Sticky buns satisfy your sweet tooth

Julie Falsetti

A few weeks back, I got a sudden craving for sticky buns. I hopped in the car and headed to my favorite place (which will remain unnamed) to buy some. When I got home, I ripped open the plastic clamshell and pulled out a bun. It felt very fresh, but the appearance seemed a bit different than what I was used to.

After my first bite my disappointment grew. The first ingredient on the label was “sticky bun dough” followed by a very long list of strange ingredients in parentheses. I realized that this hallowed venue was no longer making its sticky buns from scratch.

This was the impetus to make my own. As an experienced baker, I asked myself: How hard could it be? I knew the basic procedures, as I had made various types of sweet rolls in the past.

With great anticipation, I mixed up the dough and waited for the first rise. And waited.

Because this is a rich dough and my house is cool, it took about two hours. As instructed, I made the topping in the meantime. The second rise was faster as the kitchen was warmer due to other cooking.

I baked the sticky buns according to the directions, but I was not happy with the results.

The dough was light and flavorful, but after cooling, the topping became rock hard. Crestfallen, I went back to the drawing board.

In the second iteration, I increased the corn syrup and decreased the sugar. The buns turned out beautifully. The topping was firm but not tooth-breaking. Family and friends pronounced them delicious.

Sticky Buns

Dough

1 packet instant or rapid rise yeast

1 cup warm milk

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 tablespoons sugar

11/4 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes

Topping

1/2 cup light corn syrup

4 tablespoons melted butter

1 cup brown sugar, packed

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Filling

1 cup packed brown sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon

To make the dough:

Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients together until you’ve made a smooth dough. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until almost doubled in size.

To make the topping:

Whisk together the corn syrup and melted butter. Divide the butter/corn syrup mixture evenly between two 9-inch cake pans. Sprinkle the sugar and pecans on top.

To assemble the buns:

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface and pat or roll it into a 16-inch by 12-inch rectangle.

Pat the filling evenly over the dough, leaving an uncovered strip about 1 inch wide along the edge of the rectangle furthest away from you.

Starting with the sugar-covered edge, roll the dough into a log the long way. Seal the log using your fingers. Using a serrated knife, slice the log into 16 slices. Rinse the blade in hot water, and wipe it off between slices to make the slicing easier.

Space eight buns in each of the prepared pans. Cover the pans, and let the buns rise till they spread out and touch one another, about 60 to 90 minutes.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the sticky buns for 15 minutes. Then tent them lightly with aluminum foil, and bake until they’re a light golden brown, about 10 more minutes.

Remove the buns from the oven, and while still hot, invert each pan onto a plate. Scrape any topping that may have stuck in the pan onto the buns. Serve warm or at room temperature.

— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section. Reach her with questions and comments at julietrulie11@gmail.com.