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The MOST fluffy, soft, and delicious Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns! Homemade dough sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and baked in gooey caramel pecan sauce. This recipe includes the option to make them overnight so they’re warm and fresh for breakfast.

Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns

Rachel Riesgraf
The MOST fluffy, soft, and delicious Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns! Homemade dough sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and baked in gooey caramel pecan sauce. This recipe includes the option to make them overnight so they’re warm and fresh for breakfast.
5 stars
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Resting Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 35 mins
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Servings 12 rolls

Ingredients
  

Bread dough

  • 1 cup warm whole or 2% milk (110-115 degrees F.)
  • 1 packet instant yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons salted butter, melted but not hot
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • 3 ½ - 4 cups bread flour, scoop & level

Caramel sauce

  • 2 cups pecan halves, roughly chopped
  • 8 tablespoons salted butter
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream

Cinnamon sugar filling

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Instructions
 

Make the dough

  • Warm the milk to around 110 degrees F. I like to add the milk to a cup and warm in the microwave for 20-30 seconds increments, stirring each time, until it’s like the temperature of warm bath water. Add the milk to a large bowl and sprinkle with yeast. Add sugar, eggs, melted butter, and salt; mix to combine. Stir in 3 ½ cups of flour until the dough starts to form; it will be wet and tacky.
  • Using some of the remaining ½ cup of flour, turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with flour. Knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes, continuously sprinkling the dough with the remaining flour until the dough is elastic and smooth but still tacky. I used about half of the remaining ½ cup of flour, so in total I used about 3 ¾ cups of flour.
  • Transfer the dough ball to a lightly oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size. It may take more or less time depending on the humidity and temperature of your kitchen. If my kitchen is cold, I like to turn on the oven to the lowest temperature (mine is 170 degrees F) for 1-2 minutes, then turn off the oven and place the bowl inside.

Make the caramel sauce

  • While the dough rises, make the caramel sauce. Add butter, brown sugar and heavy whipping cream to a medium saucepan, and cook over medium heat, occasionally stirring, until the sauce is combined and bubbly, about 5-8 minutes.
  • Sprinkle pecans into the bottom of a 9X13 inch baking dish, and pour the caramel sauce over the pecans.

Make the filling & assemble

  • In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, transfer to a well-floured surface, and roll out into a 12X22 inch rectangle; it doesn’t have to be exact. Evenly spread the butter over the dough, then sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture, and lightly press the mixture into the butter.
  • Starting with the long edge, roll the dough into a log, keeping it tight as you roll. Once you’ve finished rolling, use a sharp knife to cut into 12 rolls. Place the rolls into the prepared baking dish and cover with plastic wrap.
  • If you’re making overnight sticky buns, place the covered baking dish in the refrigerator at this time (see note section for details on overnight sticky buns). If you would like to finish the sticky buns now, let them rise again for about 30 minutes, or until they start touching.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F while you wait for the sticky buns to rise.
  • Remove the plastic wrap and bake the sticky buns uncovered for 30-35 minutes, or until they are golden brown on the top and the rolls in the center are puffy and cooked through. If the rolls are browning too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil. Once done, let the rolls sit for 5 minutes to slightly cool then invert onto a baking sheet.
  • These rolls are always best enjoyed warm! If we have leftover rolls, I like to pop a roll into the microwave to warm it back up before eating.

Notes

How to make overnight sticky buns.Once the sliced rolls have been placed in the prepared baking dish with the caramel pecan sauce, cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. Then 30-60 minutes before you’re ready to bake, remove the baking dish from the refrigerator and let the rolls come to room temperature. Bake as directed. Keep in mind that your rolls will rise slightly in the fridge overnight.
Bread flour. This flour has a higher protein level compared to all-purpose flour. The added protein in bread flour gives these sticky buns a more chewy and fluffy texture. You can substitute in all-purpose flour if you don’t have bread flour.
Instant Yeast. The instant or quick rise yeast in these sticky buns help them to rise faster. You can use active dry yeast, but the rolls will take longer to rise. If you use active yeast, you will need to proof the yeast first by letting the yeast and warm milk sit together for 10 minutes until it’s bubbly before adding the other ingredients.
Scoop and level your flour. The key to baking is to scoop and level your flour! Typically, people scoop their measuring cup into the bag of flour, but this packs the flour into the cup, resulting in too much flour. To prevent this, scoop your flour into a measuring cup using a spoon, and once the measuring cup is full, level it off, scraping the excess flour back into the bag.
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