These Pecan Sticky Buns have a homemade vanilla brioche dough and are filled with an easy cinnamon roll filling. The sticky buns are baked on a bed of vanilla caramel and toasted pecans for the perfect sticky twist on a cinnamon roll!
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Pecan Sticky Buns
Hi hi! Just popping in to share the recipe for these pecan sticky buns! I'm a tiny bit mad at myself that I haven't made these before now, but we finally got there.
If you haven't had sticky buns before (the US version is different to what we have in NZ), they are a cinnamon roll baked onto a bed of caramel and pecans, and then inverted when served, so you get a whole lot of gooey pecan caramel goodness on the tops of your cinnamon buns. The best thing ever.
I made a vanilla golden syrup caramel to go on the bottom of these pecan sticky buns, and it's just so, so good. They are seriously sticky and the slightly toasty flavour that comes from the toasted pecans and the golden syrup is incredible alongside the soft vanilla bean dough.
Components of Sticky Buns
Sticky buns are a super simple but very delicious twist on a cinnamon roll - they basically are a cinnamon roll, baked on a bed of caramel and pecans.
- Sticky Pecan Topping. This is the 'topping' as the buns get inverted to serve, but is what goes down into the pan first. I made mine with a golden syrup vanilla bean caramel and some toasted pecans.
- Brioche Dough. I used my go-to brioche dough here, loading it up with vanilla bean paste. It is rolled out thin and filled with cinnamon roll filling.
- Cinnamon Filling. I used a blend of cinnamon and cardamom here, but you are welcome to only use cinnamon if you like.
How to make Sticky Buns
- Make the brioche base. This is just my regular brioche dough - super easy and quick to make.
- Toast the Pecans. Toasting your nuts is a super easy step that makes a massive difference flavour wise. I prefer to toast mine in the oven just at 350°f / 180°c for 10-12 minutes. Toasting them in the oven means that they get more evenly toasted.
- Make the caramel base. This is a super easy caramel - stir together brown sugar, golden syrup and butter, boil together briefly, then transfer to the bottom of the pan and sprinkle over the pecans.
- Assemble the cinnamon rolls. The topping needs a tiny bit of time to cool, so while that is happening, pop together your cinnamon rolls. Cut them into even pieces and arrange on top of the caramel layer.
- Leave to rise. Leave the whole thing to rise until the cinnamon rolls are doubled in size and super puffy.
- Bake. Pop the sticky buns into the oven and bake until the buns are golden on top. If you are worried they are browning too fast before the caramel is done, you can tent the tops with some foil.
- Rest. Once the sticky buns come out of the oven, leave them to rest for 5-10 minutes just to let the caramel cool slightly.
- Invert. Flip the whole pan over onto a serving platter or a baking sheet, so they are now sitting caramel side up. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
Vanilla Bean Brioche with Heilala Vanilla
If you've been here for a while you will know that I have a long term obsession with all things vanilla bean paste - specifically, Heilala Vanilla's Vanilla Bean Paste. I popped it into all the components of these Pecan Sticky Buns - a vanilla bean infused brioche dough, flecks of vanilla bean in the caramel base, and a little bit in the cinnamon brown sugar filling. It's a holy grail product for me and the company is just so incredible - I am so proud to have worked with them for as long as I have, and their vanilla is hands down the best i've ever used.
Heilala makes all kinds of amazing products, but the one I always have on hand is their Double Fold Vanilla Bean Paste. It is called double fold as it is double the strength of their single fold, so double the concentration of the vanilla seeds, and the extract base is also double the strength. A jar of their double fold contains the equivalent of 300 vanilla beans, with half a teaspoon of it being equivalent to one vanilla bean. A jar lasts me close to a year with extremely heavy use. This is what is used in high end pastry kitchens which is another thing I love about Heilala - you can get the exact same product that pastry professionals choose to use in their restaurants.
A jar of vanilla bean paste a great baking investment but would also make an amazing gift if you've got someone in your life who loves baking but can be a little hard to buy for - a big jar of vanilla is the perfect present. Heilala has given me a discount code to use in their store - CLOUDY25 will get you 25% off their products. I'm hooked and I know you will be too.
For Black Friday, Heilala is running an incredible deal on their holiday pack which includes a jar of the double fold paste, a jar of their classic vanilla paste, some vanilla paste samples, and a super cute funfetti cupcake pan and pink tea towel. Pop on over here to check it out! They are also running an amazing Kitchenaid and Vanilla Giveaway which you can enter by signing up to their mailing list.
How to make brioche ahead of time
I prefer to do a cold rise on my brioche dough whenever I can. Even if it just a couple of hours in the fridge on the day that I want to use it makes a difference.
The advantage of working with a cold dough is that it is super easy to roll out, which makes getting a nice neat roll on your cinnamon rolls super easy.
Doing a cold rise also means that the buns can be made on your schedule - the cold temperature slows down the yeast, meaning that you aren't tied to a certain time to assemble your sticky buns.
FAQ for Pecan Sticky Buns
- What tools and equipment do you use?
You can see a full list of all the tools I use here
- Which pan did you use?
I baked my sticky buns in this 9x13" pan, but you can use anything you like with a similar size. Just make sure it has higher sides to hold in the gooey pecan mix.
- What can I use instead of Golden Syrup?
