My only issue with today’s recipe is that I wish it were easier to photograph. I don’t hate these photos, but they just don’t do these Banana Pecan Sticky Buns any sort of justice.
But really, what prop or angle could? Banana Pecan Sticky Buns are everything that’s wonderful about banana bread rolled into cinnamon rolls, baked into a gooey pecan-studded butterscotch and, quite literally, flipped on their heads.
I can wax on and on about the soft pastry (my favorite sweet roll dough!), the buttery cinnamon-sugar filling, the toasted pecans, and the slivers of overripe banana.
I could really talk your ear off about the easiest butterscotch ever, flavored with dark brown sugar, honey, and vanilla, and topped with 1 1/2 cups of chopped toasted pecans.
And I can show you all sorts of prep photos, from slicing the rolls…
to arranging them over the sticky butterscotch and pecans…
to an hour later, when they’re soft and puffy…
to when they’re golden and bubbly, fresh from the oven.
But none of that can do justice to the moment the pan is inverted to reveal a dozen warm Banana Pecan Sticky Buns dripping with butterscotch and clustered pecans.
Or that moment when you take a bite and the combination of pastry, cinnamon, banana, pecan, and butterscotch is almost enough to make you cry. But not really.
(Although I’m not ruling out sticky bun-related spiritual experiences.)
I guess you’ll just have to make them for yourself. Then you’ll understand.
Banana Pecan Sticky Buns
makes 12 rolls
2 cups chopped pecans, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup honey
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 3/4-2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup bread flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast)
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, beaten, room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans (reserved from the topping)
2 medium bananas, very ripe, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 300F. Grease a 9×13 pan with butter. Set aside.
Make the topping. Place pecans on a dry baking sheet. Toast for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Set aside 1/2 cup pecans for the filling.
Combine butter, dark brown sugar, whole milk, honey, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Stir constantly while mixture boils for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour mixture into prepared pan—it will seem thin. Tilt pan slightly to coat evenly. Scatter 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans evenly over the topping. Refrigerate full pan while you prepare the rolls.
Make the dough. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Set aside. In a small saucepan, heat whole milk and butter until they reach 115F and are hot to the touch. Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients, followed by beaten egg and yolk. Stir in remaining flour in 2 tablespoon installments, just until a smooth, soft dough forms. Dough is ready when it pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Knead dough on a floured surface for 5-6 minutes. Form into a ball and place in an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Make the filling. In a small bowl, mash together softened butter, dark brown sugar, and cinnamon.
On a floured surface, roll dough into an 8×14-inch rectangle. Leaving a 1/2-inch perimeter around the rectangle, spread cinnamon-sugar mixture over the dough. Scatter reserved 1/2 cup pecans and sliced bananas evenly over the top. Starting at the long edge furthest from you, roll the dough into a tight roll. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice 12 even rolls.
Remove pan with topping from the refrigerator. Place rolls close together over the top of the pecans. Cover pan loosely with foil and allow rolls to rise for 60-90 minutes in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375F. Uncover rolls and bake for 25-30 minutes, tenting with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.
Let cooked rolls rest in the pan on a rack for 3 minutes. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan. Place a large serving plate upside down on top of the pan. Wearing oven mitts, tightly grab the plate and the pan and flip them over, inverting the rolls onto the plate. Remove pan. Nudge any leftover topping onto the rolls and smooth to distribute evenly. Serve warm.
Banana Pecan Sticky Buns are best the day they are made. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for a couple of days.