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Pecan Sticky Buns

Do you have breakfast plans this weekend? Or are you looking for something sweet to add to your Easter brunch next weekend? If so, you’re in luck, because I have the recipe for the best-ever sticky buns.

These are one of my favorite breakfast treats. My mom made them on occasion when I was a kid, and I was always excited when they made an appearance on the breakfast menu.  I’ve tried a number of other sticky buns since then, and I have yet to find any that are as good as these. They are full of caramel and pecans, with a hint of cinnamon. And they are perfectly gooey and sticky.

Sticky buns may seem intimidating, but they are really pretty simple to make. If you can make a cinnamon roll, you can definitely make these. It starts with a rich yeast dough which is filled with chopped pecans, butter, brown sugar, and a little cinnamon. The topping is just brown sugar, butter, corn syrup, a little more cinnamon, and a ton of pecans.

As always, you can leave the pecans out of both the topping and the filling, or substitute another nut of your choice. Most of the sticky bun recipes I see do not include cinnamon, especially in the topping. I really like it in there, but you can definitely leave it out as well. And you could put whatever you like in the filling – add a handful of raisins or other dried fruit if you’re so inclined, or even some mini chocolate chips if you want to really take it over the top.

 

These are so good, and you probably have everything you need already in your pantry. Make these this weekend or for Easter brunch (or both!). I promise you will love them!

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Pecan Sticky Buns
Servings
Ingredients
Rolls
Topping
Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Rolls
Topping
Filling
Instructions
Dough
  1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
  2. Scald the milk (bring it just to a simmer) and add the butter. Let cool to warm room temperature while the butter softens and partially melts.
  3. Transfer milk mixture and yeast to stand mixer. Add sugar and eggs and mix well with the paddle attachment. (You can also do this by hand with a large spoon).
  4. Add salt and 4 cups flour and mix well with the dough hook attachment (or a spoon).
  5. Continue to knead dough, adding up to 1/2 cup additional flour, until dough is only slightly sticky, about 5 minutes with the mixer.
  6. Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Topping
  1. Combine all ingredients except pecans in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Boil for 1 minute.
  3. Pour into a greased 9"x13" baking pan and sprinkle with pecan halves. Set aside.
Filling and Assembly
  1. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans in a small bowl.
  2. Roll dough, once doubled, into a 12"x 22" rectangle.
  3. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with filling.
  4. Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting on the short end. (You should end up with a roll 12" long.)
  5. Cut into 1" slices and place, cut side up, onto topping in prepared pan.
  6. Cover and let rise again until doubled. See note to prepare the night before and bake in the morning.
  7. Bake at 350-degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes (no longer!) for the topping to harden slightly.
  9. Invert onto serving platter, scraping any pecans and topping left in the pan onto the top of the rolls.
  10. Enjoy warm! Rolls will keep up to 3 days covered at room temperature, but do yourself a favor and microwave them for a few seconds to rewarm before eating. 🙂
Recipe Notes

Note: To make these the night before, follow instructions until the second rise (in the pan). When rolls are not quite doubled in size, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The next morning, remove from refrigerator and preheat oven. Once oven is preheated, bake rolls for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

  • Substitute pecans for your favorite nut, or leave out completely.
  • Leave out cinnamon in the topping and/or filling if you prefer. If leaving the cinnamon out of the topping, consider adding a pinch to 1/4 teaspoon of salt for that salted caramel flavor.
  • Add fillings of your choice - raisins, dried fruit, mini chocolate chips, etc.
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Lemon Puff Balls

Today I’m bringing you a recipe that is a twist on a childhood favorite of mine – chocolate puff balls. I’ll share that recipe with you soon, but since I just posted a chocolate recipe , I decided to mix things up a bit.

Are you still dealing with winter where you are? Spring seems to have sprung here, much to my dismay. I definitely miss the cold, snowy winters of Cleveland. The spring weather here is finally convincing me to bake things a little less heavy and rich. I have tossed around the idea of lemon puff balls for some time, and this weekend I finally tackled them.

So what is a puffball? It’s nothing mysterious, really. Just a steamed cake, usually served with a warm sauce instead of frosting. The original recipe is a chocolate cake with a vanilla butter sauce. This time, I’ve made a lemon cake with a lemon sauce. I added a drizzle of raspberry sauce as well, but that’s completely optional.

You really could do this with any variety of citrus. And feel free to use a sauce of your choice, or just a dusting a powdered sugar and a dollop of whipped cream. Chocolate sauce would be great on an orange cake. Or you could just use extra milk in place of the lemon juice (and remove the baking soda) for a vanilla cake and top with citrus sauce or hot fudge.

This is a great recipe for beginner bakers. It is a simple, one-bowl cake recipe that doesn’t require an electric mixer.  However, you do need some ramekins or Pyrex bowls and a steamer. I use four 10-oz Pyrex bowls, but you can use up to six bowls or ramekins, as small as a 5-oz size. Just make sure they are heat-safe. I have large pasta pot with a steamer insert that I use, but you can use any steamer you have, or make your own with a large soup or stock pot.

