Yield: 8 to 12 large or 12 to 16 smaller sticky buns
Prep Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 to 40 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
For the Dough:
6½ tablespoon granulated sugar
5½ tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon lemon extract
3½ cups bread flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup + 2 tablespoons whole milk
For the Cinnamon Sugar:
6½ tablespoons granulated sugar
1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the Caramel Glaze:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
1. Cream together the sugar, shortening, and salt on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Whip in the egg and lemon extract until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast, and milk. Mix on low speed until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes (or knead by hand for 12 to 15 minutes), or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. You may have to add a little flour or water while mixing to achieve this texture. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
2. Meanwhile, make the Caramel Glaze: In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and salt, and cream together for 2 minutes on high speed with the paddle attachment. Add the corn syrup and vanilla extract, and continue to cream for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
3. Mist the counter or a pastry mat with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the top of the dough with flour to keep it from sticking to the pin. Roll it into a rectangle 14 inches wide by 12 inches long for larger buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough (use it all!), and roll the dough up with the long side facing you, creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 even pieces for larger buns; or 12 to 16 pieces each for smaller buns.
4. Coat the bottom of 1 or more baking dishes or baking panes with sides at least 1½ inches high with a ¼-inch layer of the caramel glaze. (Note: I made 8 large sticky buns, used a 9x13-inch pan, and all of the caramel glaze.) Sprinkle on the pecans. Lay the pieces of dough on top of the caramel glaze, evenly spaced throughout the pan. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
5. Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, r until the pieces have grown into one anther and have nearly doubled in size. (Note: Instead of the second rise, you can place the shaped buns in the refrigerate for up to 2 days, pulling the pan(s) out of the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before baking to allow the dough to proof at room temperature.)
6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and adjust the oven rack to the lowest shelf.
7. Bake the sticky buns for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool the buns in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes, and then remove them by flipping them over onto another pan. Carefully scoop any run-off glaze back over the buns with a spatula. Wait at least 20 minutes before serving.
(Recipe adapted from The Bread Baker's Apprentice)