Pecan Sticky Buns

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The other day I was talking to my father-in-law about cooking and he started reminiscing over his childhood. When he was a small child, back in the 1940’s, his family lived on a farm in New England. Sweets were a bit hard to come by in those days, especially since they didn’t live in town. Any sweet foods they ate had to be homemade by his mother. So, every Sunday he remembered how she would get up early just to make the family some pecan sticky buns. He was always so excited about Sunday morning. What kid wouldn’t be? Especially if sweets were a rare occurrence.


So, the other morning I got up and decided to make him some pecan sticky buns. I thought it was fitting since we had just talked about them a few days earlier. He had no clue what I was planning on making until he walked into the kitchen and saw me kneading the dough while cinnamon, sugar, and pecans sat nearby on the counter. The smile on his face said everything and he became eager to help in any way. Besides, the faster they got put in the oven, the faster we’d be able to eat them with a nice hot cup of coffee.


The family really enjoyed this breakfast treat. They were eaten up fairly quickly. Not a crumb (or loose pecan) was left. I like the tradition of having pecan sticky buns on Sunday. Maybe it will be a tradition I’ll start with my small family.



Prep Time: 2 hours, 25 minutes

Cook Time: 35 Minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Makes: 10 rolls


For the rolls:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp active dry yeast

3 tbsp granulated sugar

1 1/4 tsp salt

8 oz milk

6 tbsp butter, melted

For the sticky syrup:

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp corn syrup

5 tbsp butter

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

For the filling:

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp granulated sugar

2 tsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp cinnamon

2 to 3 tsp milk


For the rolls:

  1. Combine the flours, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl (using a stand mixer if you have one). Heat the milk to luke warm (not hot) and melt the butter, then pour over the flour mixture and mix into a shaggy dough.
  2. If you are using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead on medium-low speed until a smooth dough forms, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. If you are kneading by hand, dump the dough out onto a smooth surface, and knead until smooth, about 12 minutes.
  4. Oil your hands a bit and then gather the dough and shape into a ball by pulling the sides down to the bottom. Oil the bottom of the bowl and place the ball of dough inside. Make sure the top of the dough ball is a bit oiled and them cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel.
  5. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.

For the sticky syrup:

  1. Combine the brown sugar, corn syrup (I used light corn syrup, but feel free to try out dark for a richer flavor), and butter in a small saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until it starts to simmer around the edges. Cook for 1 minute more, then remove from heat.
  2. Pour the syrup into the bottom of a 9×13″ pan and top with the chopped pecans.

Put it all together:

  1. Combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and flour for the filling in a small bowl.
  2. When the dough is done rising, use some spray oil to grease a solid work surface and dump the dough out of the bowl. Use a rolling pin to roll into a 12×15″ rectangle.
  3. Use a pastry brush (or your fingers) to spread a thin layer of milk on top of the dough, then sprinkle the filling all across, leaving a half inch at one side so you can seal the edges once rolled.
  4. Roll the dough, lengthwise, into a tube. When you reach the edge, pinch the seam to seal.
  5. Using a serrated knife (or unflavored dental floss), cut the roll into 10 even pieces and arrange in the baking dish with about 1 inch between the rolls.
  6. Cover the dish with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let rest for an extra 30 minutes in a warm place to allow the rolls to rise a second time.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden brown. Carefully place an inverted baking sheet on top of the baking dish and then turn upside down. Let sit for about one minute so that the sticky sauce and pecans can drip down onto the rolls. Then remove the baking dish and serve.


Recipe adapted from My California Roots



3 thoughts on “Pecan Sticky Buns

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