The Giants' Sticky Buns

These Brobdingnagian buns (remember Gulliver's Travels?) elicit a smile from everyone who sees them. "Cool! A giant sticky bun!" Sometimes it's just plain fun to transform a familiar recipe into something brand new, and this is one of those times.

50 mins
25 mins
3 hrs 30 mins
two large sticky buns, about 12 to 16 servings
The Giants' Sticky Buns


  1. Combine all of the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — and knead until the dough is smooth and supple.

  2. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour. It'll become very puffy, nearly doubled in bulk.

  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and divide it in half. Divide each of the two pieces in half again; you now have four pieces of dough.

  4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let it rest while you prepare the topping and pans.

  5. To make the topping: In a small bowl, whisk together the syrup, rum (if you're using it) and melted butter.

  6. Divide this mixture evenly between two 9" round cake pans.

  7. Sprinkle the Sticky Bun Sugar (or brown sugar) and pecans over the topping in the pans.

  8. To combine: Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it into a 30" to 32" rope, about 3/4" to 1" in diameter. If you've used the dough relaxer, this dough will be very easy to roll out; if not, roll it under your palms lightly, and when it starts to resist, give it a 2-minute rest. When you're just about done rolling, dust the rolling surface with the cinnamon-sugar plus, and roll the logs in it thoroughly.

  9. Starting in the center, loosely coil one of the ropes into one of the pans; it should fill about the middle two-thirds of the pan. There should be about 1/2" of space between the loops of the coil, to allow for the expansion of the dough as it rises.

  10. Take a second rope, pinch its end to the rope in the pan, and coil it to fill the remainder of the pan.

  11. Repeat the process with the second pan and the remaining two ropes of dough.

  12. Cover the pans, and let the dough rise for about 60 minutes; it should just about fill the bottom of the pan.

  13. While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.

  14. Bake the buns for 25 minutes, or until they're golden brown.

  15. Remove them from the oven, and carefully turn the pans over onto a serving plate, so the buns drop out onto the plate. Scrape any nuts or sugar left in the pans onto the buns.

  16. Allow them to cool a bit before serving.

  17. Store, loosely covered, at room temperature for 4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Tips from our Bakers

  • To make plain cinnamon buns, simply bypass the sugar, butter, etc. (the sticky bun part) in the bottom of the pan, and drizzle confectioners' sugar icing over the finished buns.
  • An easy way to serve these buns is to snip the baked coil into pieces with a scissors, cutting off as large (or small) a portion as the recipient wants.