The difference between sticky buns and cinnamon buns is that sticky buns have a sticky caramel topping that is baked onto the buns and cinnamon buns don’t, and are typically finished off with a drizzle of icing. The caramel for sticky buns is made at the bottom of the baking pan with butter and sugar and the unbaked buns are placed on top of that layer. After baking, the buns are flipped upside down and you’re left with a gooey, sticky and completely irresistible breakfast favorite.
These Sticky Buns with Golden Raisins are the perfect dish to make for a weekend brunch. They are delicious and not as difficult to make as they might look. The base for these buns is a simple yeast dough that is very soft and lightly sweet. The dough is made and allowed to rise for about 90 minutes. Then, it is rolled into a big rectangle to be spread with butter, cinnamon, brown sugar and raisins before being rolled up into a tight spiral and cut into buns. You could actually place them on a baking sheet and turn them into cinnamon rolls with icing added after) at this point, but I put them into a baking dish I had prepped with butter and brown sugar to bake.
The finished buns are light and tender, with a very soft crumb and a lovely layer of caramel on top. The light, caramely sweetness of the golden raisins is a perfect contrast with the golden brown sugar used to make the caramel in these sticky buns. Regular raisins will still work perfectly well, and you can also switch up the type of brown sugar to use whatever kind you have on hand. You could also add a handful of chopped pecans into the baking dish with the caramel if you like your buns with a little bit of a crunch, too. However you put them together, these buns are at their best when they’re warm – so dig in when they’re fresh from the oven and don’t hesitate to look for an excuse to bake some soon.
Sticky Buns with Golden Raisins
2 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
1 cup water, warm (approx 110F)
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted, divided
1 cup brown sugar (pref. golden brown), divided
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup golden raisins
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl, if mixing by hand), combine yeast with 1/4 cup of the warm water and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes to let yeast bloom.
Add in remaining water, sugar, melted butter, vegetable oil and 2 cups of the flour and stir to combine. Attach a dough hook to the mixer and add in another cup of flour and the salt. Knead on medium speed until the dough starts to come together. Gradually add in the remaining flour (you will probably use 3 1/2 – 3 3/4 cups) until dough starts to pull away away from the sides of the mixer and comes together into a ball.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan. Brush the bottom of the pan with about 2 tbsp melted butter. Cover evenly with 1/2 cup brown sugar.
When dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently flatten into a rectangle. Use a rolling pin (lightly floured, if necessary) to roll dough into a rectangle about 14-inches by 8 inches.
Brush dough with remaining butter and sprinkle evenly with ground cinanmon. Spread brown sugar over the cinnamon and distribute raisins evenly over the dough.
Starting with one of the long sides, roll the dough into a tight spiral and pinch to seal. Divide dough into nine pieces approximately 1.5-inches thick. Arrange in prepared pan.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes
Preheat oven to 375F while dough rises.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until buns are a dark golden brown and look completely cooked (not doughy around the center roll).
Turn buns out onto a large serving platter within 2-3 minutes, when caramel is still hot. Serve warm.