Easy night-before walnut and caramel sticky buns

Freshly baked sticky buns are a magnificent addition to any brunch menu. Nici Wickes' recipe can be prepped the evening before, then baked in the morning to serve still warm

By Nici Wickes
  • 40 mins preparation
  • 45 mins cooking
  • 4 hrs marinating
  • Serves 8
  • Print
This recipe first appeared in New Zealand Woman's Weekly.
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  • 90 millilitre milk
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 50 gram butter, melted
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 1/4 cup high grade flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • oil, to grease bowl
  • 100 gram butter
  • 100 gram brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts pieces, toasted and cooled, plus ½ cup extra
  • 3 heaped tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted


  • 1
    For the dough, warm the milk to slightly warmer than lukewarm. Pour into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the sugar and sprinkle over the yeast. Cover and leave to stand for 10-15 minutes or until foamy (this tells you the yeast is alive).
  • 2
    Whisk together the melted butter, egg yolks and whole egg, then pour into the yeast mix. Add half the flour and mix with the dough hook of a stand mixer or a wooden spoon, if making by hand. Add the remaining flour and salt. Knead until a sticky, elastic dough forms – about 8 minutes with a mixer or 12-