Grown-Up Sticky Buns

sticky buns

I decided to tackle a Pinterest recipe yesterday.  It had been sitting there on my Recipes board, looking amazing, yet going unmade and uneaten. (Also known as every pin on Pinterest)

The Butterscotch Spiral Coffee Cake was intriguing and beautiful and I loved how the original baker created one gigantic cinnamon roll effect.  I loved it so much that I didn’t do it that way.  I knew without a doubt, that mine would not look the same, I’d cut it wrong, placing it wrong, and get frustrated and end up drinking the whiskey instead of adding it to the caramel sauce.  So I decided I’d make a crowded pan of cinnamon rolls, call them sticky buns, and be happy!

I had a really great time making this recipe.  Matt is usually the one who bakes, but when I do, I really enjoy kneading the dough, working with it to form it into something pretty.  I love clearing off a huge space on our counter to roll out the dough.  Makes me think of my mom making biscuits.  There’s something so wonderful about baking that instantly connects you to bakers from centuries past, who had flour on their bellies from leaning against the counter too far, and a happy heart from their necessary taste-testing.

I used my antique coffee grinder


to grind the cardamom pods because we have a spice grinder, but it’s forever known as Cumin Grinder because once you grind cumin seeds, congratulations, you now have an exclusive cumin grinder.  If you grind anything else, it will have a faint whiff of cumin, or B.O.  (also known as cumin).  I don’t know why we eat a spice that smells like B.O.  I’ll chalk it up to things that taste delicious but smell horrible.  Like cheese.  Oh, cheese, you stinky wonder…

The caramel sauce called for a teaspoon of whiskey.  My first thought was, “that’s not enough – just one teaspoon?” but when I gave Matt a taste, wanting him to identify the mystery ingredient, it took him a half second to shout, “You put whiskey in the caramel?!” Yes, and not just any whiskey, but his Laphroaig 10 Year Smoke Bomb whiskey.  (Not its official name) And even though there was only one teaspoon, it was obvious!  I also added a generous sprinkling of kosher salt, because I feel strongly that when something calls for brown sugar, butter AND corn syrup, you’ve GOT to add a bit of salt.  Everything sweet needs balance and caramel is definitely one of those things!  I also forgot to add butterscotch chips, like she did, but they were still amazing.  The dough has so much flavor, that you almost don’t need the extra sweetness.  However, I think adding the chips would be a great addition.

My crowded cinnamon roll approach kinda worked and kinda didn’t.  When they baked they BURST up out of the pan in a sprawling fashion.  No fuss – I just smooshed them back down before inverting them on a plate.

butterscotch sticky buns

If you want to do the gigantic cinnamon roll swirl like the super cool blogger/baker lady did, go for it!  I know my weaknesses and copying a recipe word for word is one of them.  If you make it look different, you won’t be sad when it does.  (Make sense?)

These are AWESOME, by the way.  Like Monkey Bread for grown-ups.  Sweet, buttery, sticky and with a hint of smoke.  Pretty amazing.


Grown-Up Sticky Buns*

For the Dough
2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cup AP flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup (2-ounces) unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
2 extra large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Butterscotch Glaze
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (2-ounces) unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon Scotch whisky
1/2 tsp kosher salt
For the Cinnamon-Butter Filling
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons (1-ounce) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup butterscotch chips, chopped (I forgot this step)
For the Dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 2 cups of flour, sugar, yeast, salt, cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the milk and butter just until the butter melts.  Add the water and set aside until warm (120º F-130º F), about 1 minute.  Pour the milk mixture over the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after addition.  Add the vanilla. Add 1/2 cup more flour and continue to mix on low speed until smooth, about 30-45 seconds.  Add 2 tablespoons of additional flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, but slightly sticky.  Sprinkle the work surface with flour, and knead the dough gently until it is smooth and no longer sticky, adding an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour if needed.  Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about an hour.
For the Butterscotch Glaze
Meanwhile, lightly coat a 9 x 2-inch round cake pan with non-stick spray.  In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the sugar, butter, and corn syrup and heat until the butter is completely melted.  Sprinkle in the salt, stir to dissolve and taste test.  Does it taste like butterscotch?  Good!  Not yet?  Add more salt!  Remove from the heat and stir in the whiskey.  Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and tilt the pan to cover the bottom evenly; set aside.
For the Cinnamon-Butter Filling
In a small bowl, stir together the butter and cinnamon. Don’t forget to chop up the butterscotch chips that you went to the store, specifically to buy.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350º F. Gently de-gas the dough by pressing lightly.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle.  Using a pastry brush, spread the cinnamon-butter evenly over the dough.  Sprinkle the dough with the chopped chips. Roll the dough up, length-wise, and cut into 1″ rolls and place side by side. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the cake rise in a warm place until it is almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Bake the cake until the top is deep golden brown, about 35 minutes.  Check after 20 minutes to make sure the top is not browning too fast.  If so, cover the top loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil for the last 10-15 minutes to prevent over browning.  Transfer to a wire rack (remove the foil if used) and let cool for 10 minutes.
Gently tilt the pan and tap the side on a counter to release the sides of the cake.  Invert a serving platter on top of the cake, then invert the pan and the plate.  Leave the pan on the cake for 1 minute so the glaze transfers to the cake, then gently lift off the pan.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape out any glaze remaining in the pan and spread it over the warm surface of the coffee cake.  Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with a cup of coffee and a friend.  This is an adult dessert – enjoy being one and let the kids marvel at the mystery 🙂

*recipe adapted from The Galley Gourmet



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