Had to add something sweet today 🙂 Not like that isn’t a regular occurrence in my world, but still. I’m just gonna add a really quick post to go along with this since this recipe is soooo long! I know. It looks daunting. But don’t be scared off by the long list of instructions. This recipe really is so worth it!! I mean, the salted caramel on top should say it all (even though I forgot to add the sea salt before I took the stupid picture (frustration). Anyways! These really are Amazing, with a capital “A”!! It’s all from scratch, so it does take a while, but you can also make your dough a day ahead. So it works out. Just trust me, try these. Enjoy!!

Printable Recipe

The Ultimate Sticky Buns
Sweet Dough
2/3 cup whole milk
5 Tbsp. sugar, divided
1 3/4 tsp. active dry yeast (from one 1/4-oz. envelope)
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1″ pieces, room temperature, plus 1/2 Tbsp., melted


Topping
1 3/4 cups chopped pecans (about 8 oz.)
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 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. finely grated orange zest (optional)

Buns
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. kosher salt

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All-purpose four (for dusting)
1 large egg
Coarse sea salt (such as Maldon)

Sweet Dough: Start preparing Sweet Dough by heating milk in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave until an instant-read thermometer registers 110-115 degrees 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 Tbsp. sugar, four, 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. Place dough in refrigerator and chill dough for 2 hours. (Can be made a day ahead. Just cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.)

Topping: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spay an 8x8x2″ metal baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. 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.

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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. Roll out the dough 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.

Sprinkle 3/4 cup chopped pecans over 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.

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Using a large knife (or I use dental floss or a this wire),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 slighty. 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).

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 to 2 hours if dough has been chilled overnight. Arrange a rack in middle of oven, preheat to 350 degrees F. Whisk egg with 1/2 tsp. 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 degrees F about 50 minutes. Spoon remaining glaze over. Sprinkle 1/2 cup pecans over. Let cool in pan on wire rack.

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

Yield: About 9 buns.