This post has been sponsored by McCormick. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Ooey gooey Brioche Sticky Buns with Pecans and Date Butter are a gourmet twist on a classic breakfast pastry. Filled with date butter, spiced brown sugar, tons of dried fruit, and pecans, these sticky buns made from scratch are simply the best and make for a perfect holiday breakfast.
Close to 15 years ago, I was introduced to the classic sticky bun. All growing up, I had one breakfast pastry love and that was cinnamon rolls. Oh my heavens, though, sticky buns are a fantastic breakfast treat that you need to treat yourself to once in a while. Especially during the holiday season.
And knowing me, you know that I had to make a gourmet twist on this old fashioned sticky bun recipe.
Thanks to spices like McCormick® Cinnamon, McCormick® Cloves, and McCormick® Ginger, making these sticky buns gourmet was super simple. And the best part is that you can find all of the ingredients you need to make these at Albertsons, which is a breeze.
Everything can be found in the baking aisle, and their mobile app makes shopping super convenient—which is what you need during the holidays.
What is the Difference Between Sticky Buns and Cinnamon Rolls
Like I had mentioned earlier, cinnamon rolls were my jam growing up. I still love to treat myself to an occasional roll like once a year. But they are completely different than sticky buns.
First: Cinnamon rolls are filled with sweet cinnamon butter and then usually served with a cream cheese glaze. They’re simple and straight forward.
Sticky buns are ooey and gooey and usually have lots of fun fillings. When I was first introduced to sticky buns, they were just filled with pecans and raisins and baked in a pan with caramel sauce on the bottom. When they’re done baking, they’re flipped over and the sauce covers the buns.
How to Make Homemade Brioche Sticky Buns
I’m going to be upfront with you. These sticky buns aren’t like your grandma’s sticky buns. But they are well worth all of the effort you will put into making these. Here’s what goes into my brioche sticky buns:
- Brioche dough
- Date butter
- Spiced brown sugar
- Dried fruit (dates, raisins, and golden raisins)
- Toffee/ caramel sauce
Let’s go over each component first so you understand how each works.
Making Brioche Dough
Brioche. I wish I could just feed you some fresh brioche instead of trying to describe it to you. Brioche is a super tender and buttery loaf of bread that comes from France. Every restaurant, it seems, tries to use brioche for any kind of sandwich and burger out there, which is cool, but I feel like it really doesn’t do this bread any justice.
I think the perfect use for brioche is a) French Toast or b) bread pudding. Oh, and these sticky buns.
The key to making a great loaf of brioche is to slowly add butter to the dough and allow each addition to be fully incorporated before chilling. This makes sure that butter is fully mixed into the dough, allowing the final braked bread to be tender and flaky.
It’s super important to keep your brioche dough cold due to the butter. When I let my brioche rest and proof, I do so in the fridge. This keeps the butter from getting too warm and ruining the final texture.
It’s helpful to work with the dough while your hands are greased to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. I like to just spritz my hands with some cooking oil before handling.
What is Date Butter and Why Should You Put It In Your Sticky Buns
I got this idea for adding date butter to sticky buns first when I had tried a recipe for apple butter cinnamon rolls. Shut. The. Front. Door.
Apple butter is such a delicious condiment and one of my favorite fall treats. When I began to think about sticky buns with pecans and raisins, I thought that naturally, dates would be a perfect addition to the filling.
Then I thought, well, why don’t you make a date butter and then slather that inside of the sticky bun dough before rolling it??? Great idea, Marlee.
Date butter is slightly the same concept as apple butter, but dates don’t have as much moisture in them as apples do. To make my version of date butter, I add some apple juice to my dates to help the dates soften. It also adds a nice natural sweetness to the date butter.
The addition of cinnamon sticks and whole cloves also gives the date butter a bit of spice to it that is perfect for fall/the holiday season.
When the dates are plump and rehydrated, a quick spin in the blender is all it takes to make a smooth date butter that you can spread on bread… or sticky buns!
Spiced Brown Sugar
I picked up this nifty trick years ago at a restaurant I worked. I was helping with closing and cleaning duties and watching the overnight bakers getting their work started. Brunch was happening the next day, so they were getting various brunch pastries ready—including cinnamon rolls.
I saw one of the bakers smear a sweet cinnamon butter all over the dough and then sprinkle brown sugar on top. She told me, with a smirk, that that’s why our cinnamon rolls always sold out during brunch. She was (is) a genius and it’s something I’ve always done since.
