Pecan Sticky Buns
- 1 packet (7 grams or 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant or active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) milk
- 1 tablespoon (10 grams) granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 large whole egg
- 3 3/4 cups (470 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting counter
- 1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
- Oil or butter to coat bowl
- 1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup (145 grams) dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) heavy cream
- 1/3 cup (110 grams) honey
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups toasted and cooled, chopped pecans (divided)
Make the dough: If using active dry yeast, it first needs to be proofed: warm milk to lukewarm, about 110 to 116 degrees F. Place in bottom of large mixing bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Stir in 1 tablespoon sugar and yeast and set aside for 5 minutes. It will look a dissolved and slightly foamy.
If using instant yeast, simply stir it into cold milk along with sugar.
Continue with either type of yeast, whisk in butter, yolks and whole egg. Add half the flour and combine with the dough hook of a stand mixer or a wooden spoon, if mixing by hand. Add salt, then second half of flour and continue to mix until a craggy dough forms. If using a stand mixer, knead for 5 to 7 minutes on low until a stretchy, elastic dough forms. If kneading by hand, do so for 5 to 10 minutes on a floured counter. Lightly oil or butter your large bowl (for the stand mixer, I scoop the dough out long enough to oil it, then use the bowl again) and let dough rise until doubled, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours for active dry yeast or 2 to 2 1/2 hours with instant yeast.
About 45 minutes before the dough has doubled, prepare your caramel base: Melt butter in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, cream, honey and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until caramel is golden brown and glossy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour into a the bottom and up the sides of a deep 9×13-inch baking dish and let the dish cool down in the fridge while you assemble your rolls.
Roll out and fill buns: In a small bowl, stir sugars, cinnamon and salt together. Remove slightly cooled caramel base from fridge and sprinkle it with 1 cup pecans.
Turn the risen dough out onto a floured work surface and roll it into a rectangle that is 18 inches wide (the side nearest to you) and 12 or so inches long. (It’s okay if it goes longer/thinner, but try to keep the width at 18″.) Brush the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle it with the filling and then 1/2 cup pecans. Roll the dough into a tight 18-inch long spiral. Using a sharp serrated knife, very, very gently saw the log into 1 1/2-inch sections; you should get 12. Arrange the buns evenly spread out over pecan-caramel base.
Proof buns: Cover with plastic wrap and proof at room temperature for another 1 to 2 hours, until they press tightly together in the pan and look puffed again. Or, you can refrigerate the buns overnight, and up to 16 hours. If chilling overnight, remove from fridge 1 hour before you’d like them to bake. Heat oven to 350°F (175°C).
Bake buns: Bake your buns until they’re puffed and golden (the internal temperature should read 185 degrees F), approximately 30 to 40 minutes. If they brown too quickly on top before the centers are baked, cover dish with foil for remaining baking time.
Let rest in pan on cooling rack for 2 to 3 minutes, then carefully and quickly invert onto a large serving tray, nudging any caramel left behind in the pan or puddled in the center of the buns back evenly over the tops and sides. Eat warm. Store any leftovers in the fridge, rewarming slightly.