Pecan Sticky Buns

My mother was very adventurous with her cooking. I remember her making lots of recipes that weren’t common in most Cameroonian households. This one was one of my favorites. Over a month ago, I was craving pecan buns and remembered this recipe. I reached out to her for it but she said she had lost it years ago. Then I remembered that before leaving home for college in 2008 my ambitious self went through all my mothers recipes and cookbooks and made copies of most of them. All I had to do was find my old folder with all the recipes and there it was on the first page.

Looking back at the recipes I had copied was nostalgic and I was reminded of so many recipes that my mother used to make that I still haven’t tried yet. It was also funny because I even copied recipes that I don’t remember her making like Seafood Au Gratin and Duckling à L’Orange. Like when would I have found the time and the money to make Duckling à L’Orange while in college? It was ironic since I was never interested in cooking back then but some of those recipes are now beginning to come in handy and in the future you might see more of them.

This recipe is from a cookbook called McCall’s Cooking School and it was originally published in 1976. I am sure I can say this cookbook is a classic. You or your parents might know it or even own it too. The original recipe is called Philadelphia Sticky Buns so I have to ask my Philadelphia people; is this a thing? Does Philly have a popular type of pecan bun? I mostly followed the recipe to a T except I omitted raisins and added more pecans. We can say that’s why I am calling them Pecan Sticky Buns instead of Philadelphia Sticky Buns. Either way, they are sooo good! Each layer of pillowy soft dough is wrapped in warm buttery cinnamon sugar and topped with crunchy, toasty, caramelized pecans. Your whole house will smell amazing and you most likely will eat more than one on the spot. You have got to give this a try. Especially since it is not January anymore and we can stop pretending that our diets are going to change this year.

Pecan Sticky Buns

Dough

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Filling

  • 1/2 cup softened butter (split in two even portions)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (split 1/4 and 1/2)
  • 3/4 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Method

In a small pan, heat milk just until little bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat then add white sugar, salt and 1/4 cup butter. Stir until butter melts. Let it cool until it’s lukewarm.

In a large bowl, pour warm water then sprinkle yeast on top. Stir to dissolve yeast. Stir in lukewarm milk mixture. Add the egg and stir. Add 2 cups of sugar and mix until mixture is blended smoothly. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour and mix with your hands until dough is smooth and leaves the side of the bowl.

Turn though out on a lightly floured surface. Knead until it’s smooth then form into a ball and place in a large lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a towel and let it rise in a warm place free from drafts until it doubles in size; 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

In the meantime, cream 1/4 cup softened butter with 1/4 cup brown sugar in a small bowl. Spread mixture on bottom and partly up the sides of a 9×9 or 8×8 inch pan. Sprinkle evenly with all the pecans.

After dough has risen, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle; about 16 by 12 inches. Spread with 1/4 cup softened butter then 1/2 cup brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll it up from the long side and pinch edges to seal. Cut it into 12 pieces. Place all pieces in the pan on the sugar mixture and pecans.

Cover and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size; 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Preheat oven to 375°F and bake buns for 25 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Invert on a board and let it stand for a minute before removing the pan. Serve warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container and reheat in oven before eating. Enjoy!

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