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
1 hour 30 minutes
For the maple brown sugar glaze
light brown sugar
unsalted butter (two sticks)
kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
For the sticky buns
nicely seasoned sage sausage
dried sour cherries, coarsely chopped
unsalted butter, softened
egg, room temperature
3 1/2 cups
all-purpose flour (which equals 16 oz. on a scale)
fresh sage, minced
1 1/4 cups
plus more if needed of buttermilk, room temperature
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
About 1 hour into the final rise heat the oven to 350°F.
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.