A clever shortcut and prep-ahead convenience make these tried-and-true sticky buns as easy as they are delicious. The recipe has long been a family favorite on holidays and special occasions. As an added bonus, the aroma wafting from your kitchen will remind you of the corner bakery!
The anticipation of waking up to a special breakfast always seems to heighten the holiday allure. In my family, these sticky buns are as eagerly anticipated as the Star Wars Millennium Falcon LEGO spaceship and Matchbox Car Wash once were. (Anyone remember those once “hot” items? Or Tickle Me Elmo, Guitar Hero, or Nintendo Game Boy for that matter?)
As a side note, it is fun to think back to all the popular Christmas and Hanukkah gifts of years gone by. For an entertaining walk down memory lane, you might enjoy this list of top holiday gifts dating back to 1970. Nerfball, the Apollo Moon Rocket, the board game Risk, and the Talking Viewmaster were apparently all the rage the year I was born!
In the early years, I’d assemble these sticky buns after the kids were nestled in their beds and before Santa had done his work. The clever shortcut and quick prep made the breakfast treat easy to accomplish on an otherwise busy night.
The recipe may seem a bit bizarre both in method and ingredients. To start, frozen bread dough is topped with a simple dry mixture and left to rise on the counter overnight. In the morning, the risen dough gets popped in the oven, and voila! Sticky buns that taste－and smell－like they came from the corner bakery.
So let’s see how easy it is!
This recipe is rather foolproof, but there are a few helpful hints I can share:
- I can only find a three-pound bag of frozen dough: In this case, use 24 of the rolls. You will have 12 leftover, which can be thawed and baked as dinner rolls another day, used for homemade pizza or stromboli dough, or paired with additional rolls for more sticky buns in the future.
- I bought frozen rolls, not dough: A friend of mine mistakenly bought already-baked rolls years ago, and she tried the recipe anyway. It didn’t work! If that is all you have to work with, I’d warm the rolls, cut them in half or break open, spread the insides with butter, and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar for a variation on the ever-delicious cinnamon toast.
- My dough sat on the counter a little too long: See photo and solution, below.
4. I had a few drips in the oven: (see below)
5. I need a gluten-free recipe: This is one of the few recipes on the blog for which I have been unable to provide a viable gluten-free adaptation to date. For those seeking an equally delicious breakfast or brunch treat, I highly recommend this cinnamon coffee cake or this apple crumb cake. Both require only a simple substitution of a cup-for cup gluten-free flour blend. Baked oatmeals like this Overnight Crunchy Top Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal offer other good options. To see the many other baked oatmeal offerings on this site, simply type “baked oatmeal” in the search bar and scroll back through the recipes.
How to complete the meal:
Any fruit is a lovely addition, and this Winter Fruit Salad is especially so. My family enjoys the sticky buns with my grandmother’s tried-and-true Sausage and Egg Casserole (another prep-ahead recipe, pictured below), although a frittata, omelet, or eggs cooked your favorite way are delightful, too. Smoked salmon offers a protein-rich alternative to eggs. Finally, Greek yogurt served with assorted toppings like berries, granola, nuts, and shredded coconut provides a menu addition that people can customize to taste.
Make it a gift!
- ½ cup chopped pecans or raisins (or a mix)
- 1 (3-ounce) package vanilla pudding (Cook and Serve type; NOT instant)
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 (2-pound) package frozen dinner rolls (or 24 rolls from a 3-pound bag Rhodes or Rich’s brand, for example; you want to purchase the DOUGH, not precooked rolls)
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
Before you go to bed, sprinkle the pecans and/or raisins in a greased Bundt pan, and evenly arrange the frozen dough balls on top.
Combine the pudding mix, brown sugar, and cinnamon; sprinkle over the dough.
Cut the butter into pieces and dot over all.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise overnight on counter. (Yes, really! Not in the fridge.)
In the morning, preheat the oven to 350℉. Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the sticky buns are cooked through and a bit crusty on top. I like to place the Bundt pan on a baking sheet just in case there are any drips over the side. Baking time may be longer if you are using a light-colored, non-stick pan.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Place your serving plate on top of the Bundt pan and invert, holding the platter and Bundt pan together, so that the sticky buns come out nicely onto your platter. With a spatula, scrape any of the syrupy mixture that remains in the Bundt pan onto the sticky buns. (Helpful hint: if the sticky buns cool too long in the pan, they will be harder to remove. In that case, use a dinner knife to loosen the edges. At this point, if the syrupy topping that remains in the pan is too firm to drizzle, set the now-empty pan in the oven for a few minutes to remelt the mixture. That will make it easier to remove.)
If you don’t seal the plastic wrap to the side of the Bundt pan before going to bed, the dough may rise above the top of the pan by the time you wake. The same thing can happen if the kitchen is warm. Not to worry, simply press down on the wrap-covered surface until the dough is at the same level as the top edge of the pan and proceed.
Originally posted on December 21, 2012