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Pecan Sticky Buns

Most sticky buns, or monkey breads, tend to call for a bundt pan. This makes for a very pretty presentation but is also a huge amount of buns. I've halved the recipe and baked the sticky buns in a simple loaf pan. It works beautifully and makes a much more manageable amount for a small crowd! You can also partially make this
Course Sweet Bread
Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 8 servings
Author Katie Rogers

Ingredients

For the buns:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1/2 cup whole milk warm (110*F)
  • 1/4 cup water warm (110*F)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of fast rise yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

For the stickyness:

  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. To make the dough, stir together melted butter, milk, water, sugar and yeast in a medium bowl or large measuring cup. Set aside for about five minutes so that they yeast can activate. Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Once the yeast has activated, make a well in the flour mixture and slowly pour in your milk mixture with one hand while stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon with your other hand. Once everything has come together into a shaggy mess, scrap the dough out of the bowl onto a clean and lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough until it becomes shiny and elastic.*
  2. Form the dough into a round smooth ball. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draft free place until the dough doubles in size--this should take about an hour.**
  3. Towards the end of the hour that your dough is rising, mix together 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar and the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Then, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter and pour into another bowl. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan with butter and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar mix and 1/3 of the chopped pecans.
  4. Once your dough has risen, remove it from the bowl and pat it into a rectangle that's roughly 4in x 8in. With a pizza wheel or bench scrapper, cut the dough rectangle into 32 pieces. Roll each piece into a little ball.
  5. One dough ball at a time, dip in the butter and shake a little over the bowl to get the excess butter off, then roll in the brown sugar mixture and then place in the loaf pan. Do this with half of the dough balls, filling up the bottom of the tin. Once you've got your first layer of dough balls down, sprinkle with half of your remaining chopped pecans, then repeat your butter and sugar dipping with the rest of the dough balls placing them atop of the bottom layer in the tin. Sprinkle with the remaining pecans.
  6. Cover the loaf tin with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free area to rise for an hour.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350*F
  8. Once the buns have risen (they should look puffy and be near the top edge of the pan), remove the plastic wrap and place the pan in the preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan at about 13 minutes to ensure even baking. When they're done baking the buns will be dark and carmelized and you should be able to see little bits of sugar bubbling. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a plate and let cool about 10 more minutes. Pull apart and enjoy!

*This will be a very wet and sticky dough, but it is absolutely possible to bring it together by hand. If you keep going, it will come together. Mine took about 20 mins, yours might take less or more, just look for the dough to become shiny and smooth and not break when you stretch it. If kneading by hand isn't your thing, you can absolutely make this in a stand mixer. Just put the flour mix in the stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Turn it on low speed. slowly pour in the milk mixture. Once all the milk mixture is in, turn the speed up to medium. Let the dough mix for about 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is shiny and smooth, then return to step 2.

**At this point, you can put the dough in the fridge and finish everything else in the morning. If you do choose to make the dough ahead, just make sure you take it out of the fridge and let it sit in a warm, draft free place about an hour and a half before you want to move on to step 3.