Ever have one of those recipes you find and just have to make, even though it's going to take you a whole day (or more), half of the ingredients in your pantry, and a team of bakers to help interpret the recipe? I got a hankering for these sticky buns the moment I saw them, and took advantage of one of the coldest days of the year when I was stuck inside anyway to spend the day in the kitchen, alternating between writing on my laptop and walking through the steps of the recipe.
The original recipe for these sticky buns was unclear on several things, so I took my questions to Facebook and was able to get the input I needed to make the final result a success. As a note, be SURE to use unsalted butter, because the amount of salt in the recipe will be too much if you don't. Plus, the sea salt sprinkled on top is a must.
Salty Caramel Sticky Buns
Adapted from Bon Appétit
Makes 9 very large buns
Bake in a round 10" or square 10x10" pan
2/3 cup whole milk
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from one 1/4-ounce envelope)
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces, room temperature
1/2 tablespoon butter, melted
Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Knead on medium-high speed until dough is soft and silky, about 5 minutes. Dough will be globby and sticky!
Punch down, then refrigerate dough for two hours.
Remove from refrigerator and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
While dough is rising, toast pecans and make sauce:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread out nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant and slightly darkened, 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely. Some of these will go on the bottom of the pan, some will go inside the buns, and some will get sprinkled on top after they've baked (as noted in each section).
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (optional)
Melt butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, cream, honey, salt, and orange zest, if using. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until glaze is golden brown and glossy, 3-4 minutes. Pour 1 cup of glaze into baking pan, tilting to coat bottom and sides. Set aside remaining glaze.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup toasted pecans over bottom of baking pan and let cool.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and kosher salt in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Set filling aside.
All-purpose flour (for dusting)
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon water
a pinch of coarse sea salt
To make buns:
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12x16" rectangle about 1/4" thick.
Arrange the dough on the work surface so one long side faces you.
Spread the filling over dough, leaving a 1" plain border on the side farthest from you.
Sprinkle 3/4 cup chopped pecans over the filling.
Beginning with the long edge closest to you, roll dough into a log, tightening as you roll, and patting in ends if they begin to taper.
Pinch together the seam where the long side meets the roll to seal. Arrange the log seam side down on the work surface.
Using a large knife, cut the log crosswise into 9 equal pieces. Lightly flour the knife between slices if the dough is too sticky.
Turn the buns cut side up and gently pat the top to flatten slightly. If needed, reshape to form round edges by cupping lightly floured hands around each bun and gently pushing and turning them in a circular motion.
Place the buns in prepared pan; space them evenly apart (buns should not touch each other).
AT THIS POINT you can refrigerate the buns to bake in the morning. Cover and chill buns and remaining glaze separately. Store remaining pecans airtight at room temperature.
Loosely cover pan with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let buns rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour (or 1 1/2-2 hours if dough has been chilled overnight).
Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°F.
Whisk egg with 1/2 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Brush tops of buns with egg wash.
Bake, rotating pan halfway through and tenting with foil if browning too quickly, until buns are golden brown, filling is bubbling, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of buns registers 185°F, about 40 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Spoon remaining glaze over. Sprinkle 1/2 cup pecans over. Let cool in pan on a wire rack.
Lightly sprinkle sea salt over. Serve buns warm or at room temperature.