Kelly Fields' Sticky Buns

November 17, 2020
0 Ratings
Photo by Oriana Koren
  • Prep time 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Makes 24 buns
Author Notes

One of my favorite things about pastry making, and eating in general, is the opportunity to play with texture. Adding this Bourbon-y, caramelly, and nutty glaze to a cinnamon roll enhances the textural contrast. I love to heat these buns and watch the changes in texture as the topping cools.

Reprinted with permission from The Good Book of Southern Baking by Kelly Fields with Kate Heddings, copyright (c) 2020. Published by Lorena Jones Books, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Food52

What You'll Need
  • Buns
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 "book" Danish Dough (recipe follows), rolled out 1/3 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup Pastry Cream (recipe follows)
  • Sticky topping
  • 2 1/4 cups unsalted butter
  • 4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup cane syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 4 1/2 cups pecan pieces, toasted
  • Danish dough
  • Dough
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast (I use SAF brand)
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour (it's really best if you can weigh this; it should be 1 pound 4 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons instant milk powder
  • 3/4 cup water, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Laminate
  • 1 pound 4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • 3 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • Teaspoon Pastry cream
  • 3 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Buns
  2. Make the buns. In a medium bowl, mix the granulated sugar and brown sugar with the cinnamon. Lay the dough on a work surface with one long side closest to you. Using an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of pastry cream across the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the length of dough closest to you. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the pastry cream. To create the tightest possible roll, starting at the corners farthest from you, pull and roll the dough toward you to create a spiral log. Continue rolling up to the 1-inch border of dough at the bottom. Using a pastry brush, brush a bit of water on the dough, finish rolling up the log, and press it down just slightly to create a seal.
  3. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Using a sharp knife (not serrated), cut the log crosswise into twenty-four 11⁄4-inch-thick buns, and place the buns, evenly spaced, on the prepared baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until the buns are approximately 1 1⁄2 times their original size.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic wrap from the baking sheet. Bake the buns for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating halfway through baking, until golden brown.
  5. Make the topping. While the buns are in the oven, in a large nonreactive pot, heat the butter, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, cane syrup, vanilla, and bourbon. Cook, whisking gently as the butter melts to combine the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and stir in the pecans. Let cool for a few minutes before glazing the sticky buns.
  6. Let the buns cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer the buns to a wire rack placed over a baking sheet to catch the sticky glaze runoff as you spoon it over. Spoon the glaze over the buns and then let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. The buns keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. They are best refreshed in a 325°F oven for 5 minutes.
  1. Danish dough
  2. Make the dough. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with plastic wrap, leaving enough overhanging plastic wrap to wrap up the dough. In a large bowl, whisk the yeast into the bread flour and set aside. In a small bowl or measuring cup, dissolve the milk powder in the water.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer, whisk the eggs until they are homogenous. Add the dissolved milk powder, flour mixture, butter, sugar, and salt. Using the dough hook, mix on low speed for 8 minutes, stopping and scraping down the bowl halfway through to ensure that all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.
  4. When the dough is finished, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape the dough into a large ball, forming a smooth surface. Transfer the ball to the prepared pan and wrap completely using the overhanging plastic. Press the dough so it reaches all corners of the pan; the surface should be as level as possible. Let the dough rest in the pan in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to overnight. It can also be well wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before laminating.
  5. Line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with plastic wrap, leaving enough overhang to wrap up the butter. Spread the softened butter evenly into the pan, so it’s a 9 by 13-inch sheet. Cover the butter in the pan with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour. About 30 minutes before you start the lamination process, let the butter sit at room temperature to become pliable. If you notice it is not very pliable, beat the butter with a rolling pin until it has softened slightly.
  6. Laminate the dough. Dust a work surface with flour. Unwrap the dough and dust it with flour until the dough is no longer sticky. With a lightly floured rolling pin, applying even pressure, roll out the dough lengthwise until it is doubled in length; you should have a 12 by 20-inch rectangle. Unwrap the butter, then carefully place it diagonally in the middle of the dough. Fold the four edges of the dough up over the butter so the points meet, encasing the butter. Roll out the dough until it is 10 by 28 inches. Fold the dough over itself in thirds, like a letter. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat this process once more, rolling out the dough to 10 by 28 inches and folding it over itself in thirds. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  7. Take the dough out of the refrigerator. With the creased side facing you, roll out until the dough is approximately 9 by 32 inches. Trifold the dough, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for another 30 minutes. To use, lightly flour a work surface and your rolling pin. Dusting with flour as you work, roll out the dough until it is 1⁄3 inch thick and roughly 14 by 30 inches (unless you are making the Fruit Danish on page 78, which needs to be rolled out to 3⁄4 inch thick), and proceed with the pastry recipe.
  8. Pastry cream: Line a large rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang of approximately 1 inch on all sides. Set aside.
  9. In a large bowl, whisk together the whole egg, egg yolks, cornstarch, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar; set aside. In a medium saucepot, bring the milk and the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar to a scald (you will see bubbles around the perimeter of the liquid and a wisp of steam rising from the surface) over medium-high heat. Start streaming a small amount of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking. Continue whisking in the milk until most of the liquid has been incorporated into the egg mixture. Pour the mixture in the bowl into the saucepot and place over medium-high heat. Cook, again whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil, about 11⁄2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, followed by the vanilla. Pour the custard onto the prepared baking sheet.
  10. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard and poke a few holes in the plastic to let the steam escape. Set aside to cool. Once cool, transfer the pastry cream to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

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