Choclate-Pecan Morning Buns

It was serendipitous that my June Bon Appetit magazine arrived at a time when I had become obsessed with recreating a recipe for morning buns that I couldn’t stop thinking about, even years after I had first tasted them (please see Rehab and Chocolate for the full backstory).

Sadly, to do recipe development you have to make something over and over again until you get what you are looking for. Unfortunately, even I can’t eat that many morning buns, no matter how much I like them. So what is a girl to do? Force your spouse to take them to work and make his coworkers eat them, of course! Actually, I felt like I had already nailed down all the changes I wanted to make, but I did need an excuse to make them again. And, more importantly, a way to get rid of more than half of them so I wouldn’t eat them. And everybody knows that in the office setting, people will eat ANYTHING. Let’s just hope it was actually worthy of being eaten.

Karen from Back Road Journal had said that my not sharing the recipe was just simply mean. So Karen, this post is for you!

Choclate-Pecan Morning Buns (adapted from Bon Appetit’s Ultimate Sticky Bun )

Butter-Pecan Topping
•2 cups coursely chopped pecans
•1/2cup(1 stick) unsalted butter
•3/4cup(packed) dark brown sugar
•3/4cupheavy cream
•1/3cuphoney
•1/4teaspoonkosher salt
•1/4teaspoonfinely grated orange zest

Topping
•Preheat oven to 350°. Spread out nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant and slightly darkened, 10–12 minutes. Let cool completely. Set 1 cup of nuts aside for bun filling.

•Melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, cream, honey, salt, and orange zest, if using. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until glaze is golden brown and glossy, 3–4 minutes. Add 1 cup of the chopped pecans. Pour just enough of the glaze into baking pan, tilting to coat bottom and sides. Reduce remaining glaze until somewhat thick. Set aside and let cool.

Cinnamon-Butter Filling
•1/2cup(1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
•1/2cup(packed) dark brown sugar
•3/4teaspoonground cinnamon
•1/2teaspoonfreshly grated nutmeg
•1/8teaspoonkosher salt
1 cup fig jam
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup roughly chopped 70% chocolate

• Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and kosher salt in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Set filling aside.

Bun Assembly

•All-purpose flour (for dusting)
•1large egg
•Coarse sea salt (such as Maldon)

• Punch down dough; transfer to a floured work surface. Lightly dust top with flour. Roll out into a rectangle about 1/4″ thick.
Starting with the cinnamon-butter filling, spread over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1.5″ border on 3 sides and a 2″ border on one of the longer sides.
• Continue to layer the toppings on top of the butter – fig jam first, then sprinkle evenly with both the pecans and the chocolate.
Starting on the long side with the 1.5″ border, begin rolling the dough. Keep an eye out for the ends, as you don’t want your filling to spill out. The filling will begin to push toward your final edge, which is OK, as long as you keep it contained. Use that extra edging to pull the roll closed.
Using a sharp knife, cut the rolls into 1″ slices and carefully place on top of the butter-pecan glaze in your pans. I find that placing them cut side down is best, as I can use my hand to hold the topping in place on the original open side.
Place a towel or plastic wrap over the rolls and allow to rise for about 2 hours.

• Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°. Whisk egg with 1/2 tsp. water in a small bowl. Brush tops of buns with egg wash. Bake, rotating pan halfway through and tenting with foil if browning too quickly, until buns are golden brown, filling is bubbling, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of buns registers 185°, about 50 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Spoon the remaining butter-pecan mixture over buns. Lightly sprinkle sea salt over. Serve buns warm or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

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