Ok, the results are in. These were a huge success! "Wow!" That's all Sean could say! Just "Wow!" After a while he said "I think I like these better!" He was worried about whether or not these would be as good or better than my usual cinnamon rolls. Well, now I may have to make them this way every time.
Normally I make traditional cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. Sean loves them and usually gives me a sad face whenever I suggest a variation. But today, I'm trying sticky buns! Yes, I know, they are supposed to be made with pecans, but we are out of pecans (I couldn't keep the kids out of them and before I knew it they were gone!), so I am using walnuts. I think that the reason that pecans are always used is because they are a much sweeter nut, compared to walnuts. But I like walnuts in my baking and they never seem too bitter once they are baked, so I figured that this change would work for us.
Sean always asks (begs!) Me to make changes to the filling recipe. He figures that if a little butter is good, then a lot of butter is great, and so on... Basically, I have to double the filling. Then I quadruple the cinnamon. Yes, folks, you read that correctly. It's the way he likes it. So, if you want to make it exactly the way I make it, then the filling ingredients would be: 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup cinnamon, and 1/2 cup butter.
Also, the topping calls for light corn syrup and I didn't have any on hand, so I used dark corn syrup instead. I can't imagine that this would change the taste dramatically.
Walnut Sticky Buns
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (the kind that you add to the flour without proofing)
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup milk
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon. salt
4 to 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (I used 4 cups in the dough)
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 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) coarsely chopped pecans (I used walnuts)
2 tablespoons cream or half and half (optional)
Make the dough. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 2 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine.
In a microwaveable bowl (I use a two cup pyrex measure), melt 1/4 c. butter. Then add the milk and microwave for about 30 seconds. Add the eggs. Whisk until smooth.
Add the liquid mixture into the dry, and mix on low speed until blended. Switch to a dough hook and then, again on low speed, slowly incorporate the remaining 2 to 2 1/2 cups of flour. Increase speed to medium, kneading dough until smooth and slightly sticky (adding a little more flour if too wet), 3 to 5 minutes. I like to make sure the dough is quite sticky at this point. It makes for a tender dough.
Shape the dough into a ball and place in a large, oiled bowl. Turn dough over in bowl to coat with the oil from the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour (or 2 hours if not in an entirely warm place). It's the middle of summer, so I put the bowl outside.
It was at this point that I decided to take pictures of the process. Deal with it, ok? lol I don't mean to be annoying, honest! I'm just having fun!
While the dough is rising, I make the filling and the topping.
For the filling, I just melt the butter in a microwaveable bowl and then add the cinnamon and sugar and stir until smooth.
Make the topping. In a 1-quart saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, honey and corn syrup over low heat; stir until sugar and butter are melted. Pour mixture into a greased 9" x 13" pan and sprinkle pecans (or walnuts) on top.
After the dough has risen, punch down. Turn out onto a lightly floured cutting board and let sit for 5 or 10 minutes (ok, I don’t usually let it sit, but I think that if you let it rest for a few minutes, the dough will soften up a bit and be a little easier to shape).
Roll dough out into a 12" x 18" rectangle (I never measure and my rectangle is never picture perfect).
Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Starting with the long side, roll dough into a cylinder. (My cylinder is always pretty lopsided, but it still works just fine). Place seam side down on a flat surface and cut crosswise into 12 slices. Dental floss is good for this, but I often just use a serrated knife. In the picture, I scored it first, mainly because I like making those little slices into the dough, heh heh.
Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 30 to 45 minutes .
Preheat oven to 375̊. Bake buns until golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove pan from oven and immediately (and carefully as not to spill hot topping on your toes!) invert onto a serving tray or baking dish. The first picture is right after taking the pan out of the oven and just before inverting it onto my cutting board. The second one is obviously the inverted one.
Let buns cool slightly and serve warm.