Tuesdays with Dorie-Pecan Sticky Buns

Memorial Day weekend was a blast! We were in Savannah for four days of fun in the sun. Our little boat was loaded with a grill, beach chairs and lots of food for our day trips to Wassaw Island, only accessible by boat, but with a lovely natural beach. Not the Caribbean, but close enough. The sticky buns were a welcome sight at breakfast as you can see from the photo below. The brioche dough was made several days before, divided into two flat pieces and frozen. I’m an early riser, so was able to finish the recipe and have them piping hot by the time when everyone awoke. I managed to get some quick photos before they were totally consumed. Madam Chow chose this recipe for this edition of TWD and it was a great pick.Pecan Honey Sticky BunsMakes 15 buns For the Glaze:1 cup (packed) light brown sugar1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces1/4 cup honey1-1/2 cups pecans (whole or pieces)For the Filling:1/4 cup sugar3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar1 tablespoon ground cinnamon3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperatureFor the Buns:1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche loaves (see below), chilled and ready to shape (make the full recipe and cut the dough in half after refrigerating it overnight)Generously butter a 9-x-13-inch baking pan (a Pyrex pan is perfect for this).To make the glaze: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter, and honey to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Pour the glaze into the buttered pan, evening it out as best you can by tilting the pan or spreading the glaze with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle over the pecans.To make the filling: Mix the sugars and cinnamon together in a bowl. If necessary, in another bowl, work the butter with a spatula until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.To shape the buns: On a flour-dusted work surface, roll the chilled dough into a 16-inch square. Using your fingers or a pastry brush, spread the softened butter over the dough. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar, leaving a 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the dough into a cylinder, keeping the roll as tight as you can. (At this point, you can wrap the dough airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months . . . . Or, if you want to make just part of the recipe now, you can use as much of the dough as you’d like and freeze the remainder. Reduce the glaze recipe accordingly).With a chef’s knife, using a gentle sawing motion, trim just a tiny bit from the ends of the roll if they’re very ragged or not well filled, then cut the log into 1-inch thick buns. (Because you trim the ragged ends of the dough, and you may have lost a little length in the rolling, you will get 15 buns, not 16.) Fit the buns into the pan cut side down, leaving some space between them.Lightly cover the pan with a piece of wax paper and set the pan in a warm place until the buns have doubled in volume, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. The buns are properly risen when they are puffy, soft, doubled and, in all likelihood, touching one another.Getting ready to bake: When the buns have almost fully risen , center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.Remove the sheet of wax paper and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Bake the sticky buns for about 30 minutes, or until they are puffed and gorgeously golden; the glaze will be bubbling away merrily. Pull the pan from the oven.The sticky buns must be unmolded minutes after they come out of the oven. If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicone mate or buttered foil. Be careful – the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.What You’ll Need for the Golden Brioche Dough (this recipe makes enough for two brioche loaves. If you divide the dough in half, you would use half for the sticky buns, and you can freeze the other half for a later date, or make a brioche loaf out of it!):2 packets active dry yeast (each packet of yeast contains approx. 2 1/4 teaspoons)1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour2 teaspoons salt3 large eggs, at room temperature1/4 cup sugar3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firmWhat You’ll Need for the Glaze (you would brush this on brioche loaves, but not on the sticky buns):1 large egg1 tablespoon waterTo Make The Brioche: Put the yeast, water and milk in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using a wooden spoon, stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add the flour and salt, and fit into the mixer with the dough hook, if you have one. Toss a kitchen towel over the mixer, covering the bowl as completely as you can– this will help keep you, the counter and your kitchen floor from being showered in flour. Turn the mixer on and off a few short pulses, just to dampen the flour (yes, you can peek to see how you’re doing), then remove the towel, increase the mixer speed to medium-low and mix for a minute or two, just until the flour is moistened. At this point, you’ll have a fairly dry, shaggy mess.Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, set the mixer to low and add the eggs, followed by the sugar. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, until the dough forms a ball. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter in 2-tablespoon-size chunks, beating until each piece is almost incorporated before adding the next. You’ll have a dough that is very soft, almost like batter. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.Transfer the dough to a clean bowl (or wash out the mixer bowl and use it), cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 40 to 60 minutes, depending upon the warmth of your room.Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and letting it fall with a slap to the bowl. Cover the bowl with the plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator. Slap the dough down in the bowl every 30 minutes until it stops rising, about 2 hours, then leave the uncovered dough in the refrigerator to chill overnight. (After this, you can proceed with the recipe to make the brioche loaves, or make the sticky buns instead, or freeze all or part of the dough for later use.)The next day, butter and flour two 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch pans.Pull the dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece of the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll each piece into a log about 3 1/2 inches long. Arrange 4 logs crosswise in the bottom of each pan. Put the pans on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat, cover the pans lightly with wax paper and leave the loaves at room temperature until the dough almost fills the pans, 1 to 2 hours. (Again, rising time with depend on how warm the room is.)Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.To Make the Glaze: Beat the egg with the water. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the loaves with the glaze.Bake the loaves until they are well risen and deeply golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pans and turn the loaves out onto the racks. Invert again and cool for at least 1 hour.


