To save time on brunch day, refrigerate the assembled buns the night before, then let rise at room temperature until puffy before baking. If you like, add a sprinkle of flaky sea salt before serving for a last-minute infusion of salty flavor to temper the sweetness.
Caramel-Pecan Sticky Buns
For the dough:
- 1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) whole milk, warmed (110°F/43°C)
- 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 4 1/2 cups (22 oz./705 g) all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks, plus more for greasing
For the caramel:
- 6 Tbs. (3 oz./90 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup (7 oz./220 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3 Tbs. dark honey
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) coarsely chopped pecans
- 4 Tbs. (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (31/2 oz./105 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1. To make the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the granulated sugar, eggs, flour and salt. Attach the dough hook and knead on low speed, adding a little more flour as needed, until the ingredients come together. Add the butter and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and springy, about 7 minutes. Lightly grease a large bowl with butter. Form the dough into a ball, place it in the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise at room temperature until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
2. Butter two 8-inch (20-cm) square baking dishes.
3. To make the caramel, stir together the melted butter, brown sugar, honey, salt and pecans. Spread half of the pecan mixture in each pan.
4. Punch down the dough and transfer to a floured work surface. Cut it in half. Roll each half into a rectangle about 8 by 14 inches (20 by 35 cm). Position them horizontally. Spread each rectangle with 2 Tbs. of the butter, then half of the brown sugar and half of the cinnamon, leaving a 1/2-inch (12-mm) border on the side farthest from you. Starting at the side closest to you, roll each rectangle into a log and pinch the seams to seal. Cut each log crosswise into 12 equal slices and arrange, cut side up, in the pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm, draft-free spot until puffy, about 1 hour, then let stand at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.
5. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then invert each pan and unmold the buns onto a plate. When the buns are just cool enough to handle, pull apart and serve warm. Makes 24 buns.
Couples will find recipes and ideas to make every gathering memorable in our brand-new Newlywed Entertaining Cookbook.