November 14, 2022
3 hrs 40 mins
Cinnamon Sugar Filling
Make the Dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm milk, yeast, sugar, salt, eggs, butter, 3 cups of bread flour, and 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed then turn it up to medium-high speed and mix until the flour is completely incorporated 4-5 minutes.
If the dough seems too sticky, add 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough starts to slap the sides of the bowl. You’ll know it’s ready when the dough just barely sticks to the bottom of the bowl and the dough slaps the sides of the bowl while it mixes. It’s better to have a sticky dough than a dry dough, so be careful not to add too much flour.
1st rise: Lightly grease a large bowl with olive oil or nonstick spray then transfer the dough to the bowl and turn it a few times to cover the dough in oil. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap or a towel and let sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1- 2 hours. See recipe notes for a warm rising option.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt together the butter and brown sugar. Remove from heat, let cool slightly, 10-15 minutes, and whisk in the maple syrup, heavy cream, chopped pecans, and salt. Set aside
Roll, cut and bake
Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll it into a 12x18 inch rectangle, about 1/4 an inch thick, making sure the dough is even in thickness throughout.
Spread the softened butter on top using a butter knife or the back of a spoon. Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly on the dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top of the butter, making sure it goes all the way to the edges of the dough.
Roll the dough into a log lengthwise, pinching its edges to seal. Use a very sharp knife to cut the roll into 12 pieces (about 1 1/2 inches). Unflavored dental floss is another great option to cut the cinnamon rolls neatly.
Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray and pour the prepared pecan caramel sauce into the bottom of the pan, spreading it evenly to the corners. Place the rolls on top then cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise for another 30 minutes to one hour or place overnight in the fridge to bake in the morning. Rising overnight is ideal, if possible. If you do this, allow the rolls to sit at room temperature for 45 minutes to finish rising before baking.
Bake the sticky buns for 24-28 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the middle buns reach an internal temp of 175°F. Allow them to cool slightly then invert them onto a cooling rack or serving platter so the sticky pecan topping covers the top of the buns.
Overnight: prepare the sticky buns through step 8 then cover them very tightly with plastic wrap and place them in the fridge for 8-12 hours. Do not exceed 16 hours or they will overproof and collapse due to weakened gluten and excess gas in the dough. When you're ready to bake the next morning, remove them from the fridge and allow them to sit in a warm dry place for 1-2 hours before baking.
To store: allow leftover sticky buns to cool completely then store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or follow the steps below to freeze them.
Freezer: freeze baked sticky buns for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and warm in the oven before frosting. You can also freeze the dough. Follow the steps to make the dough and partially bake the rolls for 10 minutes. Allow them to cool completely then cover tightly and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then make the pecan topping, place in the baking dish, and rise for 30 minutes at room temp. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Reheat: To warm them up, place them in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. In the morning, preheat the oven to 350°F and put them in the oven for 20 minutes or until they're warm and gooey all the way through.