Every year growing up, a couple of days before Christmas our next door neighbor Helen Johnson would deliver us a tin of sticky buns. We saved them for Christmas morning, when my mother would heat them up and we would enjoy them alongside an eggs Florentine bake and fruit soup, a Scandinavian fruit compote that is served warm.
As I have gotten older and now have my own family, we are creating our own traditions. Sticky buns on Christmas morning is one to keep. They’re wonderful for so many reasons… gooey, crunchy, doughy and sweet. They are best served warm, while the caramel is still gooey. They are relatively forgiving as long as you don’t overcook them, and you can make them in so many ways. You can make them ahead, pop them in the refrigerator and do the final rise as the oven preheats in the morning. You can mix up the spices and nuts for new and different flavors.
My new favorite version is to make them with store bought pizza dough, with a honey sweetened goo.
Though Christmas has passed, New Year’s is just around the corner, and there are many weekends to come in which no one would complain about a warm pan of sticky buns.
And, when you find the time, you can make extra and bring them to your neighbors.
Pizza Dough Sticky Buns
adapted from Joanne Chang’s Honey Cashew Morning Buns
1 ball store bought pizza dough
flour, for dusting
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup honey cream
1/2 cup water
1/2 t salt
1.5 cups toasted and chopped pecans
6 T unsalted butter, very soft
3/4 T cinnamon
3/4 T cardamom
Allow dough to warm up a bit.
Make the honey goo. Melt butter in a saucepan. Whisk in honey, cream, water and salt. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Make filling. Mix cooled chopped pecans with soft butter and spices.
Dust surface with flour and spread pizza dough out into a 12 x 14 rectangle. If it springs back, allow to rest until easier to stretch.
Spread filling to cover surface of dough, leaving about a one inch space at one short end. Starting at other end, roll up into a cylinder.
Pour goo into an 8×8 pan or similar. Slice dough roll into 8-1.5 inch rolls. Place each roll on top of goo in pan. It may seem like a lot of goo but it simmers down as it cooks and keeps the buns nice and moist.
Now, you have a choice! To bake right away, preheat oven to 375 and allow to rest for one hour until dough rises and is puffy and pillowy. Place pan on top of rimmed cookie sheet to catch any overflowing honey goo. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown. If they are getting too dark on top cover with aluminum foil.
I covered mine in plastic wrap and froze until the day before Christmas. I let them thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours. In the morning remove from refrigerator and allow to warm up for an hour or two, and bake as directed above.
To serve, scoop rolls out individually and spoon honey goo over. Enjoy with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk!