap. (If making Sticky Buns, chill dough for 2 hours, then proceed with recipe.) DO AHEAD: 

Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic; chill.

Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 1–1 1/2 hours (or 2-2 1/2 hours if dough has been refrigerated)

topping: 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread out nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until
fragrant and slightly darkened, 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely. Set 1 1/4
cups nuts aside for buns.

Melt butter in a small
heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, cream, honey, salt, and
orange zest, if using. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until
glaze is golden brown and glossy, 3-4 minutes. Pour 1 cup of glaze into baking
pan, tilting to coat bottom and sides. Set aside remaining glaze. Sprinkle 1/2
cup toasted pecans over bottom of baking pan and let cool.

buns: 

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg,
and kosher salt in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Set
filling aside.

Punch down dough;
transfer to a floured work surface. Lightly dust top with flour. Follow
instructions in Cooks’ Notes, for assembling buns with filling and 3/4 cup
pecans. DO AHEAD: 

Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill buns and
remaining glaze separately. Store remaining pecans airtight at room
temperature.

Loosely cover pan with
plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let buns rise in a warm, draft-free area until
doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour, or 1 1/2-2 hours if dough has been
chilled overnight.

Arrange a rack in middle
of oven; preheat to 350°F. Whisk egg with 1/2 teaspoon water in a small bowl.
Brush tops of buns with egg wash. Bake, rotating pan halfway through and
tenting with foil if browning too quickly, until buns are golden brown, filling
is bubbling, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of buns
registers 185°F, about 50 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Spoon remaining
glaze over. Sprinkle 1/2 cup pecans over. Let cool in pan on a wire rack.

Lightly sprinkle sea
salt over. Serve buns warm or at room temperature.

Cooks’ Notes:1. Roll out the dough
on a lightly floured surface into a 12×16″ rectangle about 1/4″
thick. Arrange the dough on the work surface so one long side faces you. Spread
the cinnamon-sugar mixture over dough, leaving a 1″ plain border on the
side farthest from you.


2. Sprinkle 3/4 cup chopped pecans over the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Beginning
with the long edge closest to you, roll dough into a log, tightening as you
roll, and patting in ends if they begin to taper. Pinch together the seam where
the long side meets the roll to seal. Arrange the log seam side down on the
work surface.


3. Using a large knife, cut the log crosswise into 9 equal pieces. Lightly
flour the knife between slices if the dough is too sticky. Turn the buns cut
side up and gently pat the top to flatten slightly. If needed, reshape to form
round edges by cupping lightly floured hands around each bun and gently pushing
and turning them in a circular motion. Place the buns in prepared pan; space
them evenly apart (buns should not touch each other).

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