Daring Bakers: Cinnamon sticky buns

Sticky buns with pecans.

This is my third month as a member of the amazing Daring Bakers. The Daring bakers consist of proud women and men that love to bake and are not afraid of baking challenges. The idea of the Daring Bakers is that every month one baking recipe is presented that all members have to follow exactly without any modifications except where specifically allowed. During the month we share our experiences and learn to be better bakers. The recipe, our photos and experiences are then officially posted on a specified day, this time on the 30th of September. This month’s challenge was Cinnamon buns and sticky buns. The recipe was picked by Marce at Pip in the City.

Marce let us choose between baking cinnamon buns or sticky buns, or both. I chose to bake sticky buns as that’s something we don’t have in Sweden contrary to cinnamon buns that are pretty much the first thing children learn to bake here. Cinnamon buns are very popular in Sweden and we even have a cinnamon bun day (4th of October), but we don’t have any fondant glaze on top, just nib sugar. And another thing that differs (at least compared with the Daring Baker’s challenge) is that we use butter in the cinnamon and sugar filling. Anyway, it was fun to try a new cinnamon bun recipe as I’ve been using the same one as long as I can remember.

My changes – within the DB rules:
-I used fresh yeast (20 gram) instead of instant yest.
-For the filling I used cinnamon sugar but I also added an additional teaspoon of cinnamon and one teaspoon of cardamon.
-I used chopped pecan nuts on top of the caramel glaze.
-I made the smaller variants, so I had to use two baking pans.
-I substituted the corn syrup for the caramel glaze with a Swedish syrup (ljus sirap) instead.
-I only baked my buns for 25 minutes instead of 30-40 minutes as the recipe says.

-The dough was very easy to make, but I didn’t like the amount of time these buns needed to rise; first 2 hours and then 90 minutes. That is just too long when you have an instant craving for cinnamon buns.

-I missed the cardamon that I normally always add to my cinnamon bun dough. But the lemon zest was refreshing and added a nice touch.

-I really liked the buns, they were delicious, probably because of the caramel glaze and pecans. They are soft and the fantastic caramel glaze goes so well with the buns. I will definintly bake them more times. I’m very glad that I did the sticky bun variant though and not the ones with the fondant glaze as I frankly wouldn’t call them cinnamon buns as I know them; without the caramel glaze they would have been too dry and there wasn’t enough cinnamon in them. I guess that I’m just old fashioned and prefer my classic cinnamon buns in the Swedish way :-) But the sticky buns were great.

Here you’ll find links to all Daring Bakers if you want to see their cinnamon and sticky buns.

Before fermentation.

After fermentation.

After baking. Beware of that what you see here are the bottoms,
you flip the sticky buns over to the other side when serving.

Sticky buns cut loose and then flipped over to the “right” side.
Ready to be served!

    Cinnamon buns and sticky buns
    (from Peter Reinhart´s The Break Baker´s Apprentice)


    15 minutes mixing; 3 1/2 hours fermentation, shaping and proofing; 20 to 40 minutes baking.

    Yield: Makes 8 to 12 large or 12 to 16 smaller cinnamon or sticky buns


    6 1/2 tablespoons (3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon salt
    5 1/2 tablespoons (2.75 ounces) shortening or unsalted butter or margarine
    1 large egg, slightly beaten
    1 teaspoon lemon extract OR 1 teaspoon grated zest of 1 lemon
    3 1/2 cups (16 ounces) unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons instant yeast*
    1 1/8 to 1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature OR 3 tablespoons powdered milk (DMS) and 1 cup water
    1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, or any other spices you want to use, cardamom, ginger, allspice, etc.)
    White fondant glaze for cinnamon buns or caramel glaze for sticky buns (at the end of the recipe.)
    Walnuts, pecans, or other nuts (for sticky buns.)
    Raisins or other dried fruit, such as dried cranberries or dried cherries (for sticky buns, optional.)

    *Instant yeast contains about 25% more living cells per spoonful than active dry yeast, regardless of the brand. Instant yeast is also called rapid-rise or fast-rising.

    1. Cream together the sugar, salt, and shortening or butter on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a large metal spoon and mixing bowl and do it by hand); if you are using powdered milk, cream the milk with the sugar, and add the water with the flour and yeast. Whip in the egg and lemon extract/zest until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast, and milk. Mix on low speed (or stir by hand) 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.

