Make sweet homemade pecan sticky buns in under an hour with this quick recipe! Crunchy pecans are coated in gooey caramel sauce to top the tender cinnamon nut pastry. You’ll be licking your fingers clean!
Hola amigos, I am back in action! My hubby Jason and I just returned from an incredible vacation to the Dominican Republic, and it was our first trip away from James and big international getaway since our babymoon.
One of my closest friends Jasmin had her fabulous wedding celebration in the Caribbean, and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to party, party, party! Let’s just say that there were endless mango mojitos, dancing all night long, and a mechanical bull, haha. We are now recovering from our bug bite memorabilia and ready to get back into the kitchen.
To counteract the bittersweet end to our dreamy beach days, I thought some super indulgent pecan sticky buns we in order, rapido por favor! To sweeten the deal even further, this is a FAST recipe with a different spin on the traditional method to make these delightful breakfast treats. So in essence, no proofing, yep, you did hear right. Get those ovens preheated now because those buns are going to be ready to rock and roll in an instant!
This method is a clever hybrid of two techniques that will make you want to dance. Biscuits and cinnamon rolls, whoot whoot! Instead of using yeast to make the sticky buns rise, we’re using baking soda and baking powder as the leavening agent. This gives a similar effect as yeast but without the long wait time to ferment and go to work in the dough.
I recently made some pumpkin butter cinnamon rolls, so I can appreciate reducing the time significantly for quicker enjoyment. The good news is all you need to do is mix the dough ingredients together, roll out, fill with cinnamon sugar and nuts, roll back up and slice, slice, baby!
So what transforms the cinnamon roll into a sassy pecan sticky bun? The brown sugar, butter, and pecan topping, oh my. Slather that goodness on the bottom of each nonstick muffin pan , squeeze in those chubby cinnamon buns and bake.
I know you want just to sit and ogle over those caramelized cute spirals all day, they are pretty amazing. But you need to get them out of the pan with a quickness, just a few minutes after carefully remove them from the oven, PRONTO!
The oven is sun-sweltering hot to get that molten caramel sauce top on each bun, see the sauce oozing onto the pan? If the pastries cool for too long, the delicious sauce sticks to the pan instead of being gooey goodness with each bite.
I know, I got distracted as James was running circles around me in the kitchen and a few hugs, kisses and giggles later, I had less of the topping than desired on each bun. I learned my lesson with the second batch and they we easy to wiggle out, thumbs up!
The easiest way to remove these buns from the warm pan is to flip the entire tray quickly over in one swift ninja motion onto a parchment paper lined sheet pan. As you slowly, gingerly, quietly lift the pan like you were trying not to wake a sleeping baby, the buns loosen and release, viola!
Your masterpiece is finally unveiled, and you are sure to get ooh’s and ahh’s from hungry bystanders, so do this in front of some peps so you get a standing ovation, because you deserve it!
Now for the close-up, see how the sugar and butter transformed into a decadent golden brown sauce, coating each piece of crunchy pecan? Yes, food science, cooking and a little bit of magic all happening before your eyes, this is what keeps me cooking my friends. Let’s talk about texture since I did not use yeast to make the dough rise, I bet you’re wondering how they turned out.
The bun layers are thinner and crisp on the edges and get more tender towards the center compared to a traditional sticky bun. It’s like layers of biscuit, but since you mix the dough longer, more gluten bond formation occurs, so it still has a chew that doesn’t crumble apart.
I really liked the difference in texture, it was not as soft and tender as yeast leavened doughs, but it was more flavorful as you pulled each layer apart, more cinnamon flavor was present. It’s hard to explain, so definitely give this recipe a try so you can taste the difference, it’s a fun experiment!
So I couldn’t help but ditch the fork and just devour a fresh pecan sticky bun with my hands. A little warning, once you pick one up, and the sticky glue-like sauce gets on your fingers, you can’t put it down, you just have to finish it!
Don’t be surprised if you’ll be licking your fingers and grinning, it’s what happens when your tummy is happy. I’m curious to hear what you think about this quicker pecan sticky bun recipe, please leave a comment below with any questions or thoughts you have. Happy baking!
How does the butter and sugar topping turn into a rich caramel sauce?
Isn’t that golden deep caramel sauce a gorgeous sight to see? Usually, when making a caramel sauce from scratch, you carefully watch as the sugar turns to an amber color and you know you’ve got it. Sugar (sucrose in this case from the brown sugar) slowly heats up in the pan, and as it cooks in the very high oven temperature of 425°F, it changes to a molten hot caramel at around 338°F and the sweet flavor has intensified. The butter adds richness to the caramel and helps prevent some sticking to the pan once the buns are removed. Make sure not to overcook the buns because the caramel sauce can become burnt and bitter. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, flip and allow to cool a bit, and resist the temptation to touch the buns because they will be hot and sticky! (Reference: On Baking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals)
Pecan Sticky Buns
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cups buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- 3/4 cup pecans, chopped, (3 ounces)
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted (for brushing dough)
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease the muffin tins with cooking spray. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil, set aside.
- To make the topping, in a mixer cream together 6 tablespoons of the softened butter, salt and ½ cup brown sugar. Stir in the pecans. Equally divide the topping into each of the 12 muffin tins, about 1 tablespoon. Press the filling into the bottom of the tin. Set aside.
- To make the dough, in a mixing bowl whisk together 2 ½ cups flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt, set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and add the buttermilk, mix together. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and mix with a spoon until a shaggy dough forms and liquid has been absorbed. Knead dough in the bowl by hand until just smooth, about 30 seconds.
- Sprinkle a clean working surface lightly with flour, I like to work on a large piece of parchment paper, so it’s easy to roll the buns with the filling. Roll the dough into a 14-inch by 9-inch rectangle. Brush the top of the dough with 2 ounces of the melted butter.
- To make the filling, combine all of the filling ingredients. Evenly spread the mixture across the dough surface, leaving about a ½-inch border along the sides. Starting at the long side, roll the dough into a snug roll, seam side down (I used the parchment paper to help me lift and roll the dough). Cut dough into 12 equal portions, you can trim the ends if needed to create a uniform thickness. Place 1 roll into the center of each muffin tin.
- Place the filled muffin tin on the parchment paper lined sheet pan, bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Do not over bake, as the caramel topping can become burnt in flavor. Immediately invert the muffin pan onto the parchment paper lined sheet pan to release the buns from the pan. Scoop out any remaining nuts and sauce and put on top of the buns. Serve warm, enjoy!