These things are seriously naughty! I actually never even knew what a sticky bun was until recently. And I guess I had been missing out. And if you have never tried them, then this will be a perfect introduction.
Sticky buns are cinnamon buns baked over a mix of caramel sauce and nuts. The buns are inverted after baking so that the sauce is on top. The result is a caramel sauce covered nutty cinnamon bun. This might be the naughtiest tear & share bun out there. And if you do not want to share, then I will fully understand 😊
I have seen a few versions of this on the internet. But most of them have either not enough nuts or the sauce is super runny. That would not do it for me.
My version has a thick sauce which does not run off as soon as you turn your buns out, but it is still soft and supple. And the amount of nuts is also proper. The best part is that you can customize the topping. You could use any nuts you like or even add some dried fruit.
The filling for the buns can also be changed to your liking. I went with the classic butter, sugar, and cinnamon. But you could certainly use some chocolate spread in there instead.
These buns are super easy to make too! I have simplified the recipe for the dough, so you do not have to worry about folding during bulk fermentation. All it takes is mixing, proofing, rolling, filling, cutting and your buns will be done. And the caramel sauce takes no more than 5 minutes to make.
The amount of dough will yield 12 small buns which will fill a 24cm x 20cm (9.5in x 8in) baking tray. Do nut use a tray that is larger, because then the sauce and nuts will not conform to your buns as well. If you do not have a small tray like mine, then double the recipe and make it in a larger tray.
I am using light brown sugar and soft dark brown sugar in the recipe. You can use which ever sugar you prefer. The soft brown sugar has a more intense flavour, and it works well with the nuts. I used it in the caramel sauce. The reason why I had two sugars is simply because I did not have enough of either to use for the whole recipe. Still, it came out amazing and goes to show you that there is always more than one way to do anything.
Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.
For the dough –
300g (10.6oz) white flour
30g (1oz) soft butter
30g (1oz) sugar
6g (0.2oz) salt
4g (0.14oz) instant dry yeast or 4.8g (0.16oz) active dry yeast or 12g (0.42oz) fresh yeast
170g (6oz) cold milk *
*To learn more about dough temperature control click here.
For the filling –
50g (1.75oz) soft butter
80g (2.8oz) sugar
8g (0.3oz) cinnamon
For the caramel sauce –
100g (3.5oz) butter
100g (3.5oz) sugar
50g (1.75oz) double cream
50g (1.75oz) honey or maple syrup
2g (0.07oz) salt
200g (7oz) chopped nuts. I used both walnuts and pecans.
1. Make the filling. In a small bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Mix until well combined. Cover and leave on the side for later.
2. Make the caramel sauce. In a small pan combine the sugar, salt, double cream, honey, and butter. Give it a mix and bring it over to the stove. Cook the sauce on medium heat. Once it comes up to a boil turn the heat down low and continue cooking for 1 minute.
3. Pour the sauce in a non-stick paper lined baking dish. Sprinkle the nuts over the sauce evenly. Tap the tray against your table to even out the mix. Leave on the side to cool down. Once it has cooled cover with plastic wrap to prevent any flies or cheeky housemates from eating it. Do not refrigerate it.
4. Make the dough. In a large bowl combine the milk, yeast, salt, and sugar. Mix well to dissolve any large salt & sugar crystals and to hydrate the yeast. Add the butter and the flour. Mix to a dough.
5. Tip the dough out on your table and knead it for 6 minutes. *Desired dough temperature 26C (79F). If your dough is warmer, then it will ferment more rapidly. If it is cooler, then it will take longer. Adjust proofing time accordingly.
6. Cover and fermentfor 2 – 2.5 hours. The dough should double in volume.
7. Roll the dough out to a large rectangle. Spread the cinnamon filling over it evenly leaving an edge at the top. Take your time with this as depending on which kind of sugar you use it may be easy or a bit difficult to spread on. Keep the spatula flat and do not poke any holes in your dough.
8. Roll the dough up. It does not have to be super tight, but do not make it too lose either. As you roll it pull it towards you to create some tension. Once you reach the top brush the dough with water and seal the roll up.
9. Cut the ends off as they are mostly empty dough. You can bake the separately.
10. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and the cut each piece into 3 smaller pieces.
11. Lay the buns down in the tray with the sauce and nuts. I would suggest starting with the larger buns and placing them around the edge and finishing with the smaller buns in the middle. There will always be smaller and larger buns no matter how evenly you think your roll is.
12. Press the buns into the sauce with the palm of your hand. This will not only help them stick together, but it will also ensure that all your buns are the same height.
13. Cover and ferment for 2 hours. *During the final hour of fermentation preheat your oven to 160C (320F) fan on.
14. Brush the buns with milk. This is optional, but I figured since they will be in the oven for a while, I better moisten them to ensure they stay as soft as possible.
15. Bakefor around 35 – 40 minutes.
16. Leave to cool down for 30 minutes before inverting on a tray or plate.
Enjoy your sticky buns!
Keep in mind that the conditions in each kitchen are different, so fermentation times may vary for you. It is up to the baker to control the bread and react accordingly.
Your oven may be different too, so your baking time may vary.
Watch the video here