World's Best Sticky Buns
Total Time: -5
Yield: 12 buns
Everybody loves sticky buns. These beauties, bolstered by rolled oats and energized by a couple of shots of maple syrup, are hard to beat. While they're beloved for breakfast, there's no reason you can't serve them warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of whipped cream, for dessert.
For the dough:
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1-1/4 cups whole milk, heated
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces, plus more for bowl
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
- 4-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for work surface
Pour the water into a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Set aside.
Combine the oats and sugar in a very large bowl. Pour in the heated milk, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Whisk eggs and egg yolks together in a small bowl, then add them to the oat/sugar mixture. Add 1/4 cup butter, along with the lemon zest, vanilla, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup, and the salt. Gently stir in the dissolved yeast. Add 3-1/2 cups of the flour; beat vigorously 100 strokes. Set aside for 10 minutes.
After the dough has rested, gradually add the remaining 1 cup of the flour until a soft, kneadable dough is formed. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured wooden board and knead it for 5 to 6 minutes. Use just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking.
Place the dough in a lightly buttered bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draft-free spot until it has doubled in bulk. This will take at least 90 minutes and up to 2 hours.
For the syrup and filling:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed, plus an additional 1/4 cup, also packed
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted and cooled
Next, make the syrup: Brush 1/2 cup melted butter over the sides and the bottoms of two 10-inch round cake pans or ovenproof skillets. Sprinkle each of the pans with 1/2 cup of the brown sugar. Set aside.
Pour the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, maple syrup, and walnuts into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times.
Dust your work area with flour and turn dough out onto it. Don't punch it down. Roll the dough into a rectangle 12 by 18 inches, keeping the long side facing you. Push it down lightly. Brush with the remaining 3 tablespoons melted butter and spread half the brown sugar/walnut mixture over the dough; set aside the remaining brown sugar/walnut mixture. Starting with the long side facing you, roll the dough up snugly.
Using a long, sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 slices and lay them in the prepared pans or skillets, spiral side up. You'll fit 6 in each pan, with 1 in the center and 5 in a circle all around. Gently pat down the spirals. Cover the pans or skillets with plastic and set aside in a warm area until the buns have almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Bake for 25 minutes. Top each bun evenly with the remaining brown sugar/walnut mixture, then return to the oven and bake for 5 to 6 additional minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and turn out the buns onto a baking sheet to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.