Pecan Sticky Buns
Pecan Sticky Buns. Ingalls Photography

Three types of sugar sweeten this recipe for pecan swirl buns, adapted from Sweet Auburn Bakery in Atlanta. It first appeared in our November 2013 issue with Wendell Brock’s story Southern Belle.

Pecan Sticky Buns Pecan Sticky Buns
Three types of sugar sweeten these pecan swirl buns adapted from a recipe from Sweet Auburn Bakery in Atlanta.
Yield: serves 12


  • 14 cup water, heated to 115°
  • 1 (1/4-oz.) package active dry yeast
  • 12 tsp. plus 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted, plus 20 tbsp., softened, and more for pan
  • 12 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
  • 34 tsp. kosher salt
  • 12 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, plus 1 yolk
  • 3 14 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 23 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecan pieces
  • 3 tbsp. ground cinnamon


  1. Combine water, yeast, and 12 tsp. granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook; let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in 14 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 12 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 23 of the pecans over the top. Stir remaining butter, granulated sugar, pecans, and the cinnamon in a bowl; set baking dish and filling aside.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.