Caramel-pecan sticky buns are here to stay

April 21, 2012 8:32:36 PM PDT
At the charming new Baker & Nosh in Uptown, freshly-baked bread is the order of the day. But their sticky buns have also become beloved. Dough is rolled up with sweet honey-butter and crunchy nuts or raisins, then placed onto a sheet tray with more honey, butter and brown sugar on it.

"Once they're done we take them out and flip them over so the honey butter just sort of melts all over the top," said co-owner Bill Millholland.

Downtown at Luxbar, known for its late-nights and cocktails, they also serve a weekend brunch to locals and tourists. Part of that means offering a sticky bun.

"It's sweet for breakfast, good with coffee. You can take it home and finish it up in the afternoon with a cup of coffee," said chef J.R. Luna.

A shower of sugar and cinnamon is spread over the rolled-out dough; then handfuls of flour, sugar and butter; finally, a few handfuls of chopped pecans. Spoonfuls of caramel and pecans go into the bottom of the muffin tin, then the dough is cut into equal strips, rolled up and placed into the tin, on top of the caramel. Once the bun is baked, it's flipped out, then drizzled with sweet frosting.

"It caramelizes right on top of the sticky bun. And then when you flip it over, it comes out oozing out on the side of the bun," Luna said.

At the Four Seasons, every brunch at the new Allium restaurant begins with a sticky bun.. part of the chef's plan to get diners into the spirit of brunch.

"We gotta have something sort of a really ooey gooey, breakfast bread thing. So, that when people sit down it's instant and they have something to eat right away while they peruse the menu," said Executive Chef Kevin Hickey.

Hickey starts with cinnamon sugar on the dough, then cuts it into triangles, places them into a cast-iron pan and pipes on a sweet-and-rich butter/cinnamon/sugar spread. Chopped pecans finish it off, and after it's baked, the sections actually pull apart easily.

"With the Pulls Apart, you break them up into little pieces, they bake together but then they pull apart real easy. So it kind of portions itself naturally," he said.

Now Hickey said he was going to experiment with the first part of the brunch menu, offering coffee cake, doughnuts or cinnamon rolls, but when the sticky bun are this good; why mess with it?

Sticky buns can also be found at places like Lula Cafe in Logan Square and Floriole Bakery in Lincoln Park.

Allium at the Four Seasons Hotel
120 E. Delaware Pl. 7th floor
(312) 799-4900

18 E. Bellevue Pl.
(312) 642-3400

Baker & Nosh
1303 W. Wilson Ave.
(773) 989-7393