These sticky pecan bites, which are kind of like mini-pecan sticky rolls, are the best way to get your caramel-y, buttery, nutty fix fast. Easy as can be.
Think bite-sized sticky buns without the time-consuming yeast dough. Rich, tender, cakey, with a bit of caramely brown sugar goop. These little cheaters are made with a quick stirred-together cream biscuit concoction. Too simple for words.–Alice Medrich
What to expect from these sticky pecan bites
Everyone, it seems, expects something a little different from a sticky bun. So while these buttery little bites are really quite irresistible, just to be clear, they’re not the puffy, yeasty rolls of your childhood that, incidentally, took hours to make, roll, rise, and bake. These are more like scones with their denser, chewier substantialness, their shy sweetness, their dough that comes together in mere minutes.
And you can tweak them to your preference. If you’re particularly fond of caramely loveliness, double the filling. Like your sticky buns exceptionally moist? Err on the low end of the baking time. Partial to pecans? Chop some and add them to the filling. And so forth and so on. You get the idea.
Sticky Pecan Bites
- 1 miniature muffin pan with 24 cups or 2 miniature muffin pans with 12 cups each
- 24 pecan halves
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour plus more for the work surface
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt plus additional for sprinkling
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup packed brown or muscovado sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter very soft, plus more for the muffin cups
- Place a pecan half in each muffin cup, top side down. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or fork.
- Make a well in the center. Pour the cream into the well. Use a rubber spatula to fold and stir the flour mixture and cream together just until the dry ingredients are completely moistened and a soft dough is formed. The dough won't look perfectly smooth. Let the dough rest for 2 to 3 minutes to firm.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.
- On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough to a rectangle about 12 by 7 inches and 1/4 inch thick.
- Use a small offset spatula or your fingertips to spread the dough with the soft butter, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt and the brown sugar, leaving a 1/8 to 1/4 inch border. Press the seam to seal. Starting at one short end, roll the dough tightly. Gently stretch the dough to lengthen the roll slightly to about 12 inches in length. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Lightly butter the muffin cups.
- Cut the dough roll crosswise into 24 equal pieces. (It's easiest to do this by cutting the dough in half, then cutting each half in half, then cutting each portion into 6 pieces. This math is easier than it sounds.) Place each piece of dough in a muffin cup, cut side up.
- Bake the sticky buns for 12 to 15 minutes, until browned. Rotate the pan(s) from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. (The longer you leave them in the oven, the crisper the edges but the drier the dough.)
- Immediately turn the buns out onto a sheet of parchment on a heatproof surface. (And we do mean immediately, otherwise the buns may stick to the pan.) Serve warm.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These sticky pecan bites are definitely going into our morning rotation! These flaky, sweet cinnamon bites are some of the quickest breakfast treats I’ve made in a long time. Flour, cream, and baking powder—who knew it could be so simple?
While the “dough” was resting, I mixed the sugar and cinnamon, then rolled it all out in a flash. I had to squish my slices a bit so they would fit into the mini-muffin pan, but I did end up with 24 pieces easily.
They baked in 15 minutes. Not all of the pecans stuck to the rolls, but you do need to turn them out of the pan while they’re still warm, or the sugar will stiffen and everything will stick. Definitely eat them that morning (while warm) and you’ll have a tender, flaky, sugary treat.
I absolutely love sticky buns, and when I saw this pecan sticky bites recipe, I knew I had to make it that very day. I loved it. It was very easy to follow, and the bites were so tender and yummy.
When I make them again, I’ll double the cinnamon because I prefer a more pronounced cinnamon flavor. They really are best eaten the day they’re made—however, with a few seconds in the microwave, they were still delicious the next morning with coffee.
I thought this pecan sticky bites recipe was well-written and easy to follow. My pecan sticky bites came out looking and tasting delicious. My only suggestion would be to make the yield larger. I wanted to bring them to a work holiday party, but felt there weren’t enough. Possibly doubling the recipe to make 48 bites would be more conducive to serving to family and friends.
At the end of a cold day when one craves something hot and sweet, this is an easy, quick recipe you can turn to. These pecan sticky bites are meant to be eaten warm.
I followed the recipe fairly closely, but the only changes I made were using walnuts instead of pecans, and using slightly less brown sugar. Next time, I’ll pour the cream in slowly, and only as required.
On first reading, I thought this was a rather lightweight recipe. I mean, a biscuit rolled with cinnamon sugar didn’t seem very special. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. Everyone loved the little bites, including their flavors and texture.
Next time, I’d use more nuts. It’s best to eat these right away, but the recipe is so quick and easy that making them last-minute is no problem.
These cute little pecan sticky bites are so simple to make that it’s almost embarrassing. The dough is basically the same as that of cream scones. Of course, you don’t get the comforting yeasty flavour and puffy billowiness of yeast rolls, but these come together so quickly. They’d be a snap to make for breakfast or brunch for company.
I like that you sprinkle the rolled out dough with salt as well as the butter and Muscovado sugar. The only drawback is that I’d love for them to be stickier—there’s not quite enough goo for me! The yield was 24 mini-muffin-sized bites, but I wound up with 20.
These little upside down pecan rolls are tasty sweet bites.
This is another one of those recipes I couldn’t mess up if I tried. Well, I didn’t exactly try to make a mess of it, but I did make several missteps along the way, and these still came out pretty well.
Next time, I’ll make sure the dough is rolled tightly, and that the diameter of the roll is commensurate with filling the pinwheels into mini-muffin tins without a lot of difficulty. Mine were far too large, and had to be squished into the mini-muffin cups. I possibly could have mis-measured. I also don’t think I rolled the dough tightly enough, as a fair amount of the cinnamon filling fell out after I cut them.
In addition, I also may have been too cautious about stretching the dough, since I had to stretch it pretty thin if I wanted to get 24 pieces out of it.
I baked these for a party, and made them again today. Everyone liked them.
The second time, I added more heavy cream, more brown sugar, and more butter. I also brushed them with heavy cream so they browned much nicer. I found the first batch a little too dry, but the second batch was much better—light and gooey. The rolls can be made so quickly, so I’ll use this recipe again.
Originally published January 23, 2021