maple bacon pecan sticky buns
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Maple Bacon and Pecan Sticky Buns for and Indulgent Breakfast

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I didn’t do much baking over the holidays as I was sick for almost the whole break! Thankfully I started to feel better a couple of days ago. I decided to close out our holiday break with an indulgent Sunday breakfast. I was inspired by a baking show to make some sticky buns.

I’ve made cinnamon rolls before but not a sticky bun. The main difference between a cinnamon roll and a sticky bun is that the buns are cooked with a layer of caramel sauce in the bottom of the pan. After the buns are baked and cooled slightly, the buns are inverted out of the pan and the bottom becomes the top, which is covered in the gooey caramel sauce.

I looked at a few recipes when I was deciding how to approach my buns, including one from Sally’s Baking Addiction, one from Joshua Weissman, and one from my America’s Test Kitchen cookbook. I decided to use the America’s Test Kitchen recipe as a base. From there I made a few changes to make my version of the ultimate sticky bun.

I wanted to use a tangzhong (a pre-cooked amount of flour and milk) in the dough to make a softer bun, so I increased the amount of buttermilk in the recipe and separated a portion of the milk and the flour. I’ve used this method before in my dinner roll recipe. I cooked the separated milk and flour into a paste and added it to the rest of my dough ingredients. I thought that maple syrup would be a good addition to match with the pecans so I substituted it in for a portion of the brown sugar in the sauce and used maple syrup instead of corn syrup in the topping. I kept the corn syrup in the sauce because I read in my research that the corn syrup helps to keep the sauce from burning during baking. In addition to the cinnamon in the filling, I added a bit of allspice and a pinch of nutmeg for a bit more warmth.

On a whim, I decided to add some chipotle powder to the caramel sauce for a very slight smoky heat. I also increase the amount of butter brushed on the dough from 1 tbsp to 3 tbsp because I had read that it was better to use more butter for a moister roll.

When it came time to roll out the dough, I rolled it fairly thin to about 1/4 inch so that it would get more of a swirl in my buns when I rolled them and the filling would be more distributed, I then out the cut rolls in the pan on top of the caramel sauce and put them in the fridge to rise overnight. The rolls can be made the same day, but I wanted freshly baked ones in the morning.

To keep the pecans crisp, I made a separate topping that I spooned over the buns after they were turned out of the pan. As I opened the fridge to get out the ingredients to make my topping, I noticed that we had some bacon that needed to be used up. Since I had put some chipotle powder in the sauce, I thought that some crisp crumbled bacon would be a perfect addition to the topping. What’s a better combination than bacon and maple syrup? I then added a 1/4 tsp of chipotle powder to carry through the smoke and spice.

It was now time for the taste test. My husband’s first words were « wow! » The buns were soft and full of flavour without being overly sweet and they had a nice tang from the buttermilk. The bacon and chipotle powder really helped to balance the sweetness of the maple syrup and brown sugar and the pecans added a lovely crunch. It was a true exercise in self-control to only est one roll! That and the knowledge that we could freeze the rolls and enjoy them for breakfast a couple more times over the week 🙂

maple bacon pecan sticky buns
Yields: 12 Servings Difficulty: Medium Prep Time: 4 Hr Cook Time: 25 Mins Total Time: 4 Hr 25 Mins
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Maple Bacon and Pecan Sticky Buns

These sticky buns are made with a tangzhong dough for a soft fluffy bun. The topping of maple, bacon and pecans makes them a wonderful salty-sweet breakfast treat. I’ve also included some optional cayenne or chipotle powder for a gentle spicy kick. The buns can be made as an overnight recipe for those that want fresh-baked sticky buns in the morning. I have put instructions for using a stand mixer, but the dough can be kneaded by hand as well. Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.


0/27 Ingredients
Adjust Servings
    For the Dough
  • For the Glaze
  • For the Filling
  • For the Topping


0/12 Instructions
  • Combine 23 g (3 tbsp) flour with 113 g (1/2 cup) buttermilk in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thick. Transfer the cooked flour to the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • Add remaining milk, flour, eggs, sugar, yeast, butter, and salt. Using the dough hook, mix until dough is combined and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Once the dough has come together, increase the speed to 4 and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes more. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and add your dough. Spray the top of the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm environment until doubled in size about 2 - 2 1/2 hours.
  • For the Glaze
  • Meanwhile combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, butter, cream, salt and chipotle powder, if using, in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until combined. Pour over the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and set aside.
  • For the Filling
  • Combine sugar, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined. Break up any lumps of sugar with your fingers. Set aside.
  • For assembly
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Lightly flour the top and roll to a rectangle that is about 1/4 inch/1 cm thick. Brush the surface of the dough with the melted butter. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with the sugar filling, leaving a 3/4 inch/2 cm border at the top. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, tightly roll the dough into a cylinder. Press the seam to seal the dough and roll the dough seam-side down. Using a serrated knife, cut the cylinder into 12 equal pieces. Place the pieces cut side down on top of the glaze in your prepared pan in 4 rows of 3. Cover the pan with plastic wrap.
  • Let dough rise for 8-12 hours in the fridge then remove from fridge and let rise for 1-2 hours until puffy. OR, let rise in a warm environment until the buns are puffy and touch each other, about 1 - 1/2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F/180C and place a baking stone on the lower-middle rack.
  • Remove the plastic wrap and place the pan on the baking stone. Bake until golden brown and the internal temperature of the dough reads 180F/82 C about 25-30 minutes.
  • Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes then invert onto a large rimmed baking sheet or a cutting board. Scrape any glaze from the pan over top of the buns with a rubber spatula.
  • For the topping
  • Combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, cayenne, salt and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until combined. Stir in pecans and crumbled bacon.
  • Spoon a heaping spoonful of the topping in the centre of each bun. Continue to cool the buns until just warm, about 10-15 minutes. Pull apart or use a serrated knife to cut the buns apart and serve.

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