Caramel Apple Sticky Buns





Fall bak­ing is my favorite nation­al pas­time, and the fact that it over­laps with the Jew­ish High Hol­i­days typ­i­cal­ly means that my oven is always on. These sticky buns are a prod­uct of autum­nal week­end get­aways to the Hud­son Val­ley in New York where my hus­band and I put on our cozi­est turtle­necks and head to a local farm to pick a bushel of apples for me to play with, since nat­u­ral­ly our Airbnb is cho­sen based on the kitchen. Inspired by con­stant vis­its to Bread Alone Bak­ery for their sticky buns and sweets, I fused the pas­try with the Rosh Hashanah motif of apples and hon­ey to cre­ate a mar­gin­al­ly health­i­er take on the break­fast treat. Between the com­bo of fresh apples and apple but­ter that melts into the warm, fluffy buns and the hon­ey caramel that sat­u­rates the whole dish, this recipe is a cin­na­mon-scent­ed alarm clock that will wake up the whole house. As I write this, I can hear my moth­er in the back of my head, guilt­ing me for not adding nuts to these buns, since she would like just about any baked good that comes out of my oven to be stud­ded with wal­nuts. Lis­ten, if you’re so inclined, you can chop up a cup of wal­nuts or pecans to sprin­kle over the fill­ing before you roll up the dough. How­ev­er, sticky buns are one of the few things that I do not need tex­tur­al con­trast with, so I’m not going to mess with a good thing. I just think it’s more impor­tant to stress that I don’t want none unless you got buns, hun.


1 cup whole milk, heat­ed to 115°F

½ cup (100g) gran­u­lat­ed sugar

1 (¼‑ounce)packet active dry yeast(2¼ teaspoons)

2 large eggs

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalt­ed but­ter, melted

4½ cups (608g) all-pur­pose flour

¼ cup packed (50g) dark brown sugar

1 tea­spoon kosher salt

2 table­spoons veg­etable oil, for greasing


4 ounces (1 stick) unsalt­ed but­ter, melted

1½ cups packed (300g) dark brown sugar

⅓ cup honey

1 tea­spoon kosher salt

½ cup apple butter

2 table­spoons ground cinnamon

2 Hon­ey­crisp apples, peeled, cored, and fine­ly chopped

1. For the dough: In the bowl of a stand mix­er fit­ted with the whisk attach­ment, whisk togeth­er the milk and gran­u­lat­ed sug­ar. Sprin­kle the yeast over the top and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 min­utes. With the mix­er run­ning on medi­um speed, add the eggs, fol­lowed by the melt­ed but­ter, and mix until well incor­po­rat­ed. Switch to the dough hook, then add the flour, brown sug­ar, and salt to the bowl. Begin­ning on low speed and grad­u­al­ly increas­ing to medi­um, knead until a smooth, elas­tic dough forms, about 5 minutes.

2. Grease a medi­um bowl and your hands with the oil. Using your hands, trans­fer the dough to the bowl, gen­tly turn­ing it to coat it with the oil and shape it into a smooth ball. Cov­er with plas­tic wrap or a clean kitchen tow­el and set aside in a warm place until dou­bled in size, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

3. For the sticky stuff and fill­ing: In a medi­um bowl, stir togeth­er the melt­ed but­ter, brown sug­ar, hon­ey, and salt until smooth. Spread half of this mix­ture even­ly over the bot­tom of a 9 by 13-inch bak­ing pan. Add the apple but­ter and cin­na­mon to the brown sug­ar mix­ture remain­ing in the bowl and stir until well incorporated.

4. Once the dough has risen, trans­fer it to a light­ly floured sur­face. Roll it out into a 12 by 18-inch rec­tan­gle, about ½ inch thick, aligned hor­i­zon­tal­ly. Spread the apple but­ter mix­ture in an even lay­er over the dough, leav­ing a 1‑inch bor­der at the top, then sprin­kle the apples over the apple but­ter mix­ture. Start­ing with the edge clos­est to you, roll up the dough tight­ly, then slice it cross­wise into 12 (1½-inch-thick) disks. Place them cut-side down in the pre­pared bak­ing pan. Cov­er with plas­tic wrap or a clean kitchen tow­el and set aside in a warm place, until they’ve puffed to fill out the pan, 45 min­utes to 1 hour.

5. Mean­while, pre­heat the oven to 350°F.6. Bake the sticky buns for 40 to 45 min­utes, until gold­en brown and risen. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 min­utes. Place a plat­ter over the bak­ing pan and invert them togeth­er, then remove the pan to reveal the sticky buns. Serve warm.

Excerpt­ed from JEW-ISH: A COOK­BOOK: Rein­vent­ed Recipes from a Mod­ern Men­sch © 2021 by Jake Cohen. Pho­tog­ra­phy © 2021 by Matt Tay­lor-Gross. Repro­duced by per­mis­sion of Mariner Books, an imprint of Harper­Collins Pub­lish­ers. All rights reserved.

Jake Cohen is a NYT Best­selling cook­book author and nice Jew­ish boy from NYC. A for­mer food staffer at Saveur, food edi­tor of Tast­ing Table, restau­rant crit­ic of Time Out New York, and edi­to­r­i­al direc­tor of the Feed­feed, Jake wrote his first book, Jew-ish, about his love of mod­ern Jew­ish cook­ing and bak­ing. When he isn’t con­tribut­ing to out­lets like Food Net­work Kitchen, Food52, and Food & Wine, he’s post­ing chal­lah-braid­ing videos and recipes on his Insta­gram and Tik­Tok (@jakecohen). He lives in NYC with his hus­band, Alex.