Niamh Doherty

Pecan Cinnamon Sticky Buns

In Baking on April 16, 2010 at 11:07

These are divinely, deliciously, to-die-for, over-the-top sticky buns – and boy are they good. You make a yeast dough, roll it out, smear it with butter, sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar, roll it up, cut it into pieces and put it into a cake tin full of pecan-strewn caramel. Needless to say, these babies had me at hello.

They do take some time to make, but it’s not your time. The dough needs to rise twice, but you’re not expected to stand over it while it does. Take a nap, go for a walk, have a long bath, meet a friend for lunch, read a book – and then come back to tend to your dough baby.

It’s best to start these in the morning, as they need two long rises (3.5 hours in all, but this will be quicker in hot weather, or if the dough is left in a warm place), so it’s best to start them in the morning. I, being overeager and completely devoid of time management skills, started them last night, before realising that it would be bedtime by the time they were cooked and ready to eat. I put them in the fridge overnight for the last rise, and baked them this morning. It probably wasn’t the ideal way to do it, but they still turned out fine. And for anyone scared of working with yeast dough, I would like to confess that I added more liquid when the dough wasn’t coming together which made it too sticky, didn’t knead it enough, and  burned the top when baking them…and they still tasted delicious.

These are divine with a cup of tea or coffee as a mid-morning pick-me-up. I adore cinnamon – and take Jerry Seinfeld’s stance that it should be on tables along with salt and pepper – so these are heaven in a bun for me. Walnuts can be used in place of the pecans, but I’m not a huge walnut fan, and relentlessly use pecans in their stead (unless I’m making a coffee and walnut cake – some things just aren’t meant to be messed with).

This recipe makes 9 portions, but it really depends on the size of your tin. Mine is larger than the 9-inch square tin specified, so I cut the dough into 12 pieces to make sure they fit snugly. This recipe also multiplies well, so it’s handy for anyone in the catering/cafe business. The recipe calls for fresh yeast, but if you’re using dried or fast-action yeast, use half of the specified amount. Fresh yeast can be bought from a baker in varying-size blocks. Anything you don’t use can be frozen, and used straight from the freezer. As always, when using yeast, the water needs to be at blood temperature – too cold and your dough won’t rise; too hot and you’ll kill the yeast. Finally, this dough is a basic yeast bun dough, and can also be used to make doughnuts, cherry buns, Bath buns and Chelsea buns.

Pecan Sticky Buns (taken from Forgotten Skills, by Darina Allen)


25g fresh yeast/12.5g dried yeast, dissolved in 150ml warm water

800g strong flour

10g salt (omit this if using salted butter)

350 ml warm water

125g unsalted butter

150g dark brown sugar

150g pecans, roughly chopped

65g granulated sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

50g unsalted butter, softened


1. Sponge the yeast in 150ml of warm water and leave for 5 minutes. In a large, wide bowl, mix the flour and salt (if using) together. Make a well in the centre, pour in the sponged yeast and the other 350ml of water. Mix well to form a dough.

2. Turn out onto a lightly-floured work surface and knead for about 5 minutes. The dough should be quite soft. Cover with a large mixing bowl and leave on the work surface to rest for about 20 minutes.

3. When rested, gently knead the dough until it is smooth and shiny. Put it in a lightly-oiled, large mixing bowl, turning the dough over in the bowl to coat with the oil. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rist for about 1.5-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

4. Meanwhile, melt 125g of butter over a low heat and add the brown sugar. Whisk to combine. Pour this caramel mizture into the cake tin, tilting the tin so that the mixture spreads evenly over the base. Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the caramel, and press them down lightly. Put the tin in the fridge to chill.

5. Mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Set aside.

6. When the dough has doubled in size, knock it back. Roll it out into a 33 x 25cm rectangle. Spread the remaining 50g of butter evenly over the dough (I used my hands), leaving the top 1cm of dough unbuttered.

7. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the butter, again leaving the top 1cm bare. Starting at the bottom (i.e. the longest side which is nearest to you), roll the dough up like a Swiss roll. Divide the roll into 9 (or however many you need to fit your tin) pieces. Arrange them cut-side down in the tin. Cover with a clean tea-towel, and leave to rise for 1-1.5 hours, or until the rolls are peeping over the top of the tin.

8. Preheat the oven to 190 Celcius/Gas Mark 5, and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown and crusty. Leave to stand in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate, and spoon over any of the golden caramel that spreads down the sides. Allow to cool slightly before applying to face.

  1. […] discussed my love of cinnamon before, and couldn’t but add it to these cookies. Cinnamon and raisin are a classic combination, and […]

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