When I was 13, we moved to Allen Park, Michigan. We had the BEST next-door neighbors ever. The Jackson’s. We only lived there for 3 years but are still friends today. One of the benefits of knowing them are these sticky buns. My mom’s recipe card in her box for sticky buns is the one in Nancy Jackson’s handwriting.
When I was a teenager, my mom would often make these on a Saturday evening. Partly because they were a great Sunday morning breakfast. Also, because I would come home from a date, or a dance or hanging out with friends to find mom taking hot sticky buns out of the oven. I would not go straight to my room because the warmth and smell of the buns were too tempting! I would sit and visit with my mom telling her all my secrets over warm buns, and cold milk.
I typically make these two times a year. The first weekends of April and October when our church has a General Conference that airs on TV. These buns on Sunday morning, while we are cozy and watching the conference is a tradition for us. I love that my kids have grown up with these sticky buns. They have truly become a family recipe. My adult son Max used to call them “sticky BUMS” when he was little. It has stuck, and we often call them that now.
Start the dough by measuring 2 cups of flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 Tablespoons of yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer. Or a large mixing bowl you can use electric beaters with. I use a wire whisk to sift and blend the dry ingredients. Set aside while you prep the liquids.
In a microwave safe bowl melt a stick, 1/2 cup, of butter. Carefully pour in 1 cup of milk, and 1 cup of water. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time till it is very warm, but not so hot that it burns your finger tip when you dip it. If it’s too hot it will kill the yeast, if it’s too cool it will not activate the yeast.
Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients. Use a dough hook on the stand mixer, or electric beaters to blend together. Add 1 egg. After that is mixed in add in 4-5 cups of flour. Let the dough hook do its work till the dough forms a large smooth ball. If you are using a electric beaters just add 1 cup at a time. When it gets too thick for the beaters turn the dough onto a floured surface. Use your fists and hands to knead in the last couple cups of flour till you have a non-sticky smooth ball of dough.
When I add the flour I like to also add a Tablespoon of Dough Enhancer. This is basically gluten. It makes the dough a little fluffier.
Lightly spray or rub olive or canola oil around the inside of a large bowl. Place the large dough ball in the bowl, flip it over once or twice to coat all the dough with a little oil so it doesn’t dry out. Cover the bowl with a large tea towel, or plastic wrap. I usually set it on my stove where it tends to be a bit warmer. Let it sit till it doubles in size. About 45 minutes.
While the dough is rising prep two 9×13 pans. Lightly grease or spray oil around the bottom of two 9×13 dishes. In a mixing bowl combine 1 cup softened butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup light corn syrup.
Split the butter mix in half between the 2 dishes. Spread and smooth the butter mix over the bottom of each dish, and up the sides a little bit. I cover the bottom of one dish with 1 cup of chopped pecans. You can cover both with pecans, or neither. The Nuts are delicious! But optional.
Punch down the risen dough. Knead for about 1-2 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Split the dough in half. Set one half aside. Roll out the first ball into a large rectangle.
Spread soft butter over all the rolled out dough. Then mix together 1 cup of brown sugar, and 2 Tablespoons of ground cinnamon. Evenly sprinkle HALF of it over the top of the butter.
Roll up the dough into a long log, starting from one of the long sides. Slice the log into 12-13 pieces. Place into one of the prepared dishes.
Repeat with the other ball of dough. Place the rolls into the other prepared dish.
Place the two dishes with the rolls inside next to each other in a warm, dry place. Cover and let rise for about 30 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
While they are baking cover two large cookie sheets with tin foil.
Let the rolls sit for no longer than 5 minutes. The caramel with cool and harden if it sits too long. Almost immediately invert each dish onto the two foil covered cookie sheets. I place a cookie sheet face down over a pan of rolls. Use hot pads to grab and reach under to grab the lip ends of the 9×13 dish, and hold it tight to the cookie sheet, then flip it over. With a hot pad in one hand hold the sheet and dish in place so it doesn’t slide, while in the other hand use a fork to get under the edge of the 9×13 dish to lift it up leaving the rolls on the cookie sheet. Repeat with the other dish of roll onto the second cookie sheet. Use a rubber scraper to get all the caramel and nuts off the bottom and spread over the tops of the rolls.
