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My dad is a sticky bun lover -- not surprising, since he's a native of Camden, New Jersey, just across the river from Philadelphia, ancestral home of a particularly sticky type of sticky bun. He especially likes the kind of bun you can unroll into a long spiral, which makes it easier to enjoy them bit by luscious bit.
The following buns feature a thick cinnamon filling, and a topping of rich, sticky sauce sprinkled liberally with pecans. Dad, these may not rival those Philadelphia sticky buns you had as a kid... But I'm sure you'll enjoy doing the taste comparison.
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Mellow Pastry Blend or Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
1 cup (8 ounces) water
1/16 teaspoon instant yeast
*Using Mellow Pastry Blend will give you a delightfully tender roll. However, if you don't have it, use entirely King Arthur all-purpose, increasing the amount of water to 1 cup + 2 tablespoons.
One more note: Instant yeast is NOT the same thing as rapid-rise yeast. We don't recommend using rapid-rise yeast, as it works quickly, but has a short lifespan. For bread or rolls with a couple of rises, like these sticky buns, rapid-rise yeast isn't a good choice.
1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Mellow Pastry Blend or Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) Baker's Special Dry Milk OR nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) potato flour OR 1/4 cup dried potato flakes (optional, for a more tender roll)
3 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) Easy-Roll Dough Improver (optional, but it makes the dough easier to roll out)
1/4 cup (1 7/8 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon Buttery Sweet Dough Flavor OR 2 teaspoons vanilla OR 2 teaspoons vanilla + 1/8 teaspoon orange or lemon oil
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter
Cinnamon Filling*Baker's Cinnamon Filling and Sticky Bun Sugar are both key to making an ultra-sticky, delightfully tasty sticky bun. However, you can choose not to use them and still make a pretty good bun. Substitute 1 cup granulated sugar mixed with 1 to 2 tablespoons cinnamon (to taste) for the Baker's Cinnamon Filling, and 1 cup brown sugar for the Sticky Bun Sugar.
1 cup (5 ounces) Baker's Cinnamon Filling* mixed with 1/4 cup (2 ounces) water
1/2 cup (5 1/2 ounces) light corn syrup
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) butter, melted
1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) Sticky Bun Sugar*
1 cup (3 7/8 ounces) diced pecans
Overnight Starter: Combine the flour, water and yeast in a medium-sized bowl, stirring till fairly smooth. Cover the bowl, and let the mixture rest, at room temperature (hopefully cooler than 75°F), overnight, or for 12 to 16 hours.
Dough: Combine the overnight starter with all of the dough ingredients and mix and knead them together -- by hand, mixer or bread machine -- till you've made a soft, smooth dough. Allow the dough to rise, covered, for about 1 hour; it'll become slightly puffy, but won't double in bulk.
While the dough is rising, prepare the pans; use two 9-inch round cake pans, a 9 x 13-inch pan or a 12-inch round pan. Spray with non-stick pan spray, or lightly grease with vegetable shortening or butter.
Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the syrup, rum (if you're using it) and melted butter. Divide this glaze evenly between the pans (if you're using two pans). Sprinkle the Sticky Bun Sugar (or brown sugar) and pecans atop the glaze.
Assembly: Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface. Divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, roll it into a 14" x 10" rectangle. Spread with half the prepared cinnamon filling (or cinnamon-sugar), leaving an uncovered strip about 1" wide along one short end of the dough. Roll the dough into a log the short way, and slice it into 8 slices. Repeat with the remaining piece of dough. Space the buns in the prepared pan(s). Cover the pan(s), and let the buns rise for 90 minutes; they should spread out and touch one another.
Bake the sticky buns in a preheated 350°F oven for about 30 minutes, tenting them lightly with aluminum foil for the final 5 minutes if they appear to be browning too quickly. The finished buns will be golden brown. Loosen the edges of the buns with a knife, then carefully -- the sugar is hot! -- turn them out onto a rack or parchment-covered sheet pan to cool, scraping any glaze that may have stuck to the pan onto the warm buns. Serve warm, or at room temperature. Yield: 16 sticky buns.
Nutrition information per serving (1 bun, 136g): 473 cal, 15g fat, 6g protein, 31g complex carbohydrates, 48g sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 25mg cholesterol, 262mg sodium, 240mg potassium, 99RE vitamin A, 1mg vitamin C, 3mg iron, 62mg calcium, 103mg phosphorus.