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caramel nut sticky buns.

YES.  The answer to your question is yes…I am a schizophrenic foodie.

Last week I was finishing up a fruit and veggie cleanse, talking about things like summery salads under 350 calories and these quinoa-stuffed bell peppers; then sprinkled between these days of utter discipline and health, I’ve managed to crank out loaded peanut butter ice cream with salted caramel and dark chocolate, berry lime crumb bars and these wickedly awesome sticky buns.

So here’s the deal:  this is a recipe that takes some time and some babysitting.  I’m not gunna lie.  So if you’re game, plan on clearing your schedule and practicing a little patience while you let the dough chill, rise, chill and rise some more…

Ok, and while we’re at it I have another confession for you:  this was my first attempt at baking, like with real yeast.  I feel like a real-deal baker today. You take me a lot more seriously as a baker now, right?  I thought so.

But if you’re going to cut your teeth on a serious, homemade cinnamon roll recipe of the yeasty variety…this one is worth the time and calorie splurge (ignorance is bliss…ignore the nutritional facts below).  Just go for it.

It was the cover of Bon Appetit Magazine this year in April and you can bet your KitchenAid Mixer they know what they’re doing when they stick a recipe on their cover.

Oh how I wish I had time to photograph this recipe to really do it justice.  It was amazing.  It just was.

Here’s a peek at the inside, before it was devoured at the brunch I took it to.

Happy Sticky Buns!

Caramel Nut Sticky Buns

(adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine’s April 2012 cover, makes 9 large rolls or 12 small rolls)

For the dough:

2/3 cup whole milk

5 tablespoons sugar, divided

1 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature

For the Topping:

1 1/2 cups chopped toasted pecans or almonds

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup cream or half and half

1/3 cup honey

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Buns:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


1 large egg

sea salt


*See do ahead notes if you are short on time.

For the dough:

Heat milk in a microwave-safe container for 1 minute.  Transfer to a 2-cup measuring cup; stir in 1 tablespoon sugar.  Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend.  Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs and whisk until smooth.

Combine remaining 4 tablespoons sugar, flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.  Add milk mixture.  With mixer running, add 1/2 cup room temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions.  Mix on medium speed for 1 minute.  Knead on medium-high speed until dough is soft, about 5 minutes.

Brush a medium bowl with some melted butter; place dough in the bowl.  Brush top of dough with remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.  Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area for 2 1/2 hours, or until dough doubles in size.

For the topping:

Melt butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in brown sugar, cream or half and half, honey and salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until glaze is golden brown and glossy, 3-4 minutes.  Pour 1 cup of the glaze into an 8×8″ baking pan, tilting to coat the bottom and sides.  Set aside remaining glaze.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup toasted nuts over bottom of the pan and let cool.

For the Buns:

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Set filling aside.

Punch down dough; transfer to a floured work surface.  Lightly dust top with flour.  Roll out dough to 12×16″ rectangle about 1/4″ thick.  Arrange the dough on the work surface so one long side faces you.  Spread the filling over dough, leaving a 1″ plain border on the side farthest from you.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped nuts over the filling.  Beginning with the long edge closest to you, roll dough into a log and tighten as you go.  Pinch together the seam where the long side meets the roll to seal.  Arrange the log seam side down.  Using a knife, cut the log crosswise into 9 or 12 pieces.  Lightly flour the knife between slices if the dough is too sticky.  Place buns in prepared pan (if they touch each other they will bake together and will be harder to pull apart.  If you can have them not touch each other in the pan they can be removed as individual buns).

Loosely cover pan with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel.  Let buns rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat to 350.  Whisk egg with 1/2 teaspoon water in a small bowl and brush tops of the buns with egg wash.  Bake, rotating pan halfway through and tenting with foil if browning too quickly, until buns are golden brown, filling is bubbly, about 50-60 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes, spoon remaining glaze over, and sprinkle remaining nuts over.  Lightly sprinkle sea salt over and serve warm or at room temperature.

*Buns can be made a day ahead.  Once you have filled and topped the buns, cover in the fridge overnight.  Then rise for 2 hours at room temperature before baking.

TOTAL:  $8.54 or $.71 per serving

Wondering how on earth I arrived at these costs?  Take a look at my shopping guide to show see what I pay for items, per serving, etc.


535 calories per serving (calculations based on 12 rolls)

35 grams of fat

53 carbs

7 grams protein

2 grams fiber

Mosey on over to Facebook and let me know what you think or send me a pic if you tried it!

Join the Frugal Foodie Family Food Blog Community on Facebook

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. That certainly looks good. It would be something that would be good for breakfast on Christmas. I like to splurg on special breakfasts. Thanks for sharing.

    July 13, 2012
    • Yes! They would be fabulous for Christmas!

      July 13, 2012
  2. Mitzi Kelly #

    OHHHHH MY! I would love someone to make these for me and bring them to the hospital . They look so delicious.

    July 13, 2012
    • are you in the hospital or work at one??

      July 13, 2012
  3. Oh my word those look decadent… dangerously so. Very delicious too, I’d imagine!

    July 14, 2012

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