Tuesdays With Dorie

TWD: Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

Oh YUM.  When I saw that Madame Chow, of Madame Chow’s Kitchen, had chosen this recipe, I was delighted.  Some of my very favorite things are involved here:  pecans, honey, cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter.  What more could I ask of a pastry?
I decided to make them for Saturday of last week, beer brewing day for my husband and his friend John, because I figured John could help eat them and then I wouldn’t feel obligated to eat all of them myself.  Heh heh.
Anyway, I made the brioche dough for this recipe on Friday evening, so it could have the requisite rest in the fridge overnight.  Then, next morning, I melted and rolled and sprinkled and baked, and oh, my, were there some happy folk at our house.  All but Julia, who, being Julia, decided that she didn’t like them that morning.  She changed her tune later in the day.  She’s funny that way.
Anyway, the recipe lives on pages 51-53 in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Kitchen to Yours, and many thanks to Madame Chow for choosing it!
Here we go.
As I said, I made the brioche on Friday night, so I’ll start there.
Golden Brioche Dough (pgs 48-50)
You will need:
2 packets active dry yeast (each packet of yeast contains approx. 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch water
1/3 cup just-warm-to-the-touch whole milk
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature but still slightly firm
To 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 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.)  (You’ll only need half the dough for the sticky bun recipe.)
Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Makes 15 buns
For the Glaze:
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup honey
1-1/2 cups pecans (whole or pieces)
For the Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons (packed) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the Buns:
1/2 recipe dough for Golden Brioche loaves, 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.  (For some reason I didn’t have the patience for this that morning, so I mushed it around some and left it at that.  The sticky buns did not seem to mind.)  (HAHAHAHA – joke’s on me.  I just this second realized I misread that direction while I was making these, and had attempted to mix the cinnamon and sugar into the butter.  Duh.)
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. (Or, if you’re dopey like me, dot the dough with your blend of cinnamon, sugar and soft butter and smear it around a bit to distribute it evenly.) 
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.  (Goofy side note here – first time I ever made any kind of buns like this, years ago, I read that same directive – "fit the buns in the pan cut side down" and became paralized because, well, they’re cut on TWO sides, so WHICH cut side are they talking about?  It took forever to get those things into the pan.  I have since recovered.)
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.  (And complaining to their mother about it.  "Mom, he keeps touching me!"  "Well she’s on MY side of the pan!"  But I digress.  And anthropomorphisize food on occasion.)
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. 
(That’s the view through the bottom of my pyrex pan, in case you were wondering.)
If you do not have a rimmed platter large enough to hold them, use a baking sheet lined with a silicone matt or buttered foil.  Be careful – the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.
Dorie should have added another warning in her notes.  "Be careful – these sticky buns are super-yummy and super-addictive." You know, just as a courtesy.
And on brew day morning, these were definitely a hit.  (Except, as noted above, with Julia the Ornery.)  Everyone (but Julia) had two.  Including my son.
(And it’s not the camera – he’s blurry from the sugar.  He looked like that for a while.)
I think it’s safe to say I’ll probably make these again.  As Dorie said in her intro to this recipe – "It’s made of brown sugar, butter, honey and lots of pecans, and when it’s baked, the pecans turn into pralines.  What’s not to like?"

33 thoughts on “TWD: Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

  1. ha ha i didn’t even notice the cut side down thing, but i would have wondered the same thing!! i actually forgot that you unmolded these upside down..! they look FAB!!!

  2. Haha – anthropomorphizing food is way too easy, isn’t it? And don’t worry, I’ve done the cut-side-down thing too ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Oh, what I wouldn’t give right now for one of those and a cup of coffee! They look delicious! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Oh Dear Lord…you had a child helping you, and your dough still looked like, well, dough. Great post, so many pretty pictures. If I ever attempt this again, I will be sure to follow along with your post!
    And it’s okay to laugh at my post…if no one found it funny, it would just be too sad. BTW, still haven’t eaten a bite – going on nealy 48 hours now. What gives? What is this flu? Do you think Oprah would buy it from me? I mean really? I’ve lost five pounds alreay!

  5. Call me nuts but I love that “skyview upside down pyrex” picture! Beautiful buns (I feel weird typing this? LOL). Great job!
    Clara @ Iโ™ฅfood4thought

  6. they look so yummy! glad i wasn’t the only one to think that “cut side down” thing was ridiculous ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. I am so glad I wasn’t the only one who measured the 16 in square! I just didn’t take pics of it! Pics are great and your buns look delish!

  8. You know, I’ve never, ever had so many marvelous compliments on my buns before. ๐Ÿ™‚ I will have to post about them more often.

  9. They look incredable! I think I was also like that when I had a sticky bun. I was jumping off the walls! Had to do a lot of running to make up for the sugar load!! Haha.

  10. i’m loving your pyrex picture! and the shot above it…and the one below it. yeah, all of your photos are stellar. of course, it doesn’t hurt that sticky buns are completely photogenic and deliciously decadent! awesome post! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I am a big fan of your step-by-step photos. They look great, and your sticky buns are just perfect!

    Thank you for your advice. I think I will make some savory items out of my salty brioche dough. I think cheese would go wonderfully with it!

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