Fall is baked into every inch of these sticky buns!
Apples and pecans, caramel and brioche dough – these sticky buns are unlike any others. It’s full of fall flavor, and by double rising the dough, the finished product turns out fluffier than any sweet roll you have ever had!
Lori Vaughn shares everything that goes in to these sticky fall treats. Instead of glazing after they are baked, she does it when the dough is still raw. Then, she bakes them face down on a bed of pecans. When the sticky buns are finished, flip them over for a caramelized, nutty sweet roll!
Caramel Apple Pecan Sticky Buns
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- About 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup chopped apples (granny smith or a tart red variety work great)
- ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup chopped pecans *see note for optional toasting
Prepare the dough
Using a stand mixer with the dough hook attached (or you can mix & knead by hand in a large bowl), combine the warm milk, yeast, and sugar together. If using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, wait about 10 minutes for the yeast to activate and get foamy.
Add the egg, salt, and half the flour. Mix on low speed. While mixing, add the butter one tablespoon at a time.
Slowly add the remaining flour while mixing. Pour your last half cup of flour in slowly, watching the dough. You may add slightly more or less flour as needed. You’ve added enough flour when the dough is soft, slightly sticky, and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Knead for 8-10 minutes on low-medium speed.
Remove the dough hook and cover the bowl. Let the dough rise for about 30-60 minutes, or until doubled in size.* (See note for a tip)
While dough is rising, prepare the filling by combining the sugars and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Mix together and set aside.
Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl, except the pecans. Using a hand mixer, beat together all of the ingredients until combined. Line a 9×13″ baking pan with parchment paper then gently spraying with non stick spray. Spread the caramel spread evenly into the pan. Add chopped pecans evenly on top of the spread. For extra-loving apple lovers, you can add more chopped apples here with the pecans. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Transfer the dough to a clean work surface spread lightly dusted with flour. Roll out the dough into about a 14″x12″ rectangle. Spread an even layer of softened butter and generously sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling and chopped apples.
Gently roll it up into a log. Cut into 1″-2″ sections using a strand of floss or sharp serrated knife, making 12 rolls. Place rolls on top of the caramel spread in the pan. Set aside to rise until dough has risen about 50% and is puffy.
Bake for about 28-30 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes in the pan. Then invert the pan by flipping it over and placing rolls on top of a baking sheet or serving dish. Serve warm. These are best warm, same day. To reheat, place in microwave or oven to gently warm up again.
Dough tip: You can prep this ahead of time! In fact, the dough is a lot easier to roll up when it’s chilled. After kneading the dough, cover and place in the fridge for up to 24 hours, then form as directed.
You can also form the rolls and place on caramel spread in advance as well. Cover and store in fridge for up to 24 hours, then remove, let it rest to get almost to room temp and give any additional rising time if needed, then bake as directed.
Pecans: I love toasting my pecans at 325° F for about 8 minutes, until aromatic and slightly toasted. I think they bring out an extra warm flavor to the rolls. This is optional and not toasting them is still delicious.