Autumn. Sticky buns. Apples. Pecan. Caramel.
Is your heart racing? Are you getting stoked? How about we combine these all together?? Hear me out – Apple-Peach Butter Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns. A mouthful, I know but literally these are the best! Taken from Serious Eat’s amazing Double Caramel Sticky Buns, but made to last so you don’t have to small-batch them. But honestly, there’s a high chance you’ll just devour them in one sitting, especially when they’re hot out of the oven.
The base dough is essentially the same as from Serious Eat, and is seriously THE BEST cinnamon roll/sticky bun bread out there and I’ve tried a lot. It’s so so soooo soft and fluffy and light, and only the best things you want from a sweet bread. The key is using yogurt. Weird, huh? But yogurt (and sour cream) is incredible for moistening and lightening up a dense bread-y recipe.
Okay, so that’s the base of the sticky buns. What goes in it? Fresh apple-peach butter. Or just apple if it’s a later season and peaches are nowhere to be found. But peaches add a certain fresh, summery feeling to the buns. And the crisp apple with the warm cinnamon spice bring out the fall flavors too. Add some nuts for some crunch and an ooey-gooey caramel topping, ummm delicious!!
What’s the difference between cinnamon rolls and sticky buns?
Well, I’m glad you asked! Contrary to their name, sticky buns can also be in a roll form and essentially be a cinnamon roll. However, one of the largest difference is that sticky buns are generally more dense than cinnamon rolls (I beg to differ on this recipe). And the other visual difference is that cinnamon rolls use a cream cheese frosting post baking, whereas sticky buns have a caramel topping that’s create while baking and then you invert the buns before eating. Plus sticky buns are more likely to contain nuts for that extra flavor. Honestly I think sticky buns are better, but you be the judge!
Too many-a-time cinnamon roll or sticky bun recipes I’ve followed create these caramel toppings that get hard within 10 minutes of pulling them out of the oven. Well, I’m glad to tell you that this recipe is far from that! Not only is the caramel soft and runny, it never gets hard at room temperature and your teeth will thank you for this recipe. So, if you have to wait an hour to serve your guests (or let’s be real, ourselves!), this cinnamon sticky bun will be there for you. But I highly recommend eating it warm cause I mean they’re always best fresh out of the oven!
And if you’re wanting to portion control (it’s hard, I know), you can easily freeze these. Take one or two out to thaw for several hours, up to overnight, and then reheat it in the microwave for 30 seconds and voilà, just like fresh from the oven! Don’t be afraid to use the microwave cause the buns will still be soft even if you accidentally cooled it too much. I like to reheat it just until the caramel starts bubbling again and all silky smooth.
So, enjoy the best sticky buns you’ve ever had with this recipe! Quite literally, these will knock you off your feet and I don’t say that about every recipe!
Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns with Apple-Peach Butter
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup yogurt, plain or vanilla
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3-1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 packet yeast (2-1/4 tsp)
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 medium apple, diced
- 1 peach, diced
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 4 Tbsp butter, softened
- 1 cup pecan halves, chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper.
- Bread: In a pot, melt the butter. Then add the yogurt, milk, and vanilla. Combine until well mix and warm, do not boil.
- In a stand mixer bowl, combine the rest of the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, yeast, salt, baking soda, salt).
- Add in the wet mixture and using the dough hook, stir everything together till combined. Then set the stand mixer on medium and let it knead for 15-20 minutes, until the dough passes the window pane test (see below). Alternatively, hand knead for at least 20 minutes. Dough should be fairly bouncy and not sticky. Cover the bowl with a wet towel or plastic wrap and let it rise for 1.5 hours, until double in size.
- Apple-Peach Butter: Meanwhile, make the filling and topping. In a pot, add the apple, peach, and sugar on medium heat for 10 minutes. The juices should start to come out and the fruit will soften. Using an immersion blender, blender, or food processor, purée the mixture and return it back to the pot. Continue to cook on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens.
- Filling: In a small bowl, combine the filling ingredients except the pecans. Then stir in the apple-peach butter. Set this aside.
- Caramel: In a clean pot, heat the sugar on medium, then low as it melts further. Take care not to burn the sugar. Remove from heat and add in the butter all at once and immediately mix it together. The caramel will violently bubble but that is okay. Then stir in the heavy cream. Pour this evenly into the prepared pan.
- Assembly: Once the dough is ready, punch it down and gather it together again. Then roll it out to a rectangle about 16 inches wide and 12 inches tall, away from you. Spread the apple-cinnamon butter mixture on top. Then sprinkle the pecan pieces on top.
- Starting from the end closest to you, start rolling the dough away, firm but not too tight. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into 12 pieces. Hold the sides of the roll as you're cutting so no squishing/spilling occurs. The easiest method is to divide the roll in half twice for 4 pieces, then each of those into thirds.
- Place the rolls swirl side up in the pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours.
- In the morning, preheat the oven to 350ºF and remove the rolls from the fridge. As the the oven preheats, the rolls can thaw and slightly proof.
- Bake for 40 minutes covered with foil, then for another 15 min to get them golden brown. Let the rolls cool for 5 min before serving. Enjoy!
- Recipe adapted from Serious Eats
- Window pane test: take a small piece of dough (about golf ball sized) and gently stretch it before it breaks, if you can see light pass through the dough like a stained glass window, then it's ready, otherwise keep kneading until you reach that point
- To hand knead dough: The best method is to repeatedly turn and fold the dough on itself. Using the palm of your hand, press down on the middle of the dough and a little away. Then grab the top of the dough and fold it down, press with palm, turn it 45-90 degrees and repeat until the dough comes together.
- A tip for slicing the log roll: use a lengthy piece of dental floss, wrap it around the log and pull the ends in opposite direction (as if to tie a knot around the roll)
If peaches aren't in season, sub 1:1 with an apple
- Walnuts could also be used in replacement for pecans
- Freezing the sticky buns: let the buns cool to room temperature and separate each bun. Wrap them in parchment paper (at least the caramel side should be covered) and place them in a freezer bag or large sealable container.
- Reheating the sticky buns: from the freezer, thaw the sticky buns overnight or at least a few hours. Reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds, but check after 15 seconds. It's ready when the caramel begins to bubble.
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