Cinnamon Roll Variation: Sticky Buns

If this doesn’t light’em up at the office, nothing will. Sticky buns are a simple variation on the cinnamon roll idea. The difference is they’re proofed and baked on a layer of caramel, then flipped over à la upside-down cake. I like to make them in a cast iron skillet since to me the sticky bun has a rustic flair, sort of a country cousin to a cinnamon roll. But maybe that’s just me.

The process is very simple. Here I have a 10-inch cast iron skillet that I’ve poured about three quarters of a cup of caramel sauce into (recipe to follow), allowed it to cool, then sprinkled it with nuts.

I make the sticky buns the same way I made cinnamon rolls, with the same filling, cut them the same way, but proof them in the skillet on top of the caramel and nuts.

Proof the same amount of time (one hour) and bake the very same way: ten minutes at 375 uncovered, twenty covered, then another five minutes to brown. When the buns have finished baking, remove them from the oven, wait three — that’s three — minutes, then flip the buns onto a platter or counter top. Voilà.

Here I should add that there are all kinds of ways you could potentially vary the recipe. My fillings to date have been very straightforward, just brown sugar and cinnamon. However as my good friend Pauline so aptly demonstrated, there’s no end to what’s possible. Nuts, raisins, jams, spices, the list goes on (if you really want to guild the sticky bun lilly, spread a thin layer of ganache on the dough, then sprinkle on dark chocolate chips…you’ll be in a confessional for a month after that one). Toppings, as I said, can be anything: icings, frostings, syrups, spiced sugars, caramel…the sky is the limit. So experiment, for as I’ve written about these types of buttery pastries, there is no losing here, only degrees of winning.

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