I just could NOT get this idea out of my head:
pretzel-y, chewy, salty outside
soft, pillowy, Nutella-filled inside
sticky sweet toasted hazelnuts on top
…like a pretzel and a sticky bun had a baby… a delicious, delicious baby… a baby named “pretzky bun”, perhaps.
For me, the hardest part of creating this recipe was trying to figure out how to make the outside of the bun pretzel but keeping the inside gooey and Nutella-filled. If you’ve ever made pretzels or bagels before, you know that the part of the process that makes the outside chewy and pretzel-y is quickly poaching the dough in a solution of water and baking soda. After racking my brain on how exactly to poach sticky buns (and failing horribly at my first attempt), I came up with the solution you’ll see below.
*pats self on the back*
I’m pretty proud of myself for figuring this out, y’all. This isn’t an easy recipe – I’d say “intermediate”, with previous baking experience necessary. If you’re feeling adventurous and have a few hours to kill over a weekend, this would be an excellent project with super tasty results. And you can always shoot me an email if you’re having issues (askfmitk [at] gmail.com). I’ll totes talk you through it. I promise it’s worth all the dirty dishes.
Pretzel Sticky Buns with Nutella and Hazelnuts
makes 12 buns
equipment: 12 cup muffin pan, parchment paper, large roasting pan
for the dough
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 package (2 1/4 Teaspoons) active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour, divided
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup + 1/2 teaspoon (scant) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (heaping) baking powder
1 egg + 1 tbsp water
for the filling
1 1/2 cups Nutella
for the topping
1 cup of hazelnuts, toasted
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/4 tsp sea salt
for the dough
In a medium sauce pan, combine milk, sugar and oil over medium heat until warmed through (don’t let it boil). Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm to touch. Pour milk mixture into a large bowl and sprinkle in yeast and 4 cups of flour. Stir gently to combine. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. After one hour, add in remaining 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp of baking powder and salt. Set aside while you prepare topping.
for the topping
In a heavy-bottomed pan, toast hazelnuts over medium-high heat until they begin to turn light brown and start to give off an aroma, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, crush hazelnuts using a mortar and pestle or put them in a ziplock and crush with a heavy-bottomed pan.
Cream together butter, brown sugar and salt.
Place 1 tablespoon of the butter and sugar mixture in each muffin cup. Top with about 1 tablespoon of the crushed hazelnuts. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Beat together egg + 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Set aside.
In a large roasting pan, combine 6 cups of water and 1/2 cup baking soda and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Divide dough in half. Roll out half of dough into a rectangle, about 10″x15″. Spread half of the Nutella over the dough, leaving a 1″ border on all sides. Brush egg wash along edges of dough. Begin to jellyroll the dough, starting from the shortest side. Pinch seams together along length and ends to seal the roll completely. This is a super important step – take the time to ensure that all edges are sealed. After the seams have been pinched, gently roll back and forth a couple of times to reinforce the seams. The dough is soft and will stretch as you roll, so what started off as the 10″ short side will end up being about 12-14″ long after you’re done rolling. Gently roll the dough onto the center of a piece of parchment paper that’s wide enough to hold the roll entirely and about 14″ long (about 30″ x 15″).
Bring the roasting pan with the water and baking soda solution up to a rolling boil. Gently lift the parchment paper by bringing together its edges, creating a little “purse” with the dough roll inside, and lower into the roasting pan. Pull the parchment from under the roll until the roll is sitting on the edge of the parchment (don’t completely remove the roll from the top of the parchment). The parchment tends to want to float in the water, so use a spoon to poke the parchment down and expose the dough to the water. Poach for 30 seconds. Using the parchment paper as a guide, gently tug the end of the parchment where the roll is toward you, using the parchment to guide the flipping of the roll over onto its other side. Poach for an additional 30 seconds. This is tricky and takes care and patience, since the roll is a bit fragile.
Remove the roll from the baking soda water. Brush entire roll with egg wash and sprinkle with kosher or pretzel salt (large salt crystals work best). Gently roll the dough over and egg wash + salt the other side. Cut roll into 2″ sections – you should have 6 rolls from the first half of the dough. Place each cut roll, cut side up, into the prepped muffin pan.
Repeat the jellyroll + poaching + egg wash and salt with the second half of the dough, or save he second half for later use.
After all rolls have been cut, let rise a second time for 25 minutes. Place muffin pan on a parchment lined cookie sheet to catch any spills, and bake at 350F for 30 minutes, until the buns are a deep golden brown.
Remove the buns from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before inverting. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the buns, followed by a cookie sheet. Quickly invert the buns and lift up the muffin pan. Let cool slightly before serving.
Cook Time:2 hours