OMG – Sticky Buns

Let me start this post by apologizing for my lengthy break from posting. Things have been busy on my end. I’ve been working on recipes, but just haven’t gotten them into post form. Consider this reconciliation of that. Hopefully the sticky bun recipe makes up for it 😉

I have been on a breakfast food kick, as you’ll see in the next few posts.

In 2012, a few friends and I participated in the Civilian Military Combine. Fun event! For the after race snack, I had made stick buns. It was my first shot at them and brioche dough. They were a hit and one of my friends has been asking about them ever since. In fact, she asked for a batch of sticky buns for her most recent birthday. How could I say no?

Truth be told, I had not made the sticky buns since 2012 because, well, the brioche dough is a big pain in my ass. To say it is time consuming is an understatement.

But, that being said, I like a good challenge and I was looking forward to playing with the dough again. The first time I had made them, the dough didn’t really stick together and pull like the sticky buns I had growing up. But this time, I nailed it 🙂 This recipe was adapted from a recipe posted in Bon Apetit – “The Ultimate Sticky Bins”.

The brioche dough can be made ahead of time, in fact, it can be frozen for later use. I recommend it. If you’re going to take the time to make brioche dough, make a bunch of it and keep some for later 😉

I’d like to write about the timing of making these sticky buns a bit. I made the dough in a food processor (easy!), then chilled the dough for 2 hours. I then pulled out the dough, and punched it down on a lightly floured surface (I used tapioca flour) in preparation to cover the dough with the filling. Then I rolled the dough with the filling, and cut the buns. I placed the buns in a metal pan, covered in plastic, and set them somewhere warm and dry (on top of my radiator) to rise for 2 hours. Let me say we are already at 5+ hours here, so just plan accordingly. Then you bake the buns for about 50 minutes, cool them for 5 minutes, and glaze and serve. Six hours. Just saying.

If you were to break this up, make the dough the night before and chill overnight. That still leaves 3 hours the next day (don’t forget that 2 hour rise), but you can make the filling ahead of time too.

Now that you know how the timing of the buns works, here’s how the recipe works.

For the dough, you will need:

Ingredients - sticky bun dough

1 1/4 c. coconut flour
1/2 c. potato starch
1/2 c. almond flour
1/2 c. tapioca flour
3/4 c. almond coconut milk (50/50 mixture)
1 3/4 t. dry yeast
1 T. honey
4 T. palm sugar
3 t. egg replacer (I used Ener-G)
1 t. sea salt
1/2 c. unsalted butter or ghee, room temperature (1″ pieces)

I use the microwave to heat my milk before adding the yeast. I heat the milk for 1 minute and then add 30 seconds in increments until my milk is 115 degrees F. The temperature of the milk is really important – the yeast won’t activate if the milk is too cold and it will kill the yeast if the milk is too hot. A temperature of 115 – 120 degrees F is where you want to be. I used a candy thermometer to check mine. If you overheat the milk, no worries, just throw it in the fridge for a few minutes to cool it down.

Warm milk - sticky buns

Add 1 T. of honey to the milk and then add the yeast to the warm milk and whisk. Let the mixture double in size.

Activated yeast - sticky buns

Add 4 T. of water to the egg replacer and whisk.

Egg replacer - sticky buns

Combine the flours, salt, and palm sugar in a small bowl. Cut your ghee (or butter if you prefer) into 1″ pieces.

Into the mixer - dough ingredients

You can make the dough with a stand mixer or a food processor. Your choice. I used a stand mixer with a dough hook.

Add the dry mixture to the mixing bowl. Whisk the egg replacer into the milk mixture and add the milk mixture to the bowl.

While the mixer is running, add the ghee, 1 piece at a time. Blend between additions. Mix on medium speed until dough is soft and silky.

Brioche dough - sticky buns

Melt 1/2 T. ghee or butter. Brush a bowl with the melted butter or ghee.

Buttery bowl - sticky buns

Place the dough in the bowl and brush the top with the remaining butter or ghee. Then cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill.

Chilled dough - sticky buns

This is where you either chill the dough for 2 hours or overnight.

Fast forward…..

For the topping, you will need:

1 3/4 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. unsalted butter or ghee
3/4 c. palm sugar
3/4 c. coconut milk (full fat)
1/3 c. honey
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. orange zest

For the bun filling, you will need:

1/4 c. unsalted butter or ghee, room temperature
1/4 c. coconut oil, refined
1/2 c. palm sugar
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for about 10-12 minutes. The pecans will darken slightly and become fragrant. All I can say is what a yummy smell! Set them aside and let them cool completely.

Measure out 1 1/4 c. of the toasted pecans and set aside for the buns.

In a small heavy saucepan, melt the ghee over medium heat. Stir in the palm sugar, coconut milk, honey, salt and orange zest.

Making the sauce - sticky bunsBring the topping to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer the glaze until it is golden brown and glossy, about 3-4 minutes.

Glaze - sticky buns

Pour 1 c. of the glaze into the bottom of an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ metal baking pan. Tilt to coat the bottom and sides. Sprinkle 1/2 c. of toasted pecans over the bottom of the baking pan and set aside to cool.

Now, it’s time to make the buns and bun filling.

Using a mixer on medium speed, beat the ghee, coconut oil, palm sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Set the filling aside.

Filling - sticky buns

Next, take the chilled dough and punch it down on a lightly floured work surface. For this I lightly coat a large piece of wax paper with tapioca flour and work out some frustration 🙂 Really, punch it!

Punched dough - sticky buns

Roll out the dough into a large rectangle. Smother the dough with the filling and sprinkle with 3/4 c. of toasted pecans.

Coated rectangle of dough - sticky buns Now comes the fun part. Carefully roll the dough onto itself to make the sticky buns spirals.

Rolling the dough - sticky bunsRoll of dough - sticky buns

Once your roll is made, you are ready to remove the wax paper and cut your buns.

Place the buns in your metal baking dish. I lined mine with wax paper before putting the sauce and buns in to make cleaning a little easier.

Sticky buns in the baking dish

Loosely cover the buns with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and place them in a warm, dry place to rise. I literally put mine on top of my radiator – worked perfectly. You could also place them in an oven at your lowest heat setting with the door cracked.

Allow the buns to rise for 45 minutes – 1 hour, or for 2 hours if you chilled the dough overnight. They will not double in volume like traditional brioche dough, but they will plumpen.

Risen buns - sticky buns

Once the buns have risen, adjust your baking racks so that metal baking pan will sit in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the buns for about 50 minutes, turning the pan halfway through. If the buns are browning too quickly, tent with foil. The buns are done baking when they are golden brown, the filling is bubbling, and a thermometer registers 185 degrees F when inserted in the center of the bun.

Let the buns cool for about 5 minutes. Spoon the remaining glaze over the buns. Sprinkle 1/2 c. of the toasted pecans over top of the buns.

Place the buns on a wire rack to cool; serve warm or at room temperature.

OMG Sticky Buns

Enjoy! I sure did 🙂

– Nicole

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