Pecan Honey Sticky Buns are a delicious brioche version of cinnamon buns. I made brioche for the first time earlier this year and wrapped it around sausage. But I think this cross between a pastry and a bread is much better suited to cinnamon buns and breakfast treats!
A good cinnamon bun is hard to come by in these parts. They're often covered in a too-sweet icing, have an artificial, almost tinny taste, usually don't have any raisins, and taste more like biscuits with cinnamon sprinkled here and there.
I used to love coming home after school, opening the door, and smelling the sweet scent of homemade cinnamon buns. My mom's (and my aunt's) cinnamon buns are still one of my favorite treats. For awhile, there were cinnamon bun cafés popping up everywhere (Cinnamon Inn and DJ Cinnamon are two places I remember going to on Sundays after church) where the cinnamon buns tasted almost as good as homemade. Now, they’ve been replaced with Starbucks or other trendy coffee shops.
I followed Dorie's instructions and made a full batch of brioche dough using my stand mixer. And, even though Dorie recommends not cutting the brioche dough in half, I did and threw it in my bread maker on the sweet dough setting to see what would happen. I also wanted to compare this version of cinnamon buns to the ones I usually make using my family's cinnamon bun recipe.
• Brioche with the stand mixer: This sticky bun turned out perfectly. The crumb was tender and rich. They were tall and bursting with sticky goodness. These were one taster's favorite, and commented how they melt in your mouth. It must be all the butter!
• Brioche with the bread maker: These buns didn't rise as much, and the dough was more chewy, but I liked them a little better than the ones with the stand mixer. They were closer in texture to the cinnamon buns I'm more familiar with. One taster couldn't tell the difference between this bun and the one made with the stand mixer. And how easy it is to just throw it in the bread maker on the dough setting!
• My family's cinnamon bun recipe: Guess what. This was my favorite. I think this is because it's what I grew up with. Brioche wasn't on the menu at my house in my formative years.
More Playing Around
I also tried smearing Dulce de Leche instead of butter on some of the sticky buns. And on another batch I spread both Dulce de Leche and melted chocolate for a real decadent treat. Both turned out to be a nice variation, although the Dulce de Leche didn't taste significantly different from regular cinnamon buns.
You can find the recipe for Pecan Honey Sticky Buns at this blog Madam Chow’s Kitchen or in the book Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. To see how the rest of the TWD group fared with this week's recipe, click here and then click on each blogger!
Aunt Joyce's Recipe for Buns, Bread, or Cinnamon Buns
Makes 4 loaves or 80 small buns
1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons sugar
2 packages or 2 tablespoons yeast
3 cups warm water
1 cup warm milk
6 tablespoons butter, melted
6 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons salt
1 egg, slightly beaten (optional)
16 cups flour, plus more if needed
Mix water, sugar, and yeast and let stand for 10 minutes.
Heat water and milk, and melt butter. Mix the water, milk, and butter. Ensure that this mixture is not too hot to kill the yeast before mixing it with the yeast mixture. Stir in the sugar, salt, and egg. Stir in the flour. Turn out onto a lightly floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic.
Put dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover. Let rise in warm place until doubled in volume (about 1½ hours). Punch down, turn out onto lightly floured board. Cover and let rise 20 minutes. Form into loaves, buns, or cinnamon buns. (If making cinnamon buns, follow Dorie's recipe for the glaze and filling, adding raisins if you like.) Let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
Bake at 375˚F for 25-30 minutes for loaves.
For variety, I would make this brioche version again, especially since I found out it works in my bread maker as a half recipe! I think chopping up the nuts would be better so that you don't get a whole mouthful of crunch. The amount of cinnamon and sugar and butter rolled up in the bun was perfect (especially with the addition of some raisins). And the delicious, sticky mixture of honey, sugar, and butter poured in the bottom of the pan is definitely worth repeating. Maybe a little less honey next time would be slightly better. Now, what to do with 6 dozen cinnamon buns and a freezer full of stock!
Recipe for Next Week (June 2)
French Chocolate Brownies on pages 92-93 chosen by Di’s Kitchen Notebook.