6 T
unsalted butter, cubed
2/3 cup
whole milk
3 T
granulated sugar
1 3/4 t
dry active yeast
large egg
2 1/2 cup
all purpose flour
1/2 t
kosher salt

4 oz
125 g
Szechuan Candied Pecans
2 t
vanilla extract

2 T
2 cup
granulated sugar
2 cup

These sticky buns are a departure from the cloying sweetness of traditional sticky buns. Szechuan Candied Pecans bring a floral warmth to the filling while the grapefruit syrup adds a brightness that we find irresistible. Cinnamon buns are best served warm, but they are just as crushable the next day. Refrigerate for a few days or freeze (uncooked) for up to 2 months.


For the dough

  1. In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, warm butter, milk, and sugar until the butter is just melted.

  2. When the mixture is tepid, add the yeast. Let mixture stand for 10 minutes, or until the yeast starts to activate and bubble. Transfer mixture to bowl of the stand mixer or a large bowl.

  3. Add the egg, flour, and salt to the bowl. If using a mixer, mix with a dough hook at medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. If mixing by hand, combine the ingredients, then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.

  4. Knead for 10 minutes.

  5. Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover the bowl with a moist kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place until dough has doubled in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours (time will vary depending on the temperature of your kitchen).

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For the filling

  1. Pulverize pecans in a blender or food processor.

  2. Heat butter until just melted.

  3. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, vanilla and sugar. Stir in pecans. Can be made up to 3 days ahead. store in the fridge, but bring to room temp before assembly.

For the grapefruit syrup

  1. Zest grapefruits, then cut each grapefruit into quarters

  2. Combine zest, sugar, water, and grapefruit quarters in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

  3. Strain grapefruit through a fine mesh strainer, and reserve liquid. Set aside. Can be made up to three days ahead. Store in the fridge.

Assembling the buns

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

  2. When the dough has risen, knead briefly on a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 10-inch square. With a spatula, spread the pecan filling over the dough, making sure to reach all corners and the entire surface of the dough. Roll up the dough as tightly as possible.

  3. Using a sharp or serrated knife, cut the dough into 9 or 10 slices.Place the buns upright into a lightly buttered 8 inch square cake pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour (they should fit snugly into the pan when they are fully risen).

  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the tops of the buns are browned.

  5. While buns are still hot, drizzle syrup evenly over them.

in this recipe

Szechuan Candied Pecans