The cake is fairly light, in both flavor and texture. Which is why I highly recommend adding the sauce to it. The sauce soaks up into the cake to make it extra moist and flavorful. If you’ve never had a puff ball cake before, you definitely need to give these a try. 

 

Print Recipe
Lemon Puff Balls
Servings
Ingredients
Puff Balls
Lemon Sauce
Servings
Ingredients
Puff Balls
Lemon Sauce
Instructions
Puff Balls
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and wisk until combined.
  2. Pour into 4 to 6 greased ramekins or Pyrex bowls (5 to 10 oz each).
  3. Steam cakes in a steamer for 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Lemon Sauce
  1. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickened and clear.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir until butter is melted.
  3. Serve warm over puff balls.
Recipe Notes

A drizzle of raspberry sauce adds a nice pop to the lemon cake.

Use any citrus you'd like for both the cake and the sauce. Or omit the citrus sauce and top with warm hot fudge sauce on an orange puff ball.

You can also top with whipped cream or ice cream.

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Cherry Chocolate Chip Sweet Rolls

Hi everyone! I have something really exciting to share with you today! Oh – and I made you Cherry Chocolate Chip Sweet Rolls. 🙂

So I’ve been back down in Oklahoma, but this time I’ve been in Ponca City, which just happens to be the next town over from Pawhuska. Now, if you read many food blogs, or watch Food Network, you may recognize that name. That’s because it’s where Pioneer Woman lives, and where her Mercantile is located. Well, I was fortunate enough to get to go visit the Mercantile and eat dinner there! The store is really amazing, and the food was fantastic. I bought a cookbook and a few bowls, and then spent too much money at the bakery. 🙂 And dinner was worth the wait (the line was out the door when we first got there!). I had the grilled cheese, and others I went with tried the ribeye reuben, the chicken fried steak, and the fried chicken sandwich. They are all highly recommended by us!

That was exciting enough, but what made the day even better was that the lodge, the guesthouse on their ranch where Ree films her Food Network show, was open for tours that day, and I managed to get there just before they closed! It was really cool to visit both her “studio” and the Mercantile. The Pioneer Woman is one of the most successful and well-known food blogs, so for a new blogger it was a real treat. I definitely recommend stopping at the Mercantile if you ever find yourself anywhere near Pawhuska!

Anyway, let’s get back to these sweet rolls. They are somewhat inspired by Pioneer Woman, since I tried her cinnamon rolls at the bakery (too die for!!), and in the cookbook I bought she has a recipe for Raspberry Cream Cheese Sweet Rolls.  I was really craving some kind of sweet roll, and with Valentine’s day coming up, chocolate and cherry seemed to be an appropriate combination. 🙂

These start with a cherry curd, which is really simple to make. You just need frozen cherries, sugar, butter, egg yolks, and corn starch. The recipe makes about 2 cups, and you only need 1/2 cup for this recipe, so there is plenty left over. Spread it on toast, biscuits, pancakes, ice cream, pork chops….well, pretty much anything! You can also substitute any frozen berries in this recipe, and it would be just as delicious.

The filling is just the curd and chocolate chips, but there is so much room for adjustments! Prefer lemon curd? Go for it. Or want them even faster? Use a store-bought jam. Leave out the chocolate chips, or change up the flavor (white chocolate with the lemon curd would be perfect). Add nuts with the chips or in place of them. The possibilities are endless!

This recipe is scaled to make 6 rolls, but can easily be doubled to make a dozen in a 9×13-inch pan.

Oh, and did I mention these come together in about an hour, if you already have the curd made? That’s right – you are only an hour away from warm, chocolatey, sweet-tart cherry sweet rolls!


Print Recipe
Cherry Chocolate Chip Sweet Rolls
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
rolls
Ingredients
Course Breakfast
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
rolls
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine 1 cup flour and the yeast in a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Combine milk, water, sugar, oil, and salt in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each, until mixture is slightly warm, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the milk mixture to the flour and yeast along with the egg yolk. Beat with an electric mixer, or by hand, for 30 seconds or until combined. Scrape bowl, and beat at medium speed for 3 minutes.
  4. Either by hand or with a dough hook, add in the second cup of flour and mix until a soft dough forms. Knead, by hand or with the dough hook, for 3 to 5 minutes, adding up to an additional 1/4 cup of flour, until dough is smooth and elastic. It will be a very soft dough, and should be very slightly sticky. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 7x12-inch rectangle. Spread cherry curd over dough, then sprinkle with chocolate chips. Beginning from the short (7-inch) side, roll up jelly-roll style. (If doubling, roll a 14x12-inch rectangle and roll from the long side.)
  6. Slice into 6 rolls and place, cut side up, into a greased 8-inch square pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 20 minutes.
  7. Bake in a 375-degree F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly before topping with the powdered sugar glaze and serving. Store, covered, at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.
Recipe Notes

Cherry curd recipe here.

Powdered sugar glaze recipe here.

Recipe can be doubled to make 12 rolls in a 9x13-inch pan.

Substitute any curd or jam.

Substitute any flavor chocolate chips.

Add 1/4 cup chopped nuts instead of or in addition to the chocolate chips.

Flavor the powdered sugar glaze with extracts.

 

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