Breakfast called and it wants — nay, NEEDS — these overnight caramel pecan sticky buns. Prep these tonight for a perfectly sweet, fluffy, gooey, homemade morning treat everyone at the table will love.
It’s a full-on winter wonderland outside in Minnesota and I am full-on here for it. Much as I do love me some warmth and sunshine, there’s nothing quite as magical as a blanket of fluffy white snow — especially if I’m inside in a cozy warm blanket with a cup of coffee in hand to enjoy it.
But you know what’s even better than that? Enjoying the snow from inside with a cozy blanket, cup of coffee in one hand and a plate of overnight caramel sticky buns in the other. That is living the best life.
HOW TO MAKE OVERNIGHT CARAMEL PECAN STICKY BUNS
I have a decent amount of sweet roll recipes on my site, only one of which falls in the sticky bun family. And while I do love all of those recipes with all of my sweet roll-loving heart, there was a hole that needed serious filling in the form of a classic, caramel and pecan-covered sticky bun that can be made day-of or overnight to suit all preferences. So, here we are.
So, what makes a sticky bun a “sticky bun,” exactly? Excellent question. The answer is this: A glaze of butter, maple syrup, brown sugar and chopped pecans that melts on top — or on the bottom, rather — of a layer of cinnamon-sugar-filled fluffy, from-scratch sweet rolls that puff and bake in the oven to golden brown goodness. Once they’re done baking, you flip over the pan, and all that glorious glaze that’s on the bottom of the pan cascades and sinks over and into the buns and friends, it is theee best morning treat.
HOW TO MAKE THE BEST SWEET ROLL DOUGH
What makes these sticky buns extra special? The ingredients, of course. The sweet roll dough is made with nonfat dry milk powder and instant mashed potato flakes, and before you scoff at that idea, know this — these two ingredients deliver the best version of a sweet roll. The nonfat dry milk powder lends added flavor and tenderness to the dough, while the instant mashed potato flakes lend even more tenderness and softness. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — potato breads are some of my favorite because of their softness, and this dough is no exception.
TIPS FOR THE BEST STICKY BUNS
As always, I have a few tips for baking up the best overnight caramel pecan sticky buns of your life, so here goes:
1. If you have a stand mixer, I highly recommend using it to make the dough in this recipe. Kneading by hand is very good and totally therapeutic, however, because there are ingredients in this dough that need to be well incorporated — such as butter — the stand mixer does the best job of this task. If you’re in the market for a stand mixer, this is my favorite one of all time that I use for practically everything, from making bread to shredding chicken.
2. Give the dough it’s time to rise! Especially in the winter months, dough can be slow-going on the rise time. Be patient. It will get there. To give it a little help, I put my covered bowl of dough in the oven, turn on the oven light and close the door. The heat from the oven light alone helps to proof the dough. You can also put the bowl in a closed microwave for a similar effect.
3. The recipe instructions will give you two options — one, for making the sticky buns right away, and two, for making the sticky buns the night before, then baking them in the morning for a fresh-out-of-the-oven treat. Though, to be honest? I baked my buns right away, let them cool completely, then stored them covered overnight, and they were just as delicious and tender at room temperature the next day. It’s totally your call, but know that this recipe is versatile for your schedule.
4. Don’t love pecans? Leave them out. Easy, peasy.
So, there you have it: caramel pecan sticky buns, aka the perfect addition to your breakfast this weekend (along with that cup of coffee, of course). Whether you’re snowed in or loving life in the sunshine, these sweet rolls are bound to put a smile on your face — and make your tummy pretty happy, too.
- 1¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon warm water (110-115F)
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into cubes
- 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon plus 1 pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder
- ¼ cup plain instant mashed potato flakes
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoons all-purpose flour
- In a small bowl, whisk yeast with 1 tablespoon warm water and a pinch of sugar. Let mixture stand 15 minutes until foamy and slightly thickened.
- To a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, add remaining ½ cup warm water, flour, butter, sugar, salt, nonfat dry milk powder and instant mashed potato flakes. Add foamy yeast mixture. With a wooden spoon or dough hook attachment, stir ingredients on low speed just until a dough forms. If kneading by hand, turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead by hand 8-10 minutes until dough is smooth, soft and elastic. If kneading with a stand mixer, knead dough with dough hook on medium speed 5-7 minutes until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and is smooth, soft and elastic.
- Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased large bowl; turn once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place 1-2 hours until doubled.
- When dough is nearly doubled, make the glaze: In a small measuring cup, whisk maple syrup and butter until well combined. Pour mixture into greased 9-inch round cake pan. Top evenly with brown sugar and pecans.
- Punch down risen dough in bowl; turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Press dough into an 8x6-inch rectangle. In a small bowl, whisk the Filling ingredients until well combined. Sprinkle filling evenly over dough. Starting from one long end, tightly roll up the dough into a log. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut log into 8 equal pieces. Carefully transfer buns to cake pan, spacing evenly. Whatever filling falls out of the buns, sprinkle over the tops once placed. Cover cake pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place 45 minutes to 1 hour until buns are just touching.*
- Heat oven to 350F. Uncover cake pan; bake buns 15 minutes. Tent pan lightly with foil, then bake 10-12 minutes until buns are baked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of one bun should read 190F). Remove buns from oven. Wearing oven mitts, immediately turn buns out onto a cooling rack or parchment paper-covered sheet pan to cool. Spoon any remaining glaze from cake pan on top of warm buns.
- Store leftover buns in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1-2 days.
- *To make these OVERNIGHT: Shape the buns, place them in the pan with the glaze, cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap, then immediately place them in the refrigerator (don't let them rise a second time!). Store the buns in the fridge overnight. In the morning, let the buns sit at room temperature (still covered) 1 hour. Bake them at 350F 35-37 minutes, tenting with foil halfway through, until buns are golden brown and filling is bubbly.