Apple Butter Sticky Buns with Pecans and Currants

apple butter sticky buns with pecans and currants
Becky:  (opens microwave [our dog-proof baked-good storage hiding place when we leave the house], removes plate, turns and holds in front of husband, light magically emanates from said Apple Butter Sticky Buns plate)

Mike:  (loooooonnnng stare) (long stare)

side view of plated sticky buns
Mike:  Uhh….

Becky:  (quietly holding glowing plate)

Mike:  You should not be allowed to bake.  (pause, stare) 

Mike:  You should be put in jail, this is illegal.  (pause, stare) 

Mike:  I could eat all of that.  Right now. (pause, stare.  Stare stare stare)  You know that, right?

Becky:  Let’s give a lil’ taste then, yeah?

Mike and Becky scarf down a shared roll in total silence. 

Mike:  Would you be mad if that was all gone before you woke up tomorrow?

Becky:  (glare)

Mike:  (licking fingers, pause)  Wow. 

I’ve been so frustrated lately, on a bad streak of unsuccessful recipes.  I have an entire folder on my computer right now filled with photos of recipes that are eh, fails, are so-so, or are just otherwise not share-worthy.  Maybe we should start a “Fails/So-So” segment to the blog, help you avoid the not-winners.

This, on the other hand, wow, whoo-doggie, what a winner. Did I say wow?  Wow.

I’ve previously mentioned my search for the Perfect Cinnamon Roll.  That ginormous Gargantuan Cinnamon Roll.  Oh and what about that monumental success of the Chocolate Sweet Rolls but I can’t, won’t, don’t stop seeking. 

I had a small window available for baking the other day, or I thought I did, so hm, what to bake, what to bake.  I hadn’t baked in quite a while, I was twitching.  But then I remembered Mike had requested cinnamon rolls.  The Ikea ones I picked up and delivered to him one having-a-tough-day-at-work day proved a mere bandage thus ultimately resulting in this request.

So I chose these, Apple Butter Sticky Buns with Pecans and Currants from NY Times Cooking.  Holy moly, amiright?!?!

My window of time, unfortunately, did not remain open and I ended up rushed which rarely pans out (aah haa, pan, pun) well for me.  My first rule of baking:  don’t rush.  But.  Magically, mysteriously, these defied that rule somehow. 

I loves me some apple butter and it was sooo tasty in the Apple Butter Rugelach, why not bake with it again.  So not sorry. 

These truly are not as complicated as they sound either.  Most of the time is spent waiting for rising, really.  If you can flip on a mixer to spin together a dough then squish it flat, do a little spreading, rolling, and cutting, you’re totally there.  See?  Not hard. 

You will be repaid royally for your efforts too. 

Get going by warming the milk to 110° F (43° C) which is way easy to determine using an instant-read thermometer.*  Only last year did I finally purchase one (this one*) and the darn thing is indispensable now.  Whereas I typically had problems, now, yeast success each and every time.  

If you’re unsure around yeast, get a thermometer.  Test the temp of your liquid for between 100°-110° F (38°-43° C) and you will win the yeast game.  
Right, so add the teaspoon of sugar and the yeast, let that party get started…

dry ingredients with yeast and mixer bowl
Let’s get it started in here, let’s get it….sorry, I can’t get that out of my head even though I’m not a Peas fan.
…then you next dump the flour, a bit more sugar, and the salt in a mixer bowl.Once the yeast is all nice and fluffy puffy, pour that mix plus the slightly beaten egg in there, flip the mixer on to low.

adding proofed yeast and egg
Wet into the big pool, and time to get mixin’.
After a few minutes, not many, six tablespoons of softened butter go in, a bit more mixing and the dough is bam, done, ready to rise!

adding butter to dough mix
Top: dough before butter Bottom: dough after butter
Weirdly I hardly got a nice smooth, elastic dough out of this as you can see, even after adding the one extra tablespoon of flour allowed, so I was a wee bit nervous.  In a rush though, had to keep going.

Pop it into a greased bowl, cover (just got some a’ these fancy stretchy silicone bowl covers* to avoid plastic then doh, forgot to use one), and let it do its thing.  

Toss together the topping ingredients into a saucepan…

adding topping ingredients to a saucepan
Hey.  Saucepan.  Ingredients.  Cool.
…and bring that to a nice roiling boil. 

boiling caramel in saucepan
Hot! Hot!  Freakin’ hot do not splash it around!
Sprinkle the pecans (it will seem a lot of pecans but just do it) and the currants or raisins or no dried fruit at all into a buttered nine by two round cake pan.*  Pour the hot caramel-ly delight over the goodies in the pan and let cool.

cooling caramel in pan with currants and pecans
You see how this is gonna go now, right?
Off you go to do whatever for about an hour. 