    2. Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

    3. Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Proceed as shown in the photo on the left for shaping the buns.

    (Transcription: (A) Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the top with flour to keep it from sticking to the pin. Roll it into a rectangle about 2/3 inch thick and 14 inches wide by 12 inches long for larger buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns. Don´t roll out the dough too thin, or the finished buns will be tough and chewy rather than soft and plump. (B)Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and (C) roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 pieces each about 1 3/4 inches thick for larger buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 1 1/4 inch thick for smaller buns.)

    4. For cinnamon buns, line 1 or more sheet pans with baking parchment. Place the buns approximately 1/2 inch apart so that they aren´t touching but are close to one another.

    For sticky buns, coat the bottom of 1 or more baking dishes or baking pans with sides at least 1 1/2 inches high with a 1/4 inch layer of the caramel glaze. Sprinkle on the nuts and raisins (if you are using raisins or dried fruit.) You do not need a lot of nuts and raisins, only a sprinkling. Lay the pieces of dough on top of the caramel glaze, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag.

    5. Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size. You may also retard the shaped buns in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, pulling the pans out of the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before baking to allow the dough to proof.

    6. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with the oven rack in the middle shelf for cinnamon buns but on the lowest shelf for sticky buns.

    7. Bake the cinnamon buns for 20 to 30 minutes or the sticky buns 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. If you are baking sticky buns, remember that they are really upside down (regular cinnamon buns are baked right side up), so the heat has to penetrate through the pan and into the glaze to caramelize it. The tops will become the bottoms, so they may appear dark and done, but the real key is whether the underside is fully baked. It takes practice to know just when to pull the buns out of the oven.

    8. For cinnamon buns, cool the buns in the pan for about 10 minutes and then streak white fondant glaze across the tops, while the buns are warm but not too hot. Remove the buns from the pans and place them on a cooling rack. Wait for at least 20 minutes before serving. For the sticky buns, cool the buns in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes and then remove them by flipping them over into another pan. Carefully scoop any run-off glaze back over the buns with a spatula. Wait at least 20 minutes before serving.

    White fondant glaze for cinnamon buns

    Cinnamon buns are usually topped with a thick white glaze called fondant. There are many ways to make fondant glaze, but here is a delicious and simple version, enlivened by the addition of citrus flavor, either lemon or orange. You can also substitute vanilla extract or rum extract, or simply make the glaze without any flavorings.

    Sift 4 cups of powdered sugar into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon or orange extract and 6 tablespoons to 1/2 cup of warm milk, briskly whisking until all the sugar is dissolved. Add the milk slowly and only as much as is needed to make a thick, smooth paste.

    When the buns have cooled but are still warm, streak the glaze over them by dipping the tines of a fork or a whisk into the glaze and waving the fork or whisk over the tops. Or, form the streaks by dipping your fingers in the glaze and letting it drip off as you wave them over the tops of the buns. (Remember to wear latex gloves.)

    Caramel glaze for sticky buns

    Caramel glaze is essentially some combination of sugar and fat, cooked until it caramelizes. The trick is catching it just when the sugar melts and lightly caramelizes to a golden amber. Then it will cool to a soft, creamy caramel. If you wait too long and the glaze turns dark brown, it will cool to a hard, crack-your-teeth consistency. Most sticky bun glazes contain other ingredients to influence flavor and texture, such as corn syrup to keep the sugar from crystallizing and flavor extracts or oils, such as vanilla or lemon. This version makes the best sticky bun glaze of any I´ve tried. It was developed by my wife, Susan, for Brother Juniper´s Cafe in Forestville, California.
    NOTE: you can substitute the corn syrup for any neutral flavor syrup, like cane syrup or gold syrup.

    1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature.

    2. Cream together for 2 minutes on high speed with the paddle attachment. Add 1/2 cup corn syrup and 1 teaspoon lemon, orange or vanilla extract. Continue to cream for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

    3. Use as much of this as you need to cover the bottom of the pan with a 1/4-inch layer. Refrigerate and save any excess for future use; it will keep for months in a sealed container.

60 Responses to “Daring Bakers: Cinnamon sticky buns”

  1. Marce
    September 30th, 2007 00:29

    Beautiful work, Dagmar! I´m glad you enjoyed the challenge. And I agree with you that an extra amount of spices makes this work better.

