God bless my mother. There was a bakery in Sutton, Ontario called Alf’s that she would cart us to when visiting cottage country, and she would always let us order sticky buns, fully knowing the consequences. That there would be sweet, sticky syrup on the car, on clothes, on faces, and that fingers, waxed paper, everything would be licked to get those final bits of corn syrupy goodness into our bellies. I say us to include my brother and sister, but being older and much, much cooler than I am (even, or maybe especially, now), they could probably handle their sticky bun and not make quite as much of a mess as I surely did. But honestly, I can’t remember. I was too busy eating a sticky bun the approximate size of my chubby six-year old face. God bless my mother for never trying to dissuade me from my sticky bun fascination, for never trying to veer me towards a cookie instead.
But after all that, I’m not here to share a sticky bun recipe. This is a Sticky Bun Crown. A twisted wreath of maple caramel with walnuts and currants, perfect for slicing into cake wedges and drizzling with a simple glaze.
Unlike proper sticky buns, you don’t have to simmer an actual caramel on the stovetop to make these. Instead, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, and the nutty innards (walnuts and currants are given here, but you could use pecans and/or raisins just as easily) are simply mixed and spread over the yeasted dough, which is then rolled up, sliced in half, and twisted around itself before being nestled in a springform pan. It’s less hands-on time than making buns, but still impressive enough for a holiday brunch. If you want to prep the night before, refrigerate the crown after the second rising, then in the morning let it come back up to room temperate before baking.
This recipe was inspired by, and the dough is adapted from, The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book: The Essentials of Home Baking.
- 4 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbsp warm water
- 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 c + 1 tsp cane sugar
- 1/4 c grapeseed oil, or melted coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast
- 3-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup currants
- 3/4 cup walnut pieces
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup icing sugar
- 1 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
- In a small bowl or mug, mix ground flax and warm water and let sit until it has thickened.
- Place warm water in a large bowl, sprinkle in 1 tsp of sugar and yeast and let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.
- In another bowl, whisk almond milk, remaining sugar, and oil. Add to the yeast mixture along with the flax.
- Stir in the first three cups of flour, one cup at a time. You may not need the extra 1/2 cup, but add flour as needed while kneading the dough for about 7 minutes, until smooth and barely sticky.
- Oil a bowl and place the dough ball in it, rolling to coat. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for about an hour or two, depending on the warmth of your environment, until doubled.
- Grease a 9 or 10'' springform pan and set aside.
- Mix together all the filling ingredients, dissolving the sugar into the maple syrup. Depending on the thickness of your syrup, you may need to add extra brown sugar to get the filling to the right consistency. The filling should spread fairly easily, but not dribble off of a spoon.
- Once the first rise is complete, roll the dough out on a floured surface into a rectangle about 18 by 11''. Spread the filling onto the dough, leaving an inch clear on one of the long edges. Start rolling from the opposite, long edge.
- Cut through the centre of the log lengthwise, so the layers of dough and filling are exposed. Keeping the cut sides up so that the filling doesn't spill out, twist the two dough lengths around each other like a rope (I find it easiest to hold one side still, and the weave the other over and under it). Coil the dough around the edge of the springform pan, and pinch the edges together to form a loop. Cover with a tea towel and let rise again, for about an hour. In this time the dough will expand to nearly fill in the centre, and some of the filling should seep out into the bottom of the pan, so don't worry if the ring seems to be leaking.
- Preheat the oven to 350F and bake the ring until puffy and golden, about 38-42 minutes.
- Once cool, mix the ingredients for the glaze and pour around the crown. Cut into slices (like a bundt cake) and enjoy.