Basic Sticky Bun Recipe
This recipe has been an experiment of mine for the past couple months. I've been trying to recreate my great aunt's, quite frankly, amazing sticky buns without instructions...because she never wrote the recipe down since she knew it better than her children's names. So after a rough couple of months, I think I've gotten it as close as it's ever going to get. I guess she took that secret to the grave. Her ghost is probably laughing at me for even attempting but anyway, here it is.
1/4 cup warm water (I find it's easier to heat it to a nice warm bath temperature than using exact temperatures because I've had problems with thermometers)
1/4 oz packet (2 & 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
Tiny bit of sugar
1/3 cup sugar (I know, I already mentioned sugar but I'll explain in a minute)
3/4 cup milk
4 Tablespoons butter (soft)
3 egg yolks
1 & 1/4 Teaspoons salt
4 - 4 & 1/4 cups flour
Ok, first things first, you have to activate the yeast. So like I mentioned in the ingredients list, warm the water up in the microwave (or on the stove, whatever floats your boat) until it's warm enough that you wouldn't mind it for a bath, not too hot, not too cold.
Add your yeast packet and that little bit of sugar to feed the yeast. (Told you I would explain the double sugar.)
Let the yeast sit in a still place for about 10 minutes. It should start foaming up, if it doesn't the yeast might be dead. This could be due to too hot water or the yeast could have been out of date so you'll have to start again. (Don't worry, I went through a ton of yeast packets when I first started.)
Now that your yeast has been activated, you want to mix all of your ingredients except the flour into a bowl until they are combined pretty well.
Here's where you add the flour. I suggest adding the flour a cup at a time because sometimes you don't need it all. You can mix it in with a spoon at first but around the fourth cup you'll probably have to start mixing it in with your hands. Once it's to the consistency of Play-Doh (Good Play-Doh, not that hard stuff that gets left out of the little cans) turn it out of the bowl and onto a lightly floured surface.
Get ready for a bit of an arm workout because now you have to knead the dough. If you've never kneaded dough, you want to use the heels of your hands to push the dough across the table. Then you fold it back over itself and push again, after a couple pushes you'll want to rotate the dough ninety degrees and keep going. (If it starts to stick to the table sprinkle some flour onto it) You want to knead the dough until it's smooth and when you poke it, it springs back.
Roll your dough into a ball and put it into a fairly large greased bowl. Flip the ball over so the top gets some oil on it and cover the bowl in plastic wrap. Put the bowl somewhere warm, if it's cold in your house turn on your oven to around 200 degrees and let the bowl sit near the stove. (But not on top because if it's gets too hot the dough might actually start cooking. Learn from my mistakes)
You'll want to leave the dough set until it doubles in size. My guess is it will take about an hour but it really depends on different factors in your kitchen like how warm it is so your guess is as good as mine.
Time to mix up your filling.
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter (melted)
Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together and set aside. Simple as that.
Roll out your dough until it's about 12in x 18in. It doesn't have to be exact but you do want it to be as rectangle-shaped as you can manage.
Brush the top of the dough with the melted butter.
Sprinkle the filling all over the dough. Try and be as even as possible so you don't get one sticky bun that's got more filling than the others.
Now it's time to actually start making the individual buns. First thing you want to do is roll the dough rectangle into a tube, rolling it on the long side so you have an 18in long tube. If the dough sticks to the table you'll just have to work at it carefully to get it off.
This next bit takes a little bit of eyeballing, chopping the dough tube into 12 equal pieces. You could get a ruler and measure out perfect 1.5 in sections (that is, if your tube is exactly 18in) or you can do what I do and cut it in half, cut those two halves in half and cut those sections into thirds, but whatever you feel like doing. You just need to end up with 12 reasonably equal pieces.
Put your somewhat equal pieces on a cookie sheet and cover them with plastic wrap and a towel. Let them rise until they are about double. While those are rising you can work on the topping. I'd start making it about 15 - 20 minutes after you leave your buns to rise.
1 & 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 stick of butter
6 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons corn syrup (or Karo syrup)
Melt the butter in a sauce pan on the stove at a low heat. (You can use high heat if your impatient but make sure you turn it down before you mix the other ingredients in)
Now all you've got to do is mix in the other ingredients until it's smooth. Keep stirring so you don't end up with stuff burnt on the bottom of your pan. It's not fun to clean up .
By now your buns should be almost doubled in size if not, just keep the topping on low heat and keep stirring it occasionally. You should pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees right about now too.
It's time to pour the topping into the bottom of a 13in x 9 in pan (I highly suggest putting a layer of foil on the bottom, otherwise clean up is going to suck). Pour the filling on the bottom and spread it out evenly.
Take your buns and put them in the pan on top of the topping layer. Put the pan in the oven and now it's time to wait.
The sticky buns will take about 20 - 30 minutes to cook. You want them to be golden brown on the top when you take them out. If you're like me, you can use this time to clean up your pans, especially the topping pan because believe me, you do not want to let that sit too long.
So 20 - 30 minutes have passed and you've taken the pan out of the oven. This is the tricky/potentially hazardous part of sticky bun making, flipping the buns out of the pan.
*Warning: You will be handling extremely hot pans and extremely hot liquid-y things. You really want to make sure you're using oven mitts and closed toe shoes. (Hot sticky bun topping drippings + Flip-flops = Disaster, trust me on this)*
What you want to do is take a cookie sheet that is very close to the size of your pan, a little bit bigger sheet will work too. Put that sheet on top of the pan like a lid. Holding the ends of the pan and the cookie sheet tightly in your hands, flip the whole thing over onto a table top as fast as you can and as carefully as you can. You don't want the liquid to ooze out onto you.
Take the pan off the top of the cookie sheet and peel off the foil. If there's a lot of topping stuck to the foil use a spoon and scrape it off, just drizzle it over any bare spots on the top of the sticky buns.
And there you have it. You are now the proud owner of a dozen sticky buns. Now comes the fun part, eating them and soaking in the adorations of your friends and family who will now begin requesting these for all your parties and gatherings. (Sorry about that, but you know what they say, "With great baked goods comes great responsibility ")