Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

The house is big, and you have your own garden. Big deal. But when you’re just by the road, choking with traffic and insane drivers, it’s a nightmare 24/7. You can just almost taste the odorless carbon monoxide and smell the motorcyclists’ sweat. The air is so bad that not once can you rest from cleaning the dust bunnies. At night, there’s no need to count the sheep. Just count the number of times you get awaken by the screeching and vroom-ing of rude speeding traffic. By the time you finish, it’s probably daybreak. Hey, when was the last time you actually slept?
So think how stoked I was when the family finally moved. After one year living on dust (literally), we can actually live a life. For real. Sure, the house is smaller (way smaller), and there’s not much space to room about. But, it’s so peaceful, quiet, and windy. There are also plenty of squishy fat cats around for the dog to annoy. That said, I have my own baking corner. It’s cozy, cozy, and just cozy. I love it so much that I keep thinking about the next thing to bake.
Since mornings here have been so cool and breezy, and it’s such a joy to relax in the balcony, I made breakfast extra sweet today. Extra sweet, and extra special. It’s a batch of sticky buns based on a rich buttery brioche dough, which requires cranking up your sturdiest mixer the day before. The brioche is super soft and tender crumbed. And when it has soaked in the sugars and honey, it is a breakfast never to forget.
Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Baking, from my home to yours, by Dorie Greenspan
makes 15
This recipe requires half of the brioche recipe. As advised by Dorie, do not half the recipe. You may use the other half of the dough for a brioche loaf. Otherwise, it can’t hurt to make 30! On another note, I made only half the amount of glaze indicated, which is already slightly over-the-top for me. Unless you have an ultra sweet tooth, please half it. Otherwise, don’t blame me for your next visit to the dentist.

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 (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 matt or buttered foil.  Be careful – the glaze is super-hot and super-sticky.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.
Golden Brioche

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
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.)

5 thoughts on “Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

  1. Oh this sounds soo good ,i know exactly what u mean coz we moved a bit back too:-)
    To a windy place on a hill , where everything flies at times and its quiet too:-)
    And ur goodies are lovely!
    I for one would lovee to hang around these …..

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