  2. Dolores
    September 30th, 2007 01:33

    Beautiful buns Dagmar. Interesting that you chose the sticky buns. I chose the cinnamon for the exact same reason: I grew up with my grandmother’s sticky buns, one of the first yeast recipes I tried on my own.

  3. Anh
    September 30th, 2007 01:37

    I am glad you made sticky buns for this month since I haven’t tried them out yet… Yours look delicious!

  4. cedar
    September 30th, 2007 02:18

    Wow, I sometime forget just how wonderful cinnamon rolls are. Those are truly mouth watering to look at!

  5. Jennifer
    September 30th, 2007 02:56

    Oh. My. Goodness!!! Those look utterly delicious. I admit that I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to yeast recipes. I’ll just enjoy these vicariously.

  6. steph (whisk/spoon)
    September 30th, 2007 04:44

    The regular cinnamon buns were a little dry, so good call on making the sticky buns instead. They look great!

  7. Laurie
    September 30th, 2007 05:14

    They look fantastic. I wish I had the stickies around now. Its been a few weeks since they were finished off in my house. Great job!

  8. S. from The Student Stomach
    September 30th, 2007 06:51

    Asjklf! Cardamom in Sticky Buns. BRILLIANT.

  9. Tartelette
    September 30th, 2007 07:10

    Great job! Makes me want to make another batch!

  10. ilva
    September 30th, 2007 08:05

    Maybe I should make some sticky buns after all, yours look so good!

  11. KJ
    September 30th, 2007 08:59

    Good call on making the sticky buns. I found the cinnamon buns a bit dry. Yours look fantastic.

  12. Pille
    September 30th, 2007 09:02

    Dagmar – these are some beautiful-looking sticky buns! I’m only about to start making mine (ooops!), but will be doing sticky buns, too. I’m happy to read that ljus sirop worked, as I’m planning to use Dansukker light syrup for the sticky glaze..

  13. Anne
    September 30th, 2007 10:01

    Ohh, pecans! Great idea! :) I love them! And I used ljus sirap as well – worked out a charm! :)

  14. peabody
    September 30th, 2007 10:26

    You must not be a bread maker when 2 hours of rise drives you crazy :)
    Great job on your sticky buns!

  15. fanny
    September 30th, 2007 10:54

    Hmmmm these buns look sooo yummy.
    I love the idea of using pecan (maple syrup would have added a nice touch too, but I’m sure that swedish syrup was just delicious – such a shame I never tasted some).

  16. Jen the bread freak
    September 30th, 2007 12:52

    Great looking sticky buns :). I’ll have to do the sticky bun version next time I’m in the mood for some gooey goodness!

  17. Anne
    September 30th, 2007 13:48

    your sticky buns looks so good… wish I’ve made it as well :)

  18. Hilda
    September 30th, 2007 14:58

    Now I know I was right not to make the sticky buns, if mine had looked anything like yours, I would have eaten all of them, and then hello 400lbs!

  19. Maryann
    September 30th, 2007 15:25

    They look wonderful :)

  20. brilynn
    September 30th, 2007 15:46

    Those look wonderfully sticky, I really do need to try them!

  21. Andrea
    September 30th, 2007 15:55

    These look so lovely!

  22. Annemarie
    September 30th, 2007 15:59

    I really like your before-and-after shots. Great looking buns you had.

  23. Meeta
    September 30th, 2007 16:00

    Simply awesome looking buns Dagmar. Love the way they look gooey and sticky!

  24. Jes
    September 30th, 2007 16:28

    Cinnamon Bun Day?! How awesome! Your sticky buns turned out great!

  25. Laura
    September 30th, 2007 16:47

    Those look like some incredibly sticky “sticky buns”!

  26. kellypea
    September 30th, 2007 16:58

    I loved this post. Cinnamon Bun Day? How cool is that? And how lovely that all the children learn to cook cinnamon rolls! I, too, would have liked to have butter with the cinnamon in the middle. I believe that’s what was missing. (I would LOVE to see your cinnamon roll recipe…) Excellent step-by-step photos. They really turned out well!

  27. Ivonne
    September 30th, 2007 17:38

    Applause for Dagmar! Well done!

  28. MyKitchenInHalfCups
    September 30th, 2007 17:57

    Those three photos in the pan are excellent! well all of them are! I wanted so much to put butter on the dough before the sugar. But I was a good DB and followed the rules – now all bets are off, right. I did really love the lemon in the dough!

  29. Anita
    September 30th, 2007 18:32

    Wonderful job on the buns…the caramel color is gorgeous!

