Happy National Sticky Buns Day, kids! If you’ve always wanted to make these gooey, decadent treats at home—well, here you go. Best Regard Bakery and Café owner Robert Duensing’s small-batch sticky bun recipe is perfect for a couple or small family. You are able to use any stand mixer, with regular paddle. No dough hook is needed. Bless his heart—he created a soft, wet dough to avoid stressing out your mixer.
Best Regards Pecan Sticky Buns
Makes 4 buns
2 large eggs, placed in a bowl of warm water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon yeast
¼ stick (4 tablespoons) butter
¼ cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour, plus ½ cup reserved
The Schmeer: (mmmm, schmear!)
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ stick (4 tablespoons) melted butter
6 tablespoons heavy cream
The Goo: (mmmm, goo!)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
Pinch salt (1/8 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
Generous handful pecans, whole or chopped
For the dough: In a medium mixing bowl, stir together sugar, salt, and yeast. Remove eggs from water and crack into the bowl. Warm butter and buttermilk in the microwave on low power 30 seconds. Whisk melted butter mixture into the sugar mixture until well incorporated.
In a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment gradually add 1 cup flour on medium speed for 1-3 minutes, or until the dough forms “strings.” Reduce the mixer to low speed and add the remaining ½ cup flour until the dough thickens. Return dough to a clean bowl; cover dough with a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot free from drafts for 1-2 hours. The dough will double in size.
For the schmeer: In a small saucepan, heat brown sugar, cinnamon, and sugar to boiling; stir in cream and set aside.
For the goo: In a small saucepan, heat butter, sugar, and salt. Bring mixture back to a rolling boil. (Do not use the whisk again to stir the mixture or you will restart the crystallization process!) Reduce heat to a slow boil for 2-6 minutes, or until the sugar mixture coats the back of spoon.
Alternatively, in a microwave-safe bowl, microwave on high for 45 seconds keeping in mind the liquid will quadruple. With either method, continue to boil sugar a little longer for a darker, more robust flavor but watch closely or it will burn. (Chef note: For more caramel flavor, remove mixture from heat and add vanilla.)
To assemble: Dust a tabletop and dough with a few tablespoons of flour. Gently roll dough into to the size of an 8 1/2- x 11-inch piece of notebook paper.
Re-warm schmeer if it has stiffened up. Using a spatula, schmeer the top 10 inches of dough. Wet the last 1 inch of dough with water. Roll the dough towards you and seal with the wet edge. With a sharp knife, cut dough into 4 equal pieces.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place dough in an 8-by 8-inch brownie pan coated with nonstick spray. Pour goo into pan and add a layer of pecans. Place cut cinnamon rolls, ugly side up, on top of pecans. Set prepared pan aside in a warm place to rise for 30-45 minutes then bake 17-20 minutes until top is well browned.