A Sticky Situation

Today is National Sticky Bun Day. Aren’t all buns sticky, you ask — why a special day?

Sticky buns are a dessert or yeast pastry that contains a filling of brown sugar or cinnamon. But before the dough is placed in a pan, the pan is filled with the “sticky” ingredients like maple syrup or honey or sugar and sometimes butter. After the buns are baked, they are turned over so that the glaze on the bottom of the pan then becomes a topping.

Sticky buns are best enjoyed the day they are baked. The glaze will harden as they cool and the dough may dry a bit. Because they should be eaten immediately, you’ll find most recipes to be fairly small and quick to prepare.

If you’d like to make these in advance, make the dough, shape the buns, and place them in the pan (with the glaze) and put in the refrigerator up to 12 hours before you want to serve them. About 2 hours before you want to serve them remove the buns from the fridge and let them rest at room temperature for 1 hour. Bake them in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until they’re golden brown and the filling is bubbly.

When baking sticky buns be sure to turn the buns out of the pan immediately. If you wait, the sticky topping will harden and remain in the pan.

Classic Sticky Buns

For the dough:

  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup hot tap water
  • 6 tablespoons margarine or butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted or 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, optional

For the cinnamon filling:

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Make the dough

  1. Combine the yeast with the flour and sugar. Add butter or oil, water, egg and salt. Mix and knead everything together for 6-7 minutes in the mixer set at the lowest speed.
  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise, at room temperature, for 45 minutes or until it’s at least doubled in size.
  3. While the dough is rising, lightly grease a 9”x13” rectangular cake pan.

Make the Glaze

  1. Whisk together the syrup, vanilla and melted butter or oil.
  2. Pour the glaze into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar and pecans on top of the glaze.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and roll it into a 18”x12” rectangle. It’s should be a nice, soft dough. If it is too sticky, lightly sprinkle it with flour.

Prepare the Filling

  1. Whisk together the sugar and cinnamon. Spread the melted butter or oil over the rolled out dough. Sprinkle filling evenly over the dough, leaving an uncovered strip about 1” wide along one long end of the rectangle.

Starting with the sugar-covered edge, roll the dough into a log the long way.

Using a knife or a dough cutter, slice the log into 20 slices. In order to avoid dragging the filling out, it helps to rinse the blade in hot water, and wipe it off, between slices.

Place the buns in the prepared pan, laying them out 4 across and 5 down, evenly spaced. Don’t worry if they don’t fill the pan — they still have to grow.

Cover the pan, and let the buns rise till they spread out and touch one another, 15-20 minutes.

While the buns are rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the sticky buns for 15 minutes. Cover them lightly with aluminum foil, and bake till they’re a light golden brown, about 15 more minutes.

Remove the buns from the oven, and loosen their edges with a knife. Carefully — the sugar is hot! — turn them out onto a rack or parchment-covered sheet pan to cool, scraping any glaze that may have stuck to the pan onto the warm buns.

Serve warm, or at room temperature. Wrap airtight and store at room temperature.

Many ingredients are prone to infestation. Please consult a local Rav for specific guidelines on how to avoid transgressions related to insects.

Readers may submit questions to the Culinary Connoisseur, c/o Hamodia, 207 Foster Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11230 or via e-mail to peppermill@hamodia.com. This weekly column has been brought to you by The Peppermill, the world’s first kosher kitchenware store, located at 5015 16th Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y. (718) 871-4022. You can also read a selection of previous columns in their comprehensive cookbook, The Culinary Connoisseur, available now at your local Judaica and kitchenware stores. Jam-packed with delicious recipes, insightful food information and helpful cooking tips, this book is certain to become your constant companion in the kitchen.