Burnt Sticky Buns

February 23, 2009 | By | COMMENTS


What’s there to say when you burn your sticky buns? It’s a pretty unkind thing to do. On a Sunday morning, you pique everyone’s interest with rumors of sticky bun making; then you roll them, pop them in the oven, and fill the apartment with a wonderful smell. And then you burn them. What kind of a person are you? Not a very good one, I imagine.

Let us not blame the recipe, which comes from the Barefoot Contessa. It’s a neat little trick: you buy puff pastry and let it defrost for 40 minutes on the counter.


You preheat the oven to 400 and beat 12 Tbs of butter and 1/3rd a cup of light brown sugar in a mixer (note: that amount is for 12 sticky buns, in which case you need two sheets of puff pastry. I ended up wasting butter b/c I only wanted 6 sticky buns.)


You put 1 Tbs of the butter/sugar mixture into each compartment of a muffin tin:


Then you realize you only want 6 sticky buns and you wipe the unnecessary butter out. Again: I wasted butter.

Now, once the puff pastry is defrosted you top it with 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsps cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of raisins–leaving a one inch border all around.


You roll it up:


You slice off the ends and then you cut the whole thing in half. Each half divide into 3, yielding 6 sticky buns:


Don’t they look pretty?

Now plop them on top of the butter in the muffin tins:


Place in the oven for 30 minutes “until the sticky buns are golden to dark brown on top and firm to the touch.”

This is where I messed up: I should’ve checked them sooner. I just waited the 30 minutes and when I took them out, they were burned beyond repair:


Isn’t that a sad display? Can you imagine anything sadder?

Still, we picked out the middles and they tasted good. So I guess it’s not that sad, in the grand scheme of things. And the happy news is that you can learn from my mistake, so heed this advice:

When making sticky buns, it’s best not to burn them.

P.S. I should say here that I’m not sure I love this recipe anyway. The parts we did eat tasted fine, but they were a bit too flaky for my tastes. I prefer my sticky buns doughier. My next sticky bun effort will not involve puff pastry.

Tags: , ,

Categories: Breakfast

  • jonathan

    I wonder if this is the end of your love affair with Ina????….?????

  • mel

    hey– you guys are coming to austin! yeah! we love our city, and hope you will enjoy it. sxsw is tons of fun. you can also com in sept for the austin city limits music festival–lots of good music. have you scoped out where you are going to eat? there is a wide variety of fun places– everything her is casual. ENJOY!

  • http://nottryingforaboy.com nottryingforaboy

    I’m a fan of the Pioneer Woman’s buns. I hate when stuff I’m making burns though. I can’t tell you how many loaves of french bread I’ve lost due to garlic bread making.

  • Kate

    Oh, that is indeed very sad. But I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who does these things–last week I burned a pan of Nutella brownies, for which I had sacrified AN ENTIRE JAR of Nutella! It was devastating. I still haven’t recovered.

  • Kate

    Oh, that is indeed very sad. But I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who does these things–last week I burned a pan of Nutella brownies, for which I had sacrified AN ENTIRE JAR of Nutella! It was devastating. I still haven’t recovered.

  • Jenny

    Use Rhodes frozen bread dough. Thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator, then stretch it out into a rectangle, spread butter over it, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon (you could put your raisins on at this point.) Roll it up, slice and put into one pan (not a muffin tin) that you have prepared by pouring in your mix of melted butter and brown sugar. The slices should be touching. After baking, turn the whole thing out on a big plate so all the caramelly stuff on the bottom will now be on the top and soak into the buns. Yum.

    (Don’t print my email, O.K.? I’m at work!)

  • http://www.sainttigerlily.blogspot.com Saint Tigerlily

    Awwww. That makes me sad. Try not to berate yourself. I always torture myself when I burn things. We’re humans. We burn stuff. :)

  • http://www.glutire.com Guiltless Glutton

    That is about the most tragic story I’ve read today. Oh, I would be so disappointed if that were me. I’m already disappointed, and I couldn’t have had the sticky buns anyway.

  • http://iamcecilia.blogspot.com Cecilia

    Dear Adam,

    In response to your tweet of around 4:30, as a proud Costa Rican, I have to say the only thing you should do with a chayote is make a truly brilliant picadillo (possibly with a spicy sausage), and serve it over rice.

    That is all.

  • http://smallkitchenbigideas.wordpress.com Sara

    From scratch with yeast dough is the best in my opinion.

    Saveur magazine has a good recipe.

    My mother uses a recipe combining The Better Homes and Garden and Betty Crocker Cookbooks and it turns out great every Christmas.

  • Alex

    Try using a yeasted puff dough, like for croissants. Your problem is that by the time your dough is ready to expand the sugar that’s exposed is already burnt. If you use something like a croissant dough then once its proofed it all cooks together without burning. I served somethng like these in a cafe I worked at. It was everyones favorite.

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    Very sad, indeed. And it has happened to me before. I do hope never again though, since I have tried to throw off the yoke of the recipe and cook w/my senses. Ina, Ina–I’m sure you meant well, but you had to know that not everyone would be lining up to bake in your oven. And everyone’s oven is different. Sill Ina…. :)

  • http://onlinepastrychef.wordpress.com/ Jenni

    PS Hope you had a very Happy Birthday. My guess is that, after the Great Sticky Bun Debacle, you didn’t even need any candles!

