Coffee Cake Crunch Sticky Buns

I know some people find the holidays to be an incredibly stressful time, but I absolutely love the last 6 weeks of the year. My thoughts revolve around making the best treats (like this sticky bun recipe), designing party menus, and tackling a to-do list of items that have been accumulating for months.

This sticky bun recipe pairs beautifully with freshly brewed coffee, a cold glass of milk or a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.

Coffee Cake Crunch Sticky Bun Recipe

Makes 12-15 buns, adapted from Food52


Brioche Dough

1 packet (1/4 oz) active dry yeast

2 tablespoons lukewarm water

1 1/2 teaspoons lukewarm water

2 tablespoons lukewarm heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoons lukewarm heavy cream

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 room temp. eggs (if taking right out of fridge let sit in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes to bring to room temp)

1 ​teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature yet slightly firm

Glaze & Filling:

1 cup tightly packed, dark brown sugar

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup clover honey

2 cups pecan halves or pieces- toasted

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons tightly packed, brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 5oz Box (or 5 cookies), Brown Sugar Coffee Cake Soft-Baked Biscotti, processed into crumbs

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


(Step 1 can be done the day or two ahead of baking this sticky bun recipe)

1.) Prepare the brioche; In stand mixer bowl, whisk together the yeast, water and cream until the yeast is dissolved. Add flour, cinnamon and salt. Fit the mixer with the dough hook and pulse a few times on low speed, to dampen the flour. Increase speed to medium-low and mix for about two minutes or until you're left with a shaggy, dry dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, vanilla extract + sugar. Beat for about 3 minutes on medium speed until the dough forms a ball.

Reduce speed to low and slowly add butter cubes (about 3-4 at a time), beating until each piece is almost completely incorporated into the dough {Note: this will take up to 20 minutes and your dough will almost be batter-like consistency when complete}. When all the butter has been added, increase speed to med-high and beat till dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl (about 5-10 minutes).

Transfer dough to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave at room temperature until dough is almost doubled in size (about 40-60 minutes). Deflate the dough by lifting it up around the edges and dropping it back into the bowl (with a slap!). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Every 30 minutes or so, repeat the lifting + slapping process until the dough stops rising - about 2 hours. Leave the covered dough in fridge overnight.

2.) Prepare the glaze: Generously grease a 13x9-inch baking pan. In a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar, butter (8 Tablespoons), cinnamon, salt, and honey. Stirring frequently, bring to a boil over med-low heat and cook until sugar has dissolved. Pour the hot glaze into prepared pan, evening it out with a heatproof spatula. Sprinkle toasted pecans onto glaze; set pan aside.

3.) Prepare the filling: In a medium-size bowl, mix together the sugars, cinnamon, and salt. Remove brioche dough from fridge. On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 16-inch square. Use a pastry brush to spread softened butter over the dough, to about an inch from all edges. Sprinkle dough with cinnamon/sugar mixture, leaving a 1-inch strip bare on the side farthest from you. Use food processor or rolling pin & closed gallon plastic bag to make biscotti cookies into fine crumbs. sprinkle the cookie crumbs evenly over the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

If dough is now too soft, return to fridge for 10 minutes before rolling up. Roll the dough into a tight log. Trim the very ends of the log (most likely they will be bare and uneven). Using a sharp knife, cut the log into 1-inch thick buns. Place buns, cut side down, into glaze-lined pan. Lightly cover the pan with foil and place in a warm area until the buns have doubled in size (about 1 hour and 30 minutes, depending on room temperature). {Tip: I placed my pan into a slightly warm oven. I set the oven to 200 F for about 2 minutes, turned it off completely and let it cool for about 5 minutes before sliding in the pan.} The buns are ready when they're puffy, soft and brushing up against each other. 

4.) Bake: ​Preheat oven to 375 F. (Remove the pan if you used the oven as a warmer!) Remove foil and place pan onto a large, parchment-lined baking sheet (this will catch any meandering glaze). Bake 30-45 minutes or until buns are golden brown and glaze is bubbling. Remove pan from oven and allow buns to rest for about 5 minutes before flipping the pan over. {Note: the glaze is extremely hot so be careful when unmolding. I flipped mine onto the parchment-lined pan.}​ Let cool slightly before serving.  Can be reheated for up to 5 minutes in 200 F oven.


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