Yield: serves 12
- 1⁄4 cup water, heated to 115°
- 1 (1/4-oz.) package active dry yeast
- 1⁄2 tsp. plus 1 cup granulated sugar
- 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus 20 tbsp., softened, and more for pan
- 1⁄2 cup milk, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
- 3⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 egg, plus 1 yolk
- 3 1⁄4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
- 2⁄3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup finely chopped pecan pieces
- 3 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- Combine water, yeast, and 1⁄2 tsp. granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar, plus 8 tbsp. melted butter, milk, light brown sugar, salt, vanilla, egg, and yolk. Add flour and mix on low speed until dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high; knead until smooth, about 8 minutes. Cover dough with plastic wrap; set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 1⁄2 hours. Meanwhile, bring 10 tbsp. softened butter and dark brown sugar to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan; cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is melted, about 3 minutes. Pour sauce evenly into a greased 9″ x 13″ baking dish; sprinkle 2⁄3 of the pecans over the top. Stir remaining butter, granulated sugar, pecans, and the cinnamon in a bowl; set baking dish and filling aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 10″ x 18″ rectangle; spread filling evenly over dough. Working from one long end, roll dough into a log; trim ends and cut into 12 rounds. Place rounds over sauce in baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap; chill 6 hours or overnight.
- Heat oven to 375°. Uncover buns and bring to room temperature. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let pan cool 5 minutes, then invert onto a serving tray. Immediately spoon pecan sauce from dish over buns.