To make this a bit more special and to reflect the spice going on in the date butter, I took similar spices and mixed them within the brown sugar. The result is a spiced sweetness that you can truly taste in the final baked sticky buns if you take the time to savor the flavor.
For this spiced brown sugar mix, I added spices from McCormick like McCormick® Cinnamon, McCormick® Clove, and McCormick® Ginger. These spices add a nice warmth to the sticky buns to offset all of the sweet flavors going on. I love using McCormick Spices because what’s in the container are just pure spices and no fillers. They’re Non-GMO as well, which is something good that you can feel about while eating these treats.
Sticky Bun Fillings
In traditional, old fashioned sticky buns, they’re typically filled with toasted pecans and raisins. This is awesome, but making a recipe for the holidays means making something a bit special.
I kept to the traditional pecans and raisins but thought that the addition of dates and golden raisins would add another level of flavor as well as some fun texture and color!
If you’re not a fan of pecans, try out walnuts or almonds instead! And if you’re not into raisins, currants would be a great substitute to use.
Sticky Bun Glaze
Alright. I have an unpopular opinion.
I don’t like caramel sauce.
There. I said it. It’s out there. But hear me out.
When I was developing this recipe, I did make a batch with caramel sauce and then I made some with toffee sauce. I even asked for others opinions. The majority voted on the toffee sauce. However, making the sticky bun glaze can easily be caramel instead of toffee if you are team caramel.
Caramel and toffee sauces are basically the same thing except for different sugars. Caramel sauce is made with white sugar and toffee sauce is made with brown sugar. However, the same technique is used to make both.
Whenever making one of these sauces, please please please do not stir the sugar around at all. Stirring sugar creates crystals that won’t break down with heat, resulting in a grainy sauce. If you need to move sugar around, simply swirl the pan in a circular motion which is a lot more of a gentle movement than stirring.
I do stir the sugar when I incorporate butter and cream into the sauce since all of the sugar grains have dissolved. Be careful when adding butter and cream because this will cause the sugar to bubble up within the sauce pot.
As a finale to the sauce, I always love adding a touch of McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract (the real stuff) to the sauce just to highlight the caramelized flavor. I like McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract because it doesn’t contain any corn syrup and it’s just a plain and pure extract of the vanilla bean.
Putting Brioche Sticky Buns Together
Now that we’ve gone over the different components, it’s time to put all of them together to make delicious homemade brioche sticky buns.
I first like to start by putting some of the toffee sauce in the bottom of the sticky bun pan so that it cools before putting the rolled sticky buns in. Then, I top the sauce with pecans and the dried fruit.
When it comes to rolling out the brioche dough, you will be tempted to let it warm up at room temp. Don’t! We want the butter to stay cool, so keep it in the fridge for as long as you can before you work with it.
It’s important to flour your work surface really well to prevent the dough from sticking to the surface, much like pie dough. Also, dust your rolling pin with some flour as well.
Working with the dough by rolling from the middle out; roll the dough until it’s about ¼” thick and pretty rectangular.
Working with the dough by rolling from the middle out, roll the dough until it’s about ¼” thick and pretty rectangular.
Once the dough is nice and flat, you can go to town with the fillings. I like to let my date butter warm up just a tad before spreading to make sure that spreading doesn’t create holes in the dough. Then, sprinkle the spiced brown sugar liberally all over! Same with the pecans and dried fruit.
During this whole process, it’s important to leave a slight border all around the dough for ease of rolling and to prevent the filling from falling out while rolling.
The key to making a nice swirl to a rolled pastry is to roll tightly. Having a well-floured surface makes this easy as you are able to adjust the pastry dough closer to you while rolling. Start from the long side and roll upwards, tucking in the sides as you go, and I like to give the whole roll a few nice little squeezes down the whole roll to make sure that there aren’t any uneven places.
Cutting the rolls isn’t super tricky if you do it as I do. I like to start from the middle and cut the roll in half. Then, I cut each half in half, and then those quarters in half. If you want smaller rolls, you can squeeze 16 rolls out of this but I like fat suckers, so I kept it at 8.
Place each roll on top of the sticky bun glaze and toppings, and you are ready to roll.
How Long to Bake Brioche Sticky Buns
Typically, I like to make sticky buns the night before I want to have them for breakfast; this is a great overnight recipe. Once I have placed my sticky buns in my prepared pan, I then wrap them with plastic wrap and allow them to “proof,” or double in size, overnight in the fridge.
