Almond Brioche Sticky Buns

Serving Size: 14
Prep Time:
Total Time:

These sticky buns are a huge reward and payoff after all the hard work, overnight rise and exercising mad patience while baking these. I mean, come on. It’s brioche dough we’re talking about here. And this recipe is on my 2013 Culinary Bucket List. Truth be told, this was my absolute first time baking sticky buns, and I could not- for the life of me- get my damn yeast to activate in the milk (as Aida instructs). So, I dumped my milk, sugar and yeast and tried again. Four times.

On the fourth try, since I didn’t want to waste anymore ingredients- and I knew this fail-safe way would work- I activated my yeast in warm water and then after it started bubbling, I added it to the milk and sugar in my mixing bowl. And I am so happy to say, it worked.

If you only buy one cookbook this year, it must be Keys to the Kitchen by Aida Mollenkamp. I seriously cannot say enough about this cookbook. Not only does this cookbook have over 300 delicious recipes (I’ve tried about 12 so far) but it’s also a reference guide with tips and techniques to help you in the kitchen. From knowing what to buy at the grocery store to how to store foods to fundamental preparation techniques to the recipes and finally to mastering the meal.

It’s all there. Seriously. And it’s solid.

I’m hoping my photos intrigue you enough. These sticky buns. These Almond Brioche Sticky Buns. You must bake these. Must must must. They are so insanely delicious. A few things to note regarding them and what I did differently:  Ok, I know this is a huge faux pas when baking but I always use 2% organic milk. We never ever have whole milk in the house. Never.  Am I alone here?

Also, I didn’t have any heavy cream on hand so I simply omitted it and I’m glad I did. These buns were still insanely *I mean crazy good* delicious so I can only imagine how much better they would have tasted had I added the heavy cream into the glaze. I also added some golden raisins to a very small portion of the dough because my girls love them (ended up being three buns). Delicious.

After baking these, I seriously feel like I can bake anything! And now – thanks to Aida and this cookbook- I know how to make brioche baby. So thrilled. One last note, the dough will be extremely sticky.  The overnight rise helps that a bit and makes for a more workable dough and, if you need to, sprinkle on a little more flour when working with it and finally rolling it out.

I sincerely hope you add Keys to the Kitchen to your cookbook repertoire and bake these sticky buns. Enjoy!

NOTE: An OVERNIGHT RISE is required for this recipe so please make sure you read and plan ahead. If you want to add the heavy cream to the glaze, add a ¼ cup after you remove from the heat and mix well.

Brioche Dough

  • 1 cup milk (heated to 100 F/38 C to 115 F/45 C)
  • 4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I always use King Arthur Flour)
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg (at room temperature) lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature, plus extra softened butter for coating the bowl and pan
  • 2.25 tsp active dry yeast (you must use instant or active dry yeast; not “rapid rise yeast”)
  • 0.25 cup granulated sugar
  1. Place the warm milk and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and sprinkle with the yeast. Set aside to rest until the mixture bubbles – about 5 to 10 minutes. (If you can’t get your yeast to activate in the milk like me, activate it in a ¼ cup of warm water and then add it to the mixing bowl with the milk and sugar.) Coat the inside of a large glass mixing bowl with butter and set aside.
  2. Add the salt, zest, eggs and vanilla and mix until evenly incorporated.
  3. Add the flour little by little until the dough is moistened throughout and starts to come together. Mix on medium speed until the dough completely pulls away from the sides of the bowl to form a ball, and is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the 6 tablespoons of the butter piece by piece, allowing each to fully incorporate before adding the next. Place the dough in your prepared bowl, turn to coat in butter and cover with plastic wrap (you can also cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel). Set aside in a warm place until it doubles in volume, about 1 hour.
  5. When the dough has doubled in size, fold it in onto itself, cover again and place it in the refrigerator OVERNIGHT to rise, 12 to 36 hours.

Spice Filling

  • 0.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 0.75 tsp ground clove
  • 2.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 cup granulated sugar
  1. *(See note below under “when ready to assemble”) When ready, in a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt, mix well and set aside.

Honey Glaze

  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature; will use when assembling
  • 0.25 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp honey or agave nectar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 0.5 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup toasted sliced almond
  1. Combine the butter, brown sugar, honey and salt in a medium pan over medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Then, cook without stirring until fluid and well combined (you can swirl the pan as needed to help cook evenly.) Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.

To assemble the Sticky Buns

  1. When ready to assemble, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes. [*Note: This is when you can prepare the filling and the glaze]. On a well floured work surface with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an 18 – 20 by 8″ rectangle or whatever you work surface will allow for. Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough, sprinkle with filling and press to ensure it adheres to the dough.
  2. Starting at the long edge closest to you, roll up into a cylinder (as necessary, stretch dough to ensure it rolls up evenly). Using a sharp knife lightly coated in cooking spray or oil, trim off uneven bits at the end and then slice the cylinder into 12 (or 15) buns. I was able to make 15 buns and even tucked the dough edges I cut off in one corner; so I baked that too!
  3. Coat a 13 x 9 baking dish with butter and pour in the glaze to cover the bottom. Spread evenly if needed so it covers the entire dish. Scatter the almonds evenly over the glaze and place the buns in the pan. (At this point you can cover the buns in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight). If baking immediately, set, uncovered, to rise until the rolls are almost doubled in size and have risen into one another, about 30 minutes.
  4. Heat the oven to 350 F and arrange the rack in the middle. (If the buns have been refrigerated, let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.) Bake the buns until they are puffed, golden brown, and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center roll reads 190 F, for about 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before inverting onto a plate. Serve immediately.

This recipe is Aida Mollenkamp’s from her Keys to the Kitchen cookbook. This recipe was shared with permission by Aida.


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