  • http://lesjoujou.blogspot.com Stephanie

    I hate when I burn things. At least you were able to eat the middles.

  • http://rpidrivestick.blogspot.com cara_mia

    I saw those buns on another blog this weekend, with a bit more…success than yours…

    I’ve emailed you my recipe for Cinnabon knock-offs. I guess they’re not the same, not even without the frosting?

  • http://sharon-thegoodlife.blogspot.com/ Sharon

    Ha! That very much reminds me of my recent almond cake debacle. I too picked at the middle but found it to still be delicious.

    My condolences.

    (It’s somewhat comforting to see you mess up from time to time. Isn’t that terrible? It makes the rest of us feel better about our own mishaps, I suppose. Thanks for your honesty.)

    And Happy Belated Birthday. :-)

  • http://inthekitchenwithz.wordpress.com Z

    This is sooooo something I’d do. I accidentally burned a whole pan of croutons last week after I promised everyone a fantastic batch. Oh well, it happens!

  • http://www.miriamleigh.com Miriam

    I’m pretty sure the best sticky bun recipe is in the the Foster’s Market cookbook by Sarah Foster. I will confirm when I get home, but I’m pretty darned sure. And they’re doughy.

  • http://foodnetworkaddict.com jacob

    I made these on Christmas Day for my family and found them too flaky and toooooooo sweet. The brown sugar was hard candy-like. But when Ina made them on GMA she said she liked them flaky, so we must do what Ina wants.

  • http://www.standingstraight.blogspot.com Claudia

    Sad, and I love sticky buns, fresh from the oven. I had a similar disaster (sort of) last night. I had bought Brussels sprouts because my husband loves them and wanted to try a recipe that sounded really good – roasted with olive oil and balsamic vinegar -

    and, of course, I went and left them in the oven too long. Still edible, but just.

  • http://www.dailycolander.com The Daily Colander

    GOD BLESS YOU! Thank you for posting this. I’ve done this so many times. You had the guts to post it. Bravo!

  • piccola

    If you want to make quick sticky buns, use biscuit dough — you could buy it premade, but really, it takes all of five minutes to put together. It’ll turn out doughier than the puff pastry.

  • http://makingitwithmeleyna.com meleyna

    P.S. I should say here that I’m not sure I love this recipe anyway. The parts we did eat tasted fine, but they were a bit too flaky for my tastes. I prefer my sticky buns doughier. My next sticky bun effort will not involve puff pastry.

    I completely agree with you on this. I just made these Saturday morning, and this was my exact reaction to them. See?


  • http://makingitwithmeleyna.com meelyna

    Sorry, its actually here, and it looks like someone linked it already anyway…

  • Sharon

    Try the Alton Brown overnight recipe. Amazing

  • http://mrswskitchen.blogspot.com Amanda

    Oh, man! Such a tragedy to lose perfect sticky buns.

    But–we all make mistakes, Adam, and I’m happy that you’ve shared one of yours. I rather enjoy reading about foodblogger mishaps… although I do mourn the loss of perfectly good ingredients.

  • Craig

    Anytime you don’t use all of the spaces in a muffin tin, you should fill the empty cups partially with water to keep the bare metal from getting too hot.

  • stephanana

    You are alright!! These are the kind of things, that happen to us all. But we hide them. Thanks for being real.

  • http://www.deglazing.com Nicky

    Hi Adam,

    Sorry to hear about your Sticky Bun diaster. I agree with you that I prefer a doughy sticky bun. Here’s a link to a great recipe that works for me every time

    http://deglazing.com/2007/03/06/little-sticky-buns-recipe-review/ I hope you get a chance to try them.



  • teddby

    butter waster

  • http://agirlhastoeat.com/ Agirlhastoeat

    Oh no! But I would have done exactly the same, picked out the bits in the middle and eaten them. Yum.

  • jane

    i would’ve been let down hard core

  • http://www.them-apples.co.uk them apples

    I did exactly the same thing with an alternative mince pie recipe last Christmas…the recipe was pretty much the same as yours, just replace the brown sugar for mincemeat, but the same thing happened. Burnt to a crisp and uttely disgusting.

    I wasn’t too impressed with my recipe. If it says ‘bake for 30 mins’, I wouldn’t expect complete incineration to occur within that time frame. Sure, you should check things out every now and again, but really, people have lives to live.

    I hate it when you invest time and effort into a recipe then pull it out of the oven, remated. It just gives me the rage.

  • ChloeM

    I did the exact same thing once – after all that work, burnt! But I started another batch because I just wanted those buns. Nothing like your own buns!

  • MAL

    Just a second “WORD!” for Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls. They might be a touch over-the-top (I only used about 3/4 of the butter that she recommends), but they’re no-fail and delicious! And bake ‘em up in a cake or pie tin – that way you keep the soft, chewy innards, and they’re probably less likely to burn.

  • fatima

    ohh no no no you should never put them in a muffin tin. first things first, you need to make your sauce, and then pour that in the bottom of your casserole dish. then you should put in pecans (or whatever nuts you would like to use, if any) THEN put the individuals buns in the dish, on top of the gooey sauce. let it sit for a while so that it rises. then bake as your recipe directs (probs at 350 until they are a deep golden brown on top)

    good luck! hope it turns out better next time :)