Autumn Apple Sticky Bun (recipe)

I tend to read cook books like novels. Yesterday I watched as my daughter flipped through our weathered copy of Bread Baker’s Apprentice. Clearly, that book gets a lot of love in this house! She was thoroughly entranced in the images of fluffy brioche, croissants, pizza, “mama, what’s this PURPLE bread?” “that’s a sourdough with blue cheese and walnuts…” “oh, I like purple bread! mmmmm.” She asked which ones we had made and which ones we could make.  Then she grabbed the next cookbook, Rustic Fruits Desserts and flipped and dreamed about eating all the other yummy things, I certainly was..  We finally decided on mixing up two recipes we had tried before with apples.



Oh apples, I love you so much!  So does the whole family! Sauced for the baby and girl, sliced with other snacks for the growing girl, anytime of day, and daily snacks for the husband and I (when there are no carrots…) With a little crawler taking more restorative naps, I have been able to really play in my baking again. So here goes nothing. Enjoy your sticky buns plain, with raisins and nuts, or like us, with seasonal fruit glaze.  This was a german apple pancake recipe deconstructed to see if it would taste good as an apple glaze in place of caramel glaze on sticky buns. Our homestead thinks it’s successful!

Autumn Apple Sticky Buns

Adapted from Peter Reinhart’s recipe for Cinnamon Buns and Sticky Buns and from Emeril’s German Apple Pancakes


Sticky Buns

  • 6 1/2 Tablespoons (3.25 ounces ) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (.25 ounces) salt
  • 5 1/2 Tablespoons (2.75 ounces) butter at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract or grated zest of one lemon
  • 9 ounces all purpose flour
  • 5 ounces whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons (.22 ounces) instant yeast
  • 1 1/8 to 1 1/4 cup (9- 10 ounces ) milk at room temperature
  • 1/2  cup (4 ounces) cinnamon sugar [6 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon]

Apple glaze

  • 3 large apples ( i used 1 macintosh and 2 honey crisp) peeled cored and thinly sliced
  • 4 Tablespoons of butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar


1. Cream together the sugar, salt, and shortening or butter on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a large metal spoon and mixing bowl


2. Whip in the egg and lemon extract/zest until smooth.Then add the flour, yeast, and milk.


3. Mix on low-speed (or stir by hand) until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes (or knead by hand for 12 to 15 minutes), or until the dough is  tacky but not too sticky. If you need to add a little flour to create this texture while kneading then go ahead.

4. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.


5. Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

6. Make the Apple Glaze

7. Peel, chop, slice all the apples.

I love my apple peeler corer slicer!

8. In a heavy ovenproof 12-inch skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over high heat. Add the apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the apples are soft and lightly golden around the edges, about 6 minutes.


9. Add the brown sugar and cook, stirring, until the apples are caramelized and very soft, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and stir to melt.


10. Coat the bottom of two  9 by 13 baking dish (with sides at least 1 1/2 inches high) with a 1/4 inch layer of the apple glaze. and place the buns approximately 1/2 inch apart so that they aren’t touching but are close to one another. You may need 2 pans.


11. Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter and proceed to roll the dough out with a rolling-pin dusting with flour as you go and so it doesn’t stick to the pin or the counter. Roll into a rectangle about 2/3 inch thick and 14 inches wide by 12 inches long. Err on the thicker side  when rolling and you will be happier with the end result!


12. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough



and  roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll. IMG_5627

With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 pieces each about 1 3/4 inches thick for larger buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 1 1/4 inch thick for smaller buns).


13. Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size.


14. Preheat the oven to 350°F  with the oven rack on the lowest shelf for sticky buns. and bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Sticky buns are really upside down (regular cinnamon buns are baked right side up), so the heat has to penetrate through the pan and into the glaze to caramelize it. The tops will become the bottoms, so they may appear dark and done, but the real key is whether the underside is fully baked. It takes practice to know just when to pull the buns out of the oven. I know our oven is hotter than most so mine were done closer to 30 minutes.

15. Cool the buns in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes and then remove them by flipping them over into another pan. Carefully scoop any run-off glaze back over the buns with a spatula. Wait at least 20 minutes before serving.