This recipe is courtesy of James Beard Award Finalist Cheryl Day from her New York Times Best Seller Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking. She reminds us that yeasted dough requires some time and attention, so if you’re looking for a project with a truly sweet result, look no further.
You can either bake the buns the day you make them or refrigerate them overnight and bake them the next morning. Day doesn’t make us choose between a caramel glaze or a cream cheese frosting but instead includes both for a truly decadent breakfast. She suggests decorating them with edible flowers to play up the floral notes of the honey.
These buns can be stored in an airtight container for up to a day but are best fresh, so share them with someone you love. It’s the perfect bake for our Porcelain Bakeware.
Note: you will need a stand mixer and a candy thermometer for this recipe.
Cheryl Day’s gorgeous take on sticky buns are a worthy labor of love if you’re up to the challenge.
For the dough, combine both flours, sugar, yeast, salt, and cardamom in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed for 2 minutes, or until thoroughly blended.
Add the egg, water, buttermilk, vanilla, and butter and beat until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and is only slightly sticky. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 7 minutes, or until the dough is silky and supple.
Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn the dough gently to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, make the caramel topping. In a Stainless Clad Butter Warmer, stir together the butter, brown sugar, honey, water, and vanilla and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.
Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, bring the mixture to a boil, and cook until it registers 220F on the thermometer.
Pour the caramel into a 9 x 13 inch Baking Dish, spreading it evenly with a heatproof spatula. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
For the filling, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a Small Bowl and set aside. Wash out your Butter Warmer and melt the butter for the filling in it over low heat. Remove from the heat when fully melted and set aside.
To assemble the buns, remove the risen dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and, using a Rolling Pin, gently roll the dough into an 18 x 9 inch rectangle, about ¾ inches thick. Don’t overwork the dough, or it will become tough.
Using a pastry brush, brush the dough evenly from edge to edge with the melted butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the dough and press it lightly into the melted butter.
Beginning with a long side, roll the dough up like a jelly roll, keeping the roll as tight and uniform as possible. Pinch the seam to seal the dough and turn the dough seam side down.
Using a bench cutter or a sharp knife, trim off the ragged ends of the roll (about ½ inch) and discard. Cut the roll into 12 equal pieces and arrange the buns in the caramel-coated baking dish in four rows of 3 buns each.
Cover the Baking Dish loosely with plastic wrap and allow the buns to rise in a warm, draft-free place until they have doubled in size and are touching one another, about an hour. If you are planning to bake the buns the next day, you can cover the rolls with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight before baking.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Place a foil-lined Sheet Pan onto the lower oven rack to catch any drips.
Remove the plastic wrap and bake the buns for 20-25 minutes, rotating the baking dish halfway through for even baking, until they are a deep golden brown and the caramel is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and let the buns cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Caution: Do not serve the buns straight out of the oven—the caramel will be dangerously hot! Invert the buns onto a large Serving Platter. Let cool for 15 minutes.
While the buns are cooling, prepare the icing. In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), combine the cream cheese and butter and beat on medium-low speed until smooth, 2-3 minutes.
With the mixer on low, add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt, mixing until combined. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the icing is super light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
Smear the icing over the tops of the buns and serve warm.
Excerpted from Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking by Cheryl Day (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021. Photographs by Angie Mosier.