  30. Belinda
    September 30th, 2007 19:02

    Oh, wow, just look at that rich, enticing golden color…what a lovely batch of sticky cinnamon buns…yum sums it up! :-)

  31. breadchick
    September 30th, 2007 19:49

    Great job on your buns this month! I had no idea about cinnamon bun day but you can bet I just added it to one of my holidays.

  32. Mehgan
    September 30th, 2007 20:18

    Ohhh, I must make the sticky buns, NOW!! Yours look so very delicious!!

  33. Jenny
    September 30th, 2007 20:50

    Add me to the list of people who will now officially be celebrating Cinnamon Bun Day! I’d better get to it!

  34. maria~
    October 1st, 2007 01:23

    Such nicely-browned rolls. Great job, dear!

  35. April
    October 1st, 2007 01:58

    Great looking buns!!

  36. Caroline
    October 1st, 2007 03:47

    These look so yummy!

  37. Dharm
    October 1st, 2007 04:38

    Your sticky buns look lovely! I especially like how they proofed so well in your pan and then come out looking so delicious and sticky. Can you send me some Cinnamon buns on the 4th October??!! *cheeky grin*
    Great job on this challenge!

  38. Augustina
    October 1st, 2007 05:19

    lovely looking sticky buns! great job!!

  39. Michelle
    October 1st, 2007 05:27

    Oh these look like gooey perfection! Great job!

  40. baking soda
    October 1st, 2007 07:52

    The more I see them, the more I want them! I think Ilva and I are maybe in for another try, sticky buns this time!

  41. joey
    October 1st, 2007 08:32

    I loved the sticky buns too! And yours looks superb! Your Swedish syrup has just given me the idea to try them with Dutch stroop next time (a syrup I love with undying passion!) :)

  42. johanna
    October 1st, 2007 10:51

    i used fresh yeast too! wasn’t wuite sure about how to translate the measures, especially since no weight for the dries yeast was given in the first place, but looks like we went for exactly the same! Your addition of pecans is something i would like very much – one to try next time, because i am definitely making this again!

  43. Jenny
    October 1st, 2007 13:45

    I think I will have to plan a trip to Sweeden to try out the buns that are so popular there!

  44. Gabi
    October 1st, 2007 17:15

    So lovely!
    I can tell you’ve had practice rolling your buns! :)

  45. Aoife
    October 1st, 2007 19:00

    Ooh, gorgeous buns. I like that they all came out individually, with that second rise just pushing together. Nice work!

  46. Wendy
    October 2nd, 2007 01:27

    Your buns look delicious. I enjoyed reading your history on cinnamon rolls in Sweden. I am wondering what nib sugar is and ljus sirap is? Wendy

  47. Deborah
    October 2nd, 2007 02:56

    Wonderful buns!! They look so yummy!

  48. Jen
    October 2nd, 2007 03:52

    Yummy! I didn’t have time to make the sticky bun version and yours looks delectable!

  49. Courtney Foster
    October 2nd, 2007 21:07

    those look so delicious yummy

  50. Dagmar
    October 2nd, 2007 22:19

    A big thank you to everyone for all sweet compliments and comments!

    Wendy: Nib sugar is used for decorating buns, here’s link with an explanation and photo: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_sugar
    Ljus sirap is a light swedish syrop which we use a lot for baking.

  51. Mary
    October 3rd, 2007 02:58

    Even though you made sticky buns I want to wish you an early happy cinnamon bun day! Very nice job on your challenge.

  52. Ash
    October 3rd, 2007 21:16

    Wow, I love seeing all the different buns! I think I’ll use nib sugar on mine next time. Thanks for the idea!

  53. Elle
    October 5th, 2007 05:06

    These just make me want to reach into the screen and grab one…too gorgeous! These sticky buns really look sticky, more so than some. Lovely!

  54. Lisa
    October 5th, 2007 12:49

    Beautiful sticky buns, Dagmar! I love that dish you baked them in too.. very pretty =)

    Between you and Karen of Bake My Day!, I am DYING to try an authentic Swedish cinnamon roll.. they look SO GOOD! =)

    Well done!


  55. African Vanielje
    October 6th, 2007 22:10

    Oh wow. Your buns look amazing and you photographed them before you ate ANY! I’m so impressed, but then this was just my first challenge so maybe in a couple more months I will be as disciplined.

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