Pecan Sticky Buns
There are pecan sticky buns so good that many-a-weekend we will wake up early to catch the ferry, then drive 30 more minutes to the café before they run out of sticky buns – and they DO run out! Ya’ll, I can’t even explain how good these are. The dough that makes them is fabulous, and each layer of dough between the sticky cinnamonny goodness is thin which really just equates to more layers of cinnamon gooey-goodness. The entire exterior is coated in that gooey carmelly goodness with the right amount of pecans – whatever that means. The name of this restaurant is Farm’s Reach Café in Chimicum, WA. If you are ever on the Olympic Peninsula near the Port Townsend area, it is worth the trip. And as our many weekend excursions may indicate, even if you aren’t in the area, its still worth the trip.
So as I mentioned, it’s a bit of a trek from our house to the pecan sticky buns from heaven…. So I have tried my hand a time or two (or twelve) at copying them. I admit, my layers aren’t quite as plentiful and my carmel-ly cinnamon goodness isn’t quite as ooey-gooey… But friends, these are super close! And did I mention, super good?? Like, eat the whole pan by myself good.
Lets start with the dough. I am LOVING the brioche dough recipe from Artisan Bread in 5. It is also the most similar recipe I have found to the dough used in the rolls at Farm’s Reach. So, for what I am sure won’t be the last time, I am using and recommending that brioche dough recipe. I used it in the brioche knot dinner rolls and these Swedish Hazelnut Buns. Its versatile, super delicious, and surprisingly easy!
For our caramel-ly sticky goodness, we are using simple flavors like brown sugar, cinnamon, kosher salt, butter, and of course, pecans. Cornstarch is my thickener of choice to help everything get nice and sticky.
I coat my pan with some room temperature butter and give it a generous coat of the brown sugar mixture. Then sprinkle a layer of chopped pecans at the bottom of the pan, and then set my sliced rolls on top of the nuts. We want these rolls to be totally covered in carmel-ly gooey goodness. No naked rolls! So, once the rolls have risen, give the tops a little brush of melted butter and sprinkle a light coating of the brown sugar mixture on top right before covering them in foil and baking. These few extra little steps really help take these to the next level!!
Once the rolls are done baking, I let them sit for about 5 minutes in the pan before turning them out onto a large platter so that the pecan side is facing up. This final flip helps the gooey coating run throughout the rolls rather than pooling on the bottom of the pan.
One word of caution… If you make these, be prepared for the outcome. The “outcome” in our house was that they were requested every Saturday morning for a month. And the only reason these requests ceased was a trip to Alaska followed by business trips. In fact, I am realizing that the timing of this post poses the risk of jogging memories. Luckily, these are the bomb, so there are far worse things;)
- ½ recipe 5-min brioche dough from Artisan Bread in 5
- 1 ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. cinnamon
- ¾ tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tsp. corn starch
- 5 tbsp. unsalted butter melted, divided
- 2 tbsp. butter room temperature, divided
- ½ -3/4 cup chopped pecans
Follow the directions for the first rise and chilling of the brioche dough. After your dough has thoroughly chilled, it is ready to use.
In a bowl, use a fork to combine brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and corn starch.
Prepare an 8x8 baking dish by coating the interior with butter. Sprinkle the pan with a generous coating of the brown sugar mixture.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin. Roll it thinner than you normally would for rolls of this style. We want lots of layers. Roll the dough so that the rectangle measures 16-18” along one edge and about 12” on the other edge. Then generously brush 3-4 tbsp. of melted butter over the surface area leaving a ½ inch perimeter. Then very generously coat dough with the brown sugar mixture. Starting with the short edge, roll the dough tightly to form a log. Slice off a ½-1” section at each end of the log. These pieces won’t be very full of filling. Then slice the log into 12 equal slices and place slices in the prepared baking dish. Arrange them in 3 rows of 4 rolls each.
At this stage, you can cover with plastic wrap, until ready to bake or loosely cover and place in a warm dry place (my oven has a 100 degree proofing setting) and allow dough to rise until puffy and almost doubled in size.
Once rolls have risen the desired amount, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Brush the tops of rolls with 1-2 tbsp. of remaining melted butter, and sprinkle remaining brown sugar mixture on top.
Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Once rolls are cooked through, remove from oven and allow to sit covered in pan for about 5 more minutes. Then turn out rolls on a large serving platter. Be sure to use a spatula to scoop out any of the caramelized mixture that sticks to the pan. I usually allow them to cool for 3-5 minutes. Then I cut the remaining tablespoon of room temperature butter into several little pats of butter and place them on top. They will melt on contact with the warm rolls. Serve immediately.
Total time includes dough assembly and both dough rises.