For 15 years of my life, my Yia Yia (Greek for grandma) lived in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. For the most part, I only saw her when my family visited for spring break every year. As I've said before, my memories are very closely tied with food, and one of the things I most remember about visiting Yia Yia is the cinnamon rolls she would make for breakfast. My mom never let us eat anything sweet for breakfast so this was a really special treat.
Almost exactly three years ago, Yia Yia had a stroke. As a result, she ended up moving from Florida back to Indiana. A lot has changed with Yia Yia since her stroke. She's not as outspoken and sometimes it takes her a moment or two to find her words But one thing hasn't changed--she still has a big sweet tooth. Every morning for breakfast she likes to eat a little something sweet. Usually, it's a doughnut.
This past weekend when I visited her, I wanted to treat her to something extra special. I thought about making her cinnamon rolls like she used to bake for me, but instead I decided to experiment with a new recipe. I had never made sticky buns before, but Yia Yia loves pecans so that sounded like a good idea.
In my research this past week, I learned that there is indeed a distinct difference between cinnamon rolls and sticky buns. Cinnamon rolls always have a cinnamon filling, and they are topped with frosting or icing. Sticky buns, on the other hand, don't have a cinnamon filling and they are topped with a brown sugar glaze and either pecans or walnuts.
Both breakfast treats start with a yeast dough. I didn't have time to make the dough from scratch, so I used my favorite shortcut--refrigerated biscuit dough.
No one will judge you if you use refrigerated biscuit dough. Actually, better yet, don't tell them. They won't notice a difference. This shortcut will save you at least an hour of time. For this recipe, I used a tube of regular-sized (not jumbo) refrigerated biscuit dough, and it cost 59 cents. Seriously, you can't beat that!
This recipe really could not be simpler. Once you've acquired the dough, all you have to do is make the brown sugar glaze. I decided to make a variation of sticky buns and make maple bacon sticky buns. If you don't want to use maple syrup, I recommend increasing the amount of butter and brown sugar so they are both an equal 2/3 cup.
As you prepare this recipe, you'll notice that you're actually baking the sticky buns upside down. When they come out of the oven, you'll need to invert them on a plate. If you want, you can flip the entire muffin tin either onto a plate or a wax sheet of paper after removing them from the oven. Or, if that's a little too dramatic for you, just scoop them out of the muffin tin with a spoon and place them on a plate pecan side up.
Just in case you're curious, Yia Yia loved the sticky buns. In fact, she's eaten two for breakfast the past three days. And she is a very picky person, so I'll give myself a point in the "successful recipe" column.
Maple Bacon Sticky Buns
Yield: Makes about 10 sticky buns*
- 1/2 cup Challenge butter
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup pecans
- 7 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 (7.5 ounce) can refrigerated biscuit dough
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare muffin tin with nonstick spray.
- In medium bowl, combine butter, maple syrup, and brown sugar. Stir in pecans and bacon.
- Evenly distribute mixture amongst 10 cavities in muffin tin.
- Place biscuits over maple bacon mixture in each of the cavities, gently pressing down.
- Bake until the tops of the biscuits are golden brown or about 15 minutes,
- Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before inverting onto plate or wax paper.
- Serve immediately and store leftovers in airtight container for up to 5 days.
*If your refrigerated biscuit dough tube has more or less than 10 biscuits, that's okay. Just use all of the biscuits in the tube, and distribute the mixture among the same number of cavities in the muffin tin. If your tube of refrigerated biscuit dough has more than 12 biscuits, I recommend doubling the ingredients in the brown sugar glaze (butter, maple syrup, brown sugar).