You can use honey if you can't find golden syrup. It's worth getting some if you can though - you can get it online if you can't find it in store. I use it in my caramel slice and ginger crunch recipe as well as my pecan pie so lots of ways to use it up 🙂
- Can this recipe be made by hand?
Yes - just double this recipe for the dough then proceed as written.
- Can the pecans be substituted?
Yes, you can use toasted chopped walnuts or other nuts if you like.
- How do I scale this recipe for a smaller batch?
Halve the recipe and make in a 8" square pan. Roll the dough to a 14" (35cm) square and cut into 9 rolls. Watch the rise time and bake time carefully!
For more Vanilla Recipes, check out:
Made this recipe and love it?
If you made this recipe then I would LOVE for you to leave me a review below to let me know how you liked it! Also, please make sure to tag me on Instagram if you make it!
A note on salt and oven temperature
It is important to note the type of salt that is called for in a recipe. I use Diamond Crystal salt throughout my recipes - if you use a different sort of kosher salt or regular table salt you will need to adjust accordingly as some salt is 'saltier' than others. Morton's salt is twice as salty, so you will need half the quantity. Same goes for a regular table salt. I am working to get gram measurements throughout my recipes for salt but still getting there.
All oven temperatures are conventional unless otherwise stated. If you are baking on fan / convection, you will need to adjust the temperature. An oven thermometer is a great investment to ensure that your oven is the correct temperature.
Using the double / triple function in the recipe card
You will notice that there is a '1X' '2X' '3X' button in my recipe card. This can be used for doubling or tripling a recipe. However, please note that this only doubles the ingredient quantities in the ingredients list and NOT in the method. If there are quantities or pan sizes in the method of the recipe (for example weigh out 150g brown butter), you will need to scale this number manually. It will also not change the baking time in the recipe so you will need to adjust this yourself too. It is always a good idea to read through a recipe fully before doubling it just to check this. If you would like to scale this recipe or convert for another pan size, use my calculator!
Tools and equipment
For a list of my go-to tools and equipment, I have a post you can refer to here.
Why is this recipe in grams?
I post my recipes in grams as it is the most accurate way to bake. Cups are not only inaccurate but they vary in volume worldwide. There is no way for me to provide one cup measure that works for everyone. However, posting in weight fixes this issue. If you would like the recipe in cups you are welcome to convert it yourself via google, but please do not ask me to do it for you as I am not comfortable providing a recipe using a method that I have not tested. Baking with a scale is easy, accurate, and also makes cleanup super simple. Here is the scale that I use if you would like a recommendation! Here's to accurate baking!
Recipe For Pecan Sticky BunsPrint
Pecan Sticky Buns have a homemade vanilla brioche dough and are filled with an easy cinnamon roll filling. The sticky buns are baked on a bed of vanilla caramel and toasted pecans for the perfect sticky twist on a cinnamon roll!
- 10g instant yeast
- 250g whole milk, lukewarm
- 50g sugar
- 565g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste (use ½ tsp if using double fold)
- 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 200g pecan halves
- 190g golden syrup
- 65g unsalted butter (cold from the fridge is fine)
- 125g brown sugar
- ½ tsp Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste
- pinch of salt
Cinnamon Roll Filling
- 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 225g brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste
- pinch of salt
- Place all ingredients except for the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.
- Mix on medium speed for 8-10 minutes until the dough has come together and is smooth and soft.
- Add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is incorporated until adding the next piece. Mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and soft.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface and shape into a ball. Transfer to a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Place into the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to overnight for the dough to double in size. Alternatively you can do the first rise at room temperature - place in a warm spot until doubled in size.
- Note: start this process when you are ready to assemble the sticky buns.
- Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Spread the pecan halves out on a baking sheet, and toast for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown (you can snap one open to check they are toasted throughout). Leave to cool, then coarsely chop.
- In a medium pot, combine the golden syrup, butter, and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until the butter and sugar are melted, then bring to a boil and cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla bean paste and the salt, then pour the caramel into a 9"x13" (20cm x 30cm) high sided baking pan. Scatter the chopped pecans over the surface.
- Combine all ingredients for cinnamon filling in a medium bowl and mix until well combined.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a rectangle that is 24” x 16” (60cm x 40cm), squaring off the edges often as you roll. Spread with the brown butter filling mixture, ensuring the filling is spread evenly over the surface.
- Starting with a long side, roll up into a tight spiral. Cut the log into two pieces and place them side by side on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Lightly cover the dough logs with plastic wrap, and transfer to the freezer for 20 minutes in order to firm up slightly (this helps give a neater cut). If you have chilled your dough overnight, you can skip this step if it feels like the rolls are going to hold together well.
- Once the dough logs have chilled, remove from the fridge. Using a sharp knife, slice each log into 6 equal pieces for a total of 12 buns, (I like to use a ruler), and arrange on the top of the caramel pecan fillin gin the baking dish, evenly spacing between.
- Lightly cover the pan with plastic wrap, and leave to rise for 45 minutes to an hour, or until puffy, and a small indentation is left when poked gently with your finger.
- While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c.
- Bake the rolls for 35 to 40 minutes, or until deeply golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 5-10 minutes, then run a knife or offset spatula around the edge and invert onto a serving tray.
- Serve slightly warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature and rewarm as needed.
Keywords: Sticky buns, pecans, caramel, golden syrup