When I tell you that this recipe for sticky buns is an heirloom recipe, I am not kidding.
Pecan Sticky Buns are the best hot sticky bun recipe out there, made just the way grandma on the farm made them with a caramel pecan sauce.
It has been handed down through generations of farm works and gone by many names: Butterscotch Sticky Rolls, Caramel Sticky Buns, Old Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls, plain old Sticky Buns and many more.
Here, the on the weathered index card, you can see my great Aunt Beverly referred to them as Butterscotch Pecan Rolls. I’ve modified the name to Pecan Sticky Buns. There is no cutting corners here.
You will make the sticky roll bread from scratch, as well as the caramel sauce. Make sure you have time to allow it to rise. By the end, you will swear to never make another homemade sticky roll recipe, but then you will have one magical bite and realize it was all worth it.
Pecan Sticky Buns aren’t an “everyday” kind of breakfast, even for farm life. My mother and aunt have fond memories of eating sticky buns fresh from the oven nearly every weekend, when there was no guilt associated with a breakfast of bacon, eggs and sugar.
Keep in mind, they were actually working a farm. Hard core manual labor. You needed to carbohydrate load every single day just to make it through.
Nowadays, they are reserved for holidays and special occassions. Not only does making them the old fashioned way take extra time and TLC, Pecan Sticky Rolls aren’t something you should indulge in everyday.
I generally pair mine with a fruit salad, just to feel a little better about myself.
What are sticky rolls? Well, they aren’t cinnamon rolls, that is for sure, although they could be cousins. The basic differences between sticky buns and cinnamon rolls are that sticky buns generally have a butterscotch or caramel sauce along with nuts and cinnamon rolls are without nuts and have a glaze or frosting.
The two are commonly mistaken for each other, but both delicious.
Tools needed to make Pecan Sticky Buns:
Rolling Pin– I prefer a traditional rolling pin to the French version, but it is your choice. In a pinch you can use a wine bottle.
Rolling Mat– While you can also roll dough straight onto your counter, I prefer a rolling mat. I know I just disinfected my countertops, but now my dough has the disinfectant on it!
9 x 13 Glass Baking Dish– an absolute essential for any kitchen! Use it for baking, marinating or storing. Get one with a lid, you’ll thank me later.
Heavy Bottom Sauce Pan– this will be one of your most used kitchen tools. Having something that is heavy bottom will distribute heat better and prevent burning whether you are using an electric or gas range.
Here are some more breakfast ideas!
- Bread Dough:
- 3 teaspoons active yeast or 1 packet
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs whisked
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 cup melted shortening not oil
- Cooking Spray
- Caramel Pecan Topping:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup chopped pecans chopped
- Cinnamon Filling:
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 teaspoons Cinnamon
- Heat whole milk in the microwave for 1 minute. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a bread hook, or a large mixing bowl, place yeast, sugar and salt, stir.
- Add hot milk and allow to sit for approximately 10 minutes, or until yeast has activated, bloomed and smells fragrant.
- Stir in whisked eggs and then half of the the flour.
- Mix with the bread hook until mixture is fully incorporated and dough drapes off of the hook. You can also use a large wooden mixing spoon and work those arm muscles!
- Stir in melted shortening and remaining flour. Continue to knead with the bread hook or hands until dough is smooth and elastic, approximately 3-5 minutes.
- Roll dough into a ball and place into a large, well greased mixing bowl. Turn once to cover all exterior with butter or grease. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and set aside to rise for 30 minutes. Dough will double in size.
- While dough rises, make the caramel pecan topping by placing butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in a small sauce pan. Melt over low heat, sitting occasionally. It is very important that the mixture does not reach a boil, or even a simmer. Stir until brown sugar is dissolved and fully incorporated and remove from heat.
- Spray a 9x13 rectangular baking dish or two 9-inch circular pie plates with cooking spray. Pour caramel pecan mixture evenly into the bottom of the dish(es). Sprinkle with pecans. Allow butterscotch topping to cool while you roll the dough.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle, approximately 14x22 inches.
- Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl. Brush melted butter over dough and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Roll dough tightly from the short end. Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 equal slices. Place slices directly on top of butterscotch topping (either all 12 in the 9x13 or 6 and 6 in pie plates).
- Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. If the tops start to brown, loosely lay a piece of aluminum foil over top.
- Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Now is the tricky part, you have to flip this bad boy onto a large platter. Choose a serving dish that is larger than your cookware and be careful not to burn yourself.
- Serve immediately and enjoy Old Fashioned Pecan Sticky Buns!
Notes: If you get the butterscotch topping on your counter tops, floor, etc, allow to cool and you should be able to easily peel it off. Not that I know from experience or anything....
You can use walnuts instead of pecans or omit nuts.
Adding a grate or two of fresh nutmeg to the cinnamon mixture is wonderful!
You can make your buns the night before all the way up until baking, cover and put in the refrigerator. On the morning of, resume at the point of baking, allowing the dough to come to room temperture while the oven preheats.