Easy to reheat – One or two rolls in the microwave for about 15 seconds or cover the whole sheet of rolls with foil, and pop into a 350-degree oven for 5-10 minutes.
- 6-7 cups flour
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons yeast, active dry
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup butter
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon dough enhancer optional
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup butter softened
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup pecans, chopped or 2 cups for both dishes, or no nuts at all
- ¼ cup butter, soft
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
- In the bowl of a stand mixer measure in - 2 cups of the flour, ½ cup white sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 Tablespoons of yeast. Use a whisk gently sift and blend the dry ingredients.
- In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, melt ½ cup butter (one stick), in the microwave. Carefully pour in 1 cup water and 1 cup milk. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds at a time till the temp is very warm, but not too hot. I test it by dipping the tip of my finger in. You want it to be the temp of a hot bath. If it burns, stick it in the fridge for a bit to cool or it will kill the yeast.
- Slowly pour the liquid into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Put the bowl on the mixer with a dough hook attachment. Turn on to a level 2. Mix for a couple minutes.
- Stop the mixer and scrape the sides. Add the egg. Turn the mixer back on. Once the egg is well mixed in, turn the mixer off.
- Add in 4-5 cups of flour and 1 Tablespoon of dough enhancer (dough enhancer optional). Turn the mixer, and run it till the dough is not sticky, and it holds together well not sticking to the edge of the bowl.
- Lightly spray a large mixing bowl with olive or canola oil. Form the dough into a large, smooth ball. Roll the ball around till the surface is all lightly coated with the oil. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Keep in a dry, warm place till doubled in size. About 45 minutes.
- While the dough is rising prep two 9x13 glass dishes by lightly spraying with oil.
- Mix together 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup soft butter and ¼ cup corn syrup.
- Separate in half. Put ½ in each 9x13 dish. Spread and smooth the sugar mix with a large rubber spatula till it coats the bottom and sides of each dish.
- We always leave one dish plain, and one with chopped pecans. Chop one cup of pecans, and evenly sprinkle over the bottom of one dish, over the butter spread.
- Punch the dough down. On a light floured surface, knead the dough for a minute or two. Cut the dough in half.
- Roll out the first half. Spread a couple Tablespoons of soft butter over the dough.
- Mix together 1 cup brown sugar with 2 Tablespoons of ground cinnamon. Sprinkle half of it over the buttered dough.
- Roll up the dough, starting from one of the long sides.
- Gently cut the rolled-up log into 1½-2-inch slices. I use a serrated knife so a gentle sawing motion doesn't smoosh down on the dough. Cut 12-13 pieces. Place into one of the 9x13 dishes in rows of 3x4.
- Repeat with the other half of the dough.
- Place the two dishes with the rolls in, next to each other. I set them on the oven while it preheats to 350°. Cover them as they rise to keep them from drying out. Let the sit for about 30 minutes.
- Bake at 350° for 25 minutes.
- While they bake prep two large cookie sheets by covering them with foil.
- When the rolls come out, let them sit for about 5 minutes. BE CAREFUL NOT to wait too long or the caramel will cool and harden.
- Place a cookie sheet face down over one of the dishes of rolls. Use hot pads over the top, to grab on, and grab the 9x13 dish underneath, then flip over. Now the 9x13 dish should be upside down on top of the cookie sheet, dumping the caramel covered rolls onto the foil.
- In one hand use a fork, and the other hand a hot pad. Use the hot pad to keep the sheet from sliding, and the fork to get underneath the edge of the 9x13 dish to lift it up without burning your hand. Use a rubber scraper to get all the caramel and nuts out of the bottom and spread over the warm rolls.
- EASY TO REHEAT - because these are best when warm! Pop one or two in the microwave for 15 seconds. OR cover the rolls on the cookie sheet with foil, and pop in the oven at 350° for 5-10 minutes.