So after the rise, I still was not bequeathed with a smooth elastic dough, and when kneading to deflate air as directed, it didn’t deflate nothin’.  Worried, I was.  But, in it to win it so I flattened it out by hand and measured to ensure I had the right size, trying to square up the corners as best as squarely possible.

rolled dough being spread with apple butter
Oh boy.  The apple butter.  Oh dear.
Smear the apple butter around, sprinkle on the cinnamon and brown sugar mix, ugh this is getting ridiculous isn’t it?…

brown sugar and cinnamon sprinkled atop
Brown sugar and cinnamon on top of the apple butter?!  What could be wrong with that?!  Nothin’.
…then roll the dough up into a log.

rolling dough up into a log
Little rolling demo for you.  The stuff will try to squish out so you gotta kinda lift and roll.
With a serrated knife, gently slice the dough perpendicularly in half then each half into quarters for a total of eight rolls.  I know, seems a darn shame there’s only eight.

slicing dough into eight rounds
With a spirally cut side up, set each slice in the pan atop the cooled yummies, cover the pan loosely, and let the rolls rise and puff for a half hour. 

cut sticky buns risen in pan ready to bake
Half hour later.  A bit puffy.
Into the oven they go for about another half hour.  Oh yes, that magnificent wafting aroma is quite heady.

Once they’re nicely browned (I didn’t get the borderline extreme browning as called for.  They looked and smelled done, I didn’t want to risk over baking.), let the pan cool for five minutes.

baked apple butter sticky buns
Yeah, I think this amount of browning is juuuust fine.
Give the rolls a quick loosening by running a knife around the perimeter, place the serving plate on top then flip everything over, carefully lifting the pan. 

And wow.  En.Joy. that insanity.  Whooooo-ie!

flipped out of pan sticky buns
Covered overnight, they were still soft and downy the next day, as if recently baked.  Thankfully for Mike, they were not all gone as threatened either.  And a couple days later they were still soft and pillowy.  Oh, wonder of wonders!

This is a Win.Ner my friends, a bona fide winner!

interior of apple butter sticky bun
Deeeelicious. *smack, slurp, raaawwrr, mmm*
Note:  This content originally appeared on Flaky Bakers.

Apple Butter Sticky Buns with Pecans and Currants

Apple Butter Sticky Buns with Pecans and Currants

8 rolls
Prep time
25 Min
Cook time
32 Min
Inactive time
1 H & 30 M
Total time
2 H & 26 M
Wildly delicious sweet sticky buns with a gooey pecan currant caramel atop, swirled with apple butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.


  • 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter room temperature, cut in pieces, plus extra for greasing
  • 2/3 cup (158 ml) whole milk warmed to 110° F [43° C]
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (41 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons (6 g) active dry yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour, plus extra as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup (114 g) pecans coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (47 g) currants or raisins
  • 6 tablespoons (85 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (52 g) dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (52 g) dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons (5 g) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (240 g) apple butter


The dough
  1. Warm the milk to 110° F (43° C) in a small bowl and stir in the 1 teaspoon of sugar plus the yeast. Set aside for around 5 minutes or until the yeast is foamy and active.
  2. In a mixer bowl, add the remaining sugar, the flour, and salt, mixing briefly with a dough hook. Once the yeast mix is ready, add it and the lightly beaten egg to the mixer bowl and turn on to low for about 3 minutes until the dough is mostly mixed.
  3. Add all the butter and continue to mix for another 3-4 minutes or until the dough has smoothed and appears elastic. If the dough is still too sticky, add up to 1 more tablespoon of flour.
  4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic, and let rise for about an hour, until doubled in size.
The topping
  1. Generously grease a 9x2 round pan with butter. Sprinkle the pecans and currants (or raisins) evenly around the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add the remaining topping ingredients to a saucepan and warm over medium heat. Stir every once in a bit until the everything reaches a roiling foamy boil. Remove from heat and pour the caramel over the pecans and dried fruit. Set aside to cool.
The filling
  1. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, breaking up the lumps.
The rolls
  1. Tip the risen dough onto a lightly floured counter, giving it a knead or two to deflate the air. Either using a floured rolling pin or by hand, manipulate the dough into a 10” square, aiming for squared corners.
  2. With a spoon, evenly spread the apple butter over the dough then sprinkle it with the brown sugar/cinnamon filling.
  3. Carefully roll up the dough and pinch the seam. Using a serrated knife, cut the dough in half then cut each half into quarters for a total of 8 rolls. With the exposed spiral side up, place each piece in the pan atop the pecan currant caramel.
  4. Cover the pan loosely and allow to rise again for about a half hour. Halfway through, preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C).
  5. Remove the covering and bake the rolls until golden brown for about 28-30 minutes then let cool on a rack for about 5 minutes. With a knife, loosen the rolls in the pan around the edges, place the serving plate on top and flip everything over onto the plate. Carefully remove the pan.
  6. Serve warm or store covered and serve at room temperature or reheat in the microwave.


Adapted from NY Times Cooking.

Nutrition Facts



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Please see the "info" section for nutrition details and information about gram weights.

sticky buns, sweet rolls, apple butter

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