Easy Sticky Buns

February 16, 2009 · 34 comments · Print This Post

in Baked Goods, Breakfast, Doughnuts / Pastry

Sticky Buns
At some point last year I had the “brilliant” idea that I was going to make cinnamon rolls with puff pastry dough. In my mind it seemed like the easiest possible thing so I didn’t bother to look up a recipe. I just unrolled the chilled dough and spread out a thick layer of butter, cinnamon, and sugar. Then I sliced the neat bundle into tidy little rolls, layered them in a pan, and tossed them in the oven. My last thought was undoubtedly a hearty self-congratulatory high five to myself before I began to make coffee.

But when the timer went off and I opened the oven door I had quite a shock. Each and every pastry had completely uncurled into a messy flat layer of gooey dough floating in a small lake of browned butter. Needless to say it was not a pretty site. I ended up tossing out my baked mistake and added the experience to my “kitchen disasters” list.

Then last week I saw Ina Garten whip up a batch of puff pastry based sticky buns. I sat with rapt attention waiting to see how she would keep the rolls from unfurling and felt a little sheepish when she nonchalantly based the entire recipe around the use of a muffin tin. When Ina’s husband Jeffrey took a gigantic delight filled bite of her finished product I knew exactly what I was going to make on Sunday morning.

Thankfully with Ina’s assistance, the sticky buns held their shape and turned out delicious, buttery, and appropriately messy. They definitely need to be consumed as soon as possible after baking as they become quite hard and unappetizing as time passes.  So pour yourself a large glass of ice cold milk and enjoy a roll or two.

Sticky Buns

Easy Sticky Buns (Adapted from the recipe originally published in Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients by Ina Garten)

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup pecans, chopped in very large pieces
1 package (17.3-ounces/ 2-sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted

For the filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a 12-cup standard muffin tin on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the 12 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of the mixture in each of the 12 muffin cups. Distribute the pecans evenly among the 12 muffin cups on top of the butter and sugar mixture.

Lightly flour a wooden board or stone surface. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with the melted butter. Leaving a 1-inch border on the puff pastry, sprinkle each sheet with 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of the raisins. Starting with the end nearest you, roll the pastry up snugly like a jelly roll around the filling, finishing the roll with the seam side down. Trim the ends of the roll about 1/2-inch and discard. Slice the roll in 6 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place each piece, spiral side up, in 6 of the muffin cups. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry to make 12 sticky buns.

Bake for 30 minutes, until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch. Be careful – they’re hot! Allow to cool for 5 minutes only, invert the buns onto the parchment paper (ease the filling and pecans out onto the buns with a spoon) and cool completely.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 carrie February 16, 2009 at 2:11 pm

I sense MUCH over-eating in my near future.

though seeing these reminds me I have a package of cinnamon rolls waiting to be made into a gluttonous feast of monkey bread. and also that Lent is starting soon, and I will probably wish to be blind so as to not be tempted to cheat every DAMN TIME I COME TO YOUR SITE.

just sayin’.

good job on the rolls. more proof that I, too, may tolerate Ina someday!



2 Julia February 16, 2009 at 3:42 pm

Oh, I like this idea!!! I made full-on cinnamon rolls a few weeks ago, and they were sososo good, but I can’t muster the energy to make them again. With some puff dough… I think i’m back in business.


3 Alisa February 16, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Could there be a more perfect marraige than “easy” and “sticky buns?” Those look great!


4 Amanda February 16, 2009 at 4:00 pm

What would we do without Ina?!


5 snooky doodle February 16, 2009 at 4:12 pm

great, I can make these delicious buns. They look so yummy


6 Diana February 16, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Oh man…I wish I had one of those to snack on right now! Yum! 🙂


7 pigpigscorner February 16, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Using puff pastry is a great idea! Looks really delicious.


8 robin February 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm

You’re not supposed to make sticky buns easy for me! I’m should have to work for those calories. 😀


9 sharon February 16, 2009 at 6:01 pm

These are a perfect & impressive looking breakfast to serve to guests. They turn out simply gorgeous!


10 justJENN February 16, 2009 at 6:12 pm

Yes! I saw that episode and I am making these this week too!!


11 meg February 16, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Beyond delicious! I want some now!


12 Monica H February 16, 2009 at 9:34 pm

I saw her make those last week and it looked so simple- but everything she makes looks so simple. And yum!


13 Elyse February 16, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Haha, don’t you hate it when good intentions unravel (literally)? I’m so glad that you got these sticky buns to work because that means you get to share them with us, and boy am I thankful for that! They look DELICIOUS!! Right up my alley…just wish tomorrow was still the weekend so I could eat these for breakfast!


14 Expat Girl February 17, 2009 at 1:05 am

Hi Erin, this is my first time visiting your blog = ) It looks like you salvaged the buns = ) The photos are amazing and the ending result- DELISH!


15 Happy Cook February 17, 2009 at 5:40 am

Beautiful and DELICIOUS.


16 LizAndrsn February 17, 2009 at 10:13 am

Jeffrey is probably paid to look like he enjoys everything Ina makes. Or it’s in their marriage contract.

That being said, everyone needs a Jeffrey in the Kitchen!


17 Flying Cloud February 17, 2009 at 11:35 am

Sticky buns and milk, kind of like peas and carrots!


18 maggie (p&c) February 17, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Wow, these look great. And so easy! I’ve never made sticky buns but they’d be such a great addition to a big brunch…


19 Erin February 17, 2009 at 3:53 pm

These look amazing! A great variation from the standard Pillsbury rolls I have hanging out in my fridge on any given day! 🙂


20 Kate February 17, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Oooh, you should join us at the Barefoot Bloggers group, where we cook Ina’s recipes. One of our recent selections were these Puff Pastry Rolls. We all loved them. Come join us!


21 kat February 18, 2009 at 12:34 am

YUM erin. i can’t wait to make these.


22 Bill Beavers February 18, 2009 at 11:07 am

One of my favorite foods. Haven’t had them for a while. Looks like a great receipe.




23 Maria February 18, 2009 at 4:33 pm

SO ooey and gooey!! They look amazing!


24 Melissa Doherty February 18, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Congrats again on having this in the Boston Globe!! You’ve hit the bigtime!! 🙂


25 Lynda February 18, 2009 at 10:48 pm

These look so good and gooey! I love sticky buns!


26 Paula February 19, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Yumm these look great and not too difficult! I’d love one right about now!


27 missginsu February 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm

I agree with some of the folks above. Easy is toooo easy. I need the “sticky bun for one” recipe. A whole pan is just deadly…


28 zestycook February 20, 2009 at 9:41 pm



29 Helen February 21, 2009 at 1:07 pm

hmmm delicious looking. gotta try these


30 Leah Klein February 27, 2009 at 8:36 pm

I love making sticky buns and I also love the Barefoot Contessa. My daughter has been watching Ina Garten with me since she was 6 months old (usually at her early rising time of 5 am). She gets so excited whenever she sees a book or picture of her.

I have not purchased the latest cookbook (for lack of bookshelf space), but it’s really just a matter of time before I do. Do you have other favourite recipes from the book?

So far my favourite sticky bun recipe is from the Baba a Louis bakery in Vermont.

Leah Klein
Boston Family Foodie


31 DD February 28, 2009 at 5:14 pm

I’ve had cinnamon sticky buns on my mind lately and this sounds like the perfect (read: easiest) solution. My boyfriend would die and go to heaven.


32 stephanie May 10, 2009 at 12:53 pm

Thank you for sharing this! I made these this morning and they came out quite yummy! I’ve posted it on my blog 🙂 Thanks again!


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