Sweet, Sour and Savory Sticky Buns

December 17, 2012
4 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Makes 12
Author Notes

These rolls hit all the right buttons in all the best ways. A few things of note: I cooked a small piece of sausage and did a taste test. It wasn't seasoned like I liked it so I added some garlic powder, sage and black pepper. It was pretty aggressive seasoning but it worked great. I also did this recipe twice. The first time I didn't let the dough rise enough after I pulled them from the fridge for the second rise. They were good but nowhere near as light and airy as the second time when I was more patient and let them rise fully. Finally, the glaze seems like a lot but you will regret it if you try to skimp, I know from experience: the first time the rolls were good; the second, with more glaze, they were over the top. —thirschfeld

What You'll Need
  • For the maple brown sugar glaze
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter (two sticks)
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • For the sticky buns
  • 1 pound nicely seasoned sage sausage
  • 1 cup dried sour cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup pecans, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (which equals 16 oz. on a scale)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups plus more if needed of buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  1. Combine the glaze ingredients (sugar, salt, syrup and butter) in the bowl of a mixer. Using the paddle attachment cream the butter, sugar and maple syrup. Scoop out into a 9 x 13-inch pan and spread it evenly across the bottom into a 1/4-inch layer. Place the tray into the fridge. Clean out the mixing bowl and dry it.
  2. Heat the oven to 375°F. Break the bulk sausage into 1-inch pieces and spread it out onto a sheet pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the sausage from the oven and let it cool. When it has cooled, chop it with a knife or in a food processor until it is a fine mince. Set aside in the fridge.
  3. In the bowl of the mixer now combine the 5 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Cream with a paddle attachment. Remove the attachment, cleaning the butter off into the mixing bowl. Attach the dough hook. Now stir the yeast into the buttermilk.
  4. Add the egg, flour, sage, salt and buttermilk to the bowl. Turn the mixer to low and mix until the gluten begins to form and you have a smooth enriched dough that pulls cleanly away from the sides. The dough should be soft but not sticky.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead the dough on the counter for 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Grease the mixing bowl, put the dough back into the bowl, and cover it with a warm damp towel or plastic wrap. Set it aside in a warm spot and let it rise for an hour or until almost doubled in bulk.
  6. Once the dough has risen, punch it down and knead it a few times. Roll it out into approximately a 9 x 13-inch rectangle. It should be about a 1/2-inch thick.
  7. Remove the sausage from the fridge. Spread it evenly, leaving about two inches of space on one of the 13 inch sides. Spread out the pecans and cherries too. Sprinkle on 1/4 cup of light brown sugar.
  8. Remove the 9 x 13 sugar glaze pan from the fridge. Roll the dough tightly into a 13-inch-long jelly roll. Using a very sharp knife in a gentle sawing motion, cut the rolls into 1-inch rounds. Lay them flat into the pan so that they almost touch. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  9. About three hours before you want to eat, remove the rolls from the fridge and place them in a warm spot. Let them rise until they are 3/4 the way up the side of the 2-inch-deep pan. Remove the plastic from the pan.
  10. About 1 hour into the final rise heat the oven to 350°F.
  11. Bake the rolls for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove them from the oven. Using two oven mitts or dry towels, place a tray or large plate on top of the pan and carefully invert the pan onto a tray or plate (think upside down cake). Lift the pan, leaving the rolls behind, and scrape any glaze left in the pan onto the rolls. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Franca
  • Nancy Lawson Mandoky
    Nancy Lawson Mandoky
  • Kitchen Butterfly
    Kitchen Butterfly
  • ellemmbee
  • thirschfeld

21 Reviews

drh October 23, 2014
These sound delicious, and pardon my ignorance by asking however, what would/could you suggest to serve with them? A soup, or as an accompaniment to a meat or poultry dish? I'm really guessing as I'm new to this. Any suggestions?
ellemmbee February 18, 2023
For brunch, scrambled eggs, a big bowl of a variety of fresh fruit including citrus if it’s in season. For lunch, a salad, with some citrus fruits and nuts would be lovely.
Franca February 10, 2014
I too had to add more flour but thankfully they turned out well. I will be making these again but I think I will add a hint of chili flakes & will go with a different glaze as this one was way too rich for my palate.
Nancy L. January 8, 2014
These are absolutely, positively the most heavenly things I have ever eaten, Mr. Hirschfeld! I baked them last night and dh and I had one with ice cream on the top. omg. I reheated them today for a luncheon I had for 15 people and everyone thought they were delicious. I must say, though, that baking and eating the same day is the way to go. I did substitute coconut oil for the butter as there was a food allergy I had to address, but my oh my these were good! Thanks for all your gracious and kind help!
Nancy L. January 6, 2014
The buttermilk at room temp is only about 80 degrees. Does that matter?
thirschfeld January 6, 2014
That is a good temp. Too cold and it will slow the rise to hot and it will kill the yeast.
Nancy L. January 6, 2014
I'm not averse to yeast. I'm a failure at it. I've never seen a recipe that includes yeast without using water... I'm flummoxed by adding it to the buttermilk.
thirschfeld January 6, 2014
It is no different then if you were to add the yeast to water. All it does is hydrate the yeast before you begin mixing all the ingredients.
Nancy L. January 5, 2014
Hoping to hear from you soon!
Nancy L. January 5, 2014
I'm yeast averse because of a bad experience. You put the yeast into room temp buttermilk? HELP!
thirschfeld January 6, 2014
I am not sure what your question is? If you are yeast averse it might be wise to shoes another recipe. Maybe make a quick bread or cinnamon raisin biscuits
The G. December 30, 2012
Should these be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner? How sweet are they?
thirschfeld December 31, 2012
They are more sweet. I consider them breakfast food but I made them in the afternoon and knowing they were meant for breakfast didn't keep me from eating them at dinner.
lighthouse6 December 26, 2012
So - I added about 1.5 cups more flour until I had a soft elastic bread dough. I too had used cultured raw buttermilk which is very thick. They tasted great, everyone loved them. I had been worried that I would need more yeast but that was not the case. Thanks!
thirschfeld December 26, 2012
glad it worked out!
lighthouse6 December 24, 2012
Oh no! I am in the middle of these and realized that something is terribly wrong. 2 c of buttermilk with 3.5 cups of flour and I have a liquid batter. What to do now?
thirschfeld December 24, 2012
Add 1/2 a cup a flour at a time till the dough comes together.
Paul S. December 26, 2012
Same thing happened to me, and I added flour until it achieved the desired consistency. Maybe the recipe has a typo for one of these two measurements?
thirschfeld December 26, 2012
I made the recipe three times, using the same ingredients. The only thing that might be different, and it didn't occur to me because it is what I always use, is I used a cultured buttermilk that was very thick. I will make note of that in the recipe. Thanks for all your input and hopefully the buns worked out in the end and were as good as the ones we had.
Kitchen B. December 18, 2012
Absolutely gorgeous. They may not make it to the Breakfast table on Christmas morning but I see them featuring long before the New Year. I also thing thick cut bacon would be delish... Good job for creating adult memories inspired by childhood nostalgia.
thirschfeld December 20, 2012
thank you KB!