Cranberry Sticky Buns


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Red Star Yeast.  As always, all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Sticky buns on Christmas morning are a tradition in my family.  When I was growing up, there was a sweet woman in our church who would deliver freshly baked sticky buns each Christmas Eve for us to enjoy on Christmas morning.  After my family moved, my mom kept the tradition going, baking sticky buns herself and dropping them off for us to enjoy.

Over the last few years, I’ve started doing the baking myself.  After one taste of the famous sticky buns at Flour Bakery in Boston, I started making the brioche buns from the cookbook each year. They are always a hit. They’re super rich, so I only make them once a year for Christmas.  But, oh, they are worth it!

This year, I decided to mix it up a bit and work on a new recipe of my own.  I stuck to brioche for the rolls, but I scaled back another recipe that I’ve made in the past. The original recipe made enough brioche to feed an army, so I cut back the recipe to make just enough to fit in a 9 by 13-inch pan.  To make the buns just a bit more festive, I decided to fill them with cranberries and pecans and make a sticky cranberry topping (instead of the usual pecans).


It took a few tries to get it right (too much dark sugar, not enough cranberries, you get the picture), and I’ve eaten far too many brioche rolls in the past few weeks, but the resulting recipe is definitely a new favorite. The brioche has just a bit of orange zest to compliment the cranberries. And, the cranberry topping is the right balance of sweet and tart.  My family (who quickly became my taste testers when they were visiting a few weeks ago) loved the rolls, and I’m rather smitten myself.


In addition to developing a new recipe for our annual Christmas sticky buns, this recipe will also be featured on the Red Star Yeast website. Instead of baking one of their recipes this month, they asked me to create one of my own!


As always, I’ve included step-by-step photos of the recipe to guide you while you are baking. It’s not often that I will tell you that you need a stand mixer to bake bread, but I’d highly recommend it when you are baking brioche.  A hand mixer won’t cut it, and doing it by hand requires a lot of elbow grease. Of course, I’m always happy to answer your questions, and you can always reach out to Red Star Yeast on Facebook and Twitter, as well!

So, tell me… What are your family’s traditions? Do you have a favorite recipe that you make each year? Or, are you looking for something new this year?


Cranberry Sticky Buns
Makes one 9 by 13-inch pan, 12 rolls
(Loosely adapted from the Flour Bakery + Cafe cookbook and Baking & Pastry)

For the dough:

  • 3 cups bread flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 packet) Red Star Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • ½ cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

For the topping:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup eggnog (or cream)
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries

For the filling:

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup pecans
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and orange zest in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Whisk to combine.  Add the milk and eggs. Attach the dough hook to the mixer, and mix on low speed for 3 – 4 minutes, until the dough starts to come together.


Continuing to mix on low speed, gradually add the softened butter, a tablespoon at a time, mixing until the butter is incorporated into the dough before adding more. Once all of the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium (I use the 3rd setting on my stand mixer) and mix for 15 minutes.  The dough should be smooth and shiny.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.


The next day, prepare the topping for the rolls. Combine the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir occasionally, cooking until the sugar has dissolved and the sauce starts to bubble slightly.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the eggnog (or cream). Let cool for 30 minutes.  Then, pour the topping into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan and sprinkle the cranberries over the topping. Set aside.

To prepare the filling, combine the cranberries, pecans, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor.  Pulse until the cranberries and pecans are well chopped and all of the ingredients are combined. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.


Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer to a lightly floured surface.  The dough will feel a bit like cold play dough. Roll the dough out into an 18-inch by 10-inch rectangle. Spread the cranberry filling over the dough and roll up starting with the long edge.


Cut the roll into 12 even slices, and place the slices cut-side up in the baking pan, nestling them down into the cranberries and topping. Cover the pan with a damp towel, and let the rolls rise until slightly puffy, about two hours.


As the rolls finish rising, preheat the oven to 350F.  Bake the rolls for 40 – 45 minutes, until the tops are a deep golden brown. Let the rolls cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before inverting each roll individually to serve.


My Kitchen Addiction Disclosure – This post was sponsored by Red Star Yeast.  Though I have been compensated to write this post, all opinions expressed are my own.

Please Note – The links to the Flour Bakery + Cafe and Baking & Pastry cookbooks provided in this post are Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase the cookbook (or another item) after purchasing on my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale price, which helps to keep My Kitchen Addiction up and running. Thanks!

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