When it’s time to bake these rolls, a nice warm oven, preheated to 350 degrees, is perfect and they’re ready in about 35 minutes.
Once the buns are done in the oven, I let them sit for about 3 minutes to rest before I flip over the pan and let the sauce drizzle over the sticky buns.
I also make plenty of my sticky bun glaze so I can pour more over all of the buns so that they’re extra ooey and gooey.
How Do You Store Sticky Buns
Once these brioche sticky buns are made, you can store them in the fridge in the same pan they were baked, covered, for about 7 days (they’ll be long gone before then I promise).
You can also opt to freeze them to eat much later. Just place them in a freezer-safe bag and freeze until ready to eat. I would reheat them in the oven, covered with foil to keep the moistness, until they were warm in the middle. An oven-safe thermometer stuck in the middle of the bun would be a perfect way to tell when they were hot enough.
I really hope that you enjoy this recipe! Using brioche dough is really the way to go with making sticky buns, and I know that you’ll enjoy the date butter in the middle.
Please leave a comment down below with your experience of these sticky buns, along with a rating!
Check out these other delectable breakfast recipes:
- Cinnamon Roll French Toast
- Cottage Cheese Pancakes
- Summer Mixed Berry Compote
- Fresh Cranberry Scones
- Apple Pie Streusel Muffins
- .25 ounces yeast
- 1.25 ounces warm water
- 12 ounces bread flour
- 1.3 ounces white sugar
- .25 ounces salt
- 6 ounces eggs
- 8 ounces butter, room temp
- 8 ounces pitted dates
- 1 cup apple juice
- 3 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
Spiced Brown Sugar
- 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon McCormick Ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon McCormick Cloves
Sticky Bun Glaze
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Vanilla Extract
Sticky Bun Filling and Topping
- ¾ cup chopped pecans, toasted
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup pitted dates, chopped
- ½ cup golden raisins
- Bloom yeast in warm water for about 5 minutes (until it’s foamy looking).
- Add dry ingredients to yeast and begin to knead dough until it comes together in a ball. Slowly add room temperature butter to the brioche dough and wait until each addition is fully incorporated before adding another ounce of butter. Once all butter has been added, cover the top of the mixing bowl and allow the brioche dough to rise in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Place dates and apple juice in a small saucepot. Wrap cinnamon stick and whole cloves in cheesecloth and place in the saucepot, alternatively add the whole spices into the pot and remove with a slotted spoon once dates have reconstituted. Heat the saucepot over medium heat and boil until dates soften. Allow to cool and remove spices. Blend in a stand blender or immersion blender. Allow to cool in the fridge.
Spiced Brown Sugar
- Mix spices and brown sugar together in a small bowl until well mixed.
Sticky Bun Glaze
- Place brown sugar in a medium saucepot and pour enough water in the pot until sugar looks like wet sand. Heat the pot over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Stir in butter carefully and heavy cream until smooth. Add vanilla extract and cool. Pour half into the bottom of an 8x8” square pan, reserve the other half for topping baked sticky buns.
- Sprinkle half of the pecans and dried fruit on the sauce in the pan and allow the sauce to cool.
Putting Sticky Buns Together
- Flour work surface with flour and dust your rolling pin. Place the brioche dough on the flour and begin to roll dough, from the middle out towards the outer edge, until it’s ¼” thick. Rotate the dough if need be to keep the dough from sticking.
- Spread the date butter on the brioche dough, leaving a border around the dough. Sprinkle spiced brown sugar evenly over the dough. Sprinkle other half of the pecans and dried fruit evenly over the brioche dough.
- Tightly roll the brioche dough starting with the long side facing you, to create the spirals in the sticky buns. Cut the roll into 8 equal pieces. Place them into the saucepan and wrap with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge and allow to proof overnight or 8 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, remove plastic wrap, and place sticky buns in oven. Bake 35 minutes or until golden brown and firm.
- Allow sticky buns to sit for about 3 minutes before flipping over. Pour remaining sticky bun glaze over sticky buns. Serve immediately.
*This recipe can easily be doubled to make more for a bigger holiday breakfast.
*If you are team caramel, switch out brown sugar for white sugar to make a caramel sauce for these sticky buns.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 822Total Fat 40gSaturated Fat 20gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 161mgSodium 586mgCarbohydrates 111gFiber 6gSugar 69gProtein 11g
This nutrition information is just an estimate.