  1. Engineer Baker
    May 27, 2008 / 11:34 am

    Wow, you must really be an early riser to get these on the table for everyone else! What commitment!

  2. Jess
    May 27, 2008 / 12:51 pm

    Enjoying these buns in Savannah (one of my favorite places) – how can it get any better? Nice job!

  3. Anonymous
    May 27, 2008 / 1:09 pm

    You are so much more bad a’d than me. Mornings where I want to make cinnamon buns, breakfast turns into brunch while I wait for them to rise. Can you adopt me now please?

  4. Christine
    May 27, 2008 / 1:22 pm

    Looks like your sticky buns were well enjoyed! They look delish and love the pics

  5. April
    May 27, 2008 / 2:27 pm

    They look great! I am really jealous that you spent the weekend at the beach.

  6. Rebecca
    May 27, 2008 / 2:34 pm

    You got them done by breakfast? Oh, you sticky bun warrior, you. Quit bragging! 😉

  7. LyB
    May 27, 2008 / 3:12 pm

    I got up real early to get these ready for breakfast too, they were so worth it! Yours look incredible! 🙂

  8. Anonymous
    May 27, 2008 / 4:14 pm

    Your taste tester is adorable. Glad they were a hit.

  9. Jayne
    May 27, 2008 / 4:39 pm

    What a great weekend you had! And nice job with the sticky buns, however, more than that, even – what a beautiful black and white shot! He is so sweet!

  10. Madam Chow
    May 27, 2008 / 5:00 pm

    It seems like one youngster liked these sticky buns!

  11. kim
    May 27, 2008 / 5:21 pm

    glad you enjoyed the holiday! beautiful job on the buns and lovely pics!

  12. Amy
    May 27, 2008 / 6:03 pm

    Mmm! They look great and I love the picture of your “taste tester”!! 🙂

  13. Lori
    May 27, 2008 / 8:29 pm

    I love that shot of your little boy. My daughters ate these up and are requesting more. Thank God I have the other half in the freezer.

  14. CB
    May 27, 2008 / 8:41 pm

    That picture of your little boy eating a bun should be in Dorie’s book. Its fabulous. Great job!Clara @ I♥food4thought

  15. The Kitchen Vixen
    May 27, 2008 / 9:08 pm

    what an adorable picture! you buns look great.

  16. Heather
    May 27, 2008 / 11:13 pm

    Your buns look great! And your taster is so cute!

  17. PheMom
    May 28, 2008 / 12:43 am

    How fun! Great pictures – it sounds like the perfect way to spend the holiday with family.

  18. mimi
    May 28, 2008 / 12:57 am

    i wish i was an early riser baker! your buns look great and i bet everyone loved them, what a treat!

  19. Linda
    May 28, 2008 / 4:06 am

    What commitment to get these buns ready first thing in the morning…beautiful results!

  20. Peabody
    May 28, 2008 / 7:24 am

    Looks like everyone enjoyed the buns.

  21. Caitlin
    May 28, 2008 / 1:10 pm

    Those sticky buns sure were good. I ate two!

  22. Shari
    May 28, 2008 / 6:39 pm

    I love the picture of your boy enjoying his cinnamon bun! Shari@Whisk: a food blog

  23. Mevrouw Cupcake
    May 29, 2008 / 10:14 am

    Okay, I’m obviously going to have to stop being so lazy in the morning, in order to have these on the table at a decent breakfast time! 😉

  24. Lynnylu
    May 29, 2008 / 7:33 pm

    engineer baker-believe me, I don’t like waking up early-I wish I could sleep later.jess-thanks, Savannah is my very favorite place!lemontartlet-no problem!christine-thanks, they were eaten up which is exactly what I wanted so they wouldn’t be staring me in the face.april-thanks, I love the beach, too.rebecca-with 12 people in the house for the weekend, I had to get up early!lyb-glad to meet another early bird, the buns are worth the effort.bakingwiththe boys-thanks, I think so, too.jayne-thanks, he’s a cutie!madam chow-thanks-great recipe you picked out.kim-thanks for the compliments on my photos.amy-thanks, he’s a great kid!Lori-thanks for the great compliment! I wish I had made the other half in sticky bus to freeze.cb-thanks, your compliment means a lot to me.heather-thanks, he’s a little doll.phemom- thanks, I had a good weekend with them.mimi-thanks, I wish I weren’t an early riser!linda, thanks, I wanted to have the buns since I had a big crowd for the weekend.peabody-They literally disappeared! Thanks for commenting.caitlin-glad you liked them-will have them again for you.shari-thanks, he really enjoyed them.mevrouw cupcake- I wish I could sleep in. I needed a big group to eat the buns, so I wouldn’t-totally selfish of me.kitchen vixen-thanks

  25. Jaime
    May 30, 2008 / 1:21 am

    great job! i don’t know how you got up early enough to do that! i am NOT a morning person!

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