Do you know the difference between a cinnamon roll and a sticky bun? It’s the sticky!
The bready part of both are essentially the same – yeasty dough slathered with butter, cinnamon and sugar, then rolled up and cut into slices.
But while cinnamon rolls are then baked and sometimes coated with frosting, sticky buns are cooked with a caramel-type syrup. The pan is inverted as soon as it comes out of the oven so the sticky goo and nuts can ooze into the roll.
I’d never made either before, but thought I’d give it a try in honor of National Sticky Bun Day on Feb. 21. I was a little nervous, however, after the baked doughnuts disaster. I wasn’t sure how well I’d do with another breakfast food that requires yeast.
These came out great, though! I was so happy when the dough noticeably doubled in size after letting it rise for an hour.
This recipe also called for orange zest in the dough, which was great because I’d just harvested a bunch of super fragrant oranges off the tree on our front porch. It made the whole house smell delicious.
Make these the night before you want to eat them. Not only do they need to rise in the refrigerator overnight, but then you just have to pop them in the oven for a half-hour in the morning and you’ve got a tasty, warm breakfast.
Recipe: Sticky buns
Adapted from Simply Recipes
- 1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°)
- 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup milk
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest
- 1 1/4 teaspoon. salt
- 4 to 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 Tbsp. honey
- 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) coarsely chopped pecans
- Combine the warm water, yeast and one teaspoon of sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Stir to dissolve and let sit until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Once the yeast is foamy, add in the milk, butter, remaining sugar, egg yolks, orange zest, salt and three cups of flour. Mix on low speed until blended.
- Switch to a dough hook and, still on low speed, slowly incorporate the rest of the flour. Increase speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and sticky, about three to five minutes. Add a little more flour if the dough appears too wet (I added a few extra tablespoons).
- Coat a large bowl with butter. Shape the dough into a ball and turn the dough over in the bowl to coat it with the butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees, then turn it off. Put the bowl into the oven and let rise for one hour.
- After the dough has doubled in volume, take it out of the oven. Punch it down.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and let sit 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Melt the butter in a separate bowl.
- Roll the dough out into a 12-by-18 inch rectangle. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle the the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Starting with the long side, roll the dough into a cylinder. Place the seam side down and cut crosswise into 15 slices.
- In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter, honey and corn syrup over low heat. Stir until the sugar and butter are melted. Pour mixture into a 9-by-13 inch pan and sprinkle pecans on top.
- Place the dough slices on top of the pecans and caramel mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator overnight.
- Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let sit out as the oven preheats to 375 degrees. Bake the buns until golden, about 30 minutes. Remove pan and immediately invert onto a serving tray. Let buns cool slightly and serve warm.
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