Sticky buns

Sticky buns

By
From
The Desserts of New York
Makes
18
Photographer
Alicia Taylor

In my opinion, sticky buns are up there with almond croissants and kouign amann as The Universe’s Best Pastries. And it turns out the superlative versions are found in NYC, where they come in equal parts comfort food and elegant restraint.

At hip East Williamsburg pizzeria Roberta’s, their cult bun is finished with sea salt flakes to temper the sticky buttery glaze, while at Sadelle’s, the slick Jewish deli/ restaurant/bakery, the brown sugar topping permeates the bun and forms a crisp, candy-like shell.

These sticky buns are just as smart: flaky like a croissant, soft like brioche and with the perfect hit of brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. They’re at their best still warm from the oven (or within a few hours), when I could almost eat the whole lot.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
90ml milk, lukewarm
2 teaspoons dried yeast
3 eggs
350g plain flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
160g unsalted butter, cut into 2 cm pieces, softened
sea salt flakes, to sprinkle

Cinnamon sugar filling

Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons caster sugar

Brown sugar glaze

Quantity Ingredient
250g unsalted butter, chopped, softened
220g light brown sugar

Method

  1. Combine the milk and yeast in a bowl and set aside for 5 minutes or until frothy, then whisk in the eggs. Using an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, knead the flour, sugar, salt and yeast mixture until combined, then knead for a further 5 minutes. Add the butter, one piece at a time, mixing until incorporated before adding the next, then knead for a further 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic (the dough will be very sticky). Shape into a ball and transfer to a large oiled bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, then set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  2. Meanwhile, to make the cinnamon sugar, combine the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.
  3. To make the brown sugar glaze, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar for 1 minute or until light and creamy.
  4. Grease two 20 cm square cake tins and line with foil, allowing plenty of overhang, then grease the foil. Spread the glaze mixture over the base of the tins and refrigerate until needed.
  5. Knock back the dough, then divide in half. Working with one portion at a time, roll out on a lightly floured work surface to a 35 cm × 30 cm rectangle, with the longest edge parallel to the work surface. Using a pastry brush, brush the dough with water to moisten it slightly, then scatter over half the cinnamon sugar. Roll up the dough as tightly as you can, then press on the work surface to seal. Using a serrated knife, trim the ends, then cut the log into nine 3.5 cm thick pieces. Transfer to one of the prepared tins, cut side up, separating the pieces so they are evenly spaced (they will expand). Repeat with the remaining dough and cinnamon sugar and place in the remaining tin, then loosely cover the tins with oiled plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 1½ hours or until risen (there will still be space between the buns).
  6. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  7. Loosely cover the tins with a sheet of foil to prevent overbrowning and bake, swapping the tins halfway through, for 40–45 minutes or until the buns are light golden on top. Remove from the oven and immediately invert onto a serving plate before the caramel hardens to reveal the sticky brown sugar glaze (take care as it’s hot). Cool for 15 minutes, then sprinkle with sea salt flakes and serve warm or at room temperature.
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Desserts
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