Whole Grain Sticky Buns

These sweet and tender buns are no ordinary breakfast pastry. Their filling is lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, and their topping is a gooey, rich caramel with a touch of orange. Studded with pecans and packed with whole grains, this is a bun that's sure to please everyone.

50 mins
26 to 30 mins
4 hrs 20 mins
9 buns
Whole Grain Sticky Buns


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  1. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. 

  2. To make the dough: Combine all of the dough ingredients, stirring until everything comes together.

  3. Knead the dough until smooth, adding additional water if needed — the dough should be soft and supple.

  4. Cover the dough and allow it to rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until puffy, but not necessarily doubled in bulk.

  5. While the dough is rising, prepare the topping and filling.

  6. To make the topping: Set a saucepan that's at least 4" deep over medium heat and add the butter.

  7. Heat the butter until it's melted, then stir in the remaining topping ingredients, except the pecans. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.

  8. Turn the heat to low and continue to boil the topping until it's glossy and slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes longer.

  9. Pour the topping into a lightly greased 8" square pan and sprinkle the pecans evenly on top.

  10. To make the filling: Combine all the ingredients except the chopped pecans and stir until blended.

  11. Beat the filling on high speed of a stand or handheld electric mixture for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.

  12. To assemble the buns: Gently deflate the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Roll or pat it into a 9" x 12" rectangle.

  13. Spread the filling evenly onto the dough then sprinkle on the chopped pecans, leaving a bare 1" margin along one of the short edges.

  14. Starting with the filling-covered short edge, roll the dough into a log, pinching the edge to seal. Slice the log into nine equal pieces. For easiest slicing see "tips," below.

  15. Place the buns into the prepared pan, leaving about 1/4" to 1/2" in between them; they won't fill the pan completely.

  16. Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour; they should be noticeably puffy.

  17. Near the end of the rising time preheat the oven to 350°F.

  18. Bake the buns for 26 to 30 minutes, tenting them with foil towards the end if they appear to be browning too quickly. The finished buns will be a deep golden brown and the filling will be bubbling up around the edges of the pan.

  19. Remove the buns from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

  20. Loosen the buns from the edges of the pan then carefully (the caramel is VERY hot!) turn the buns out onto a serving plate, scraping any extra topping and nuts from the pan back onto the buns.

Tips from our Bakers

  • For pure cinnamon flavor, substitute an extra 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon for the nutmeg in the filling, and omit the orange in the topping.
  • Best way to slice the log of dough into buns? Use unflavored dental floss to tie a loop around the log, then pull it tight directly over the spot where you want to slice. The floss will cut through the dough easily, without squashing the log like a knife might.
  • Want to prepare these rolls the night before, then bake them in the morning? Cover the shaped rolls, and place them in the fridge without letting them rise. They'll rise overnight. Next morning, remove the rolls from the fridge, let them rest at room temperature while you preheat the oven, then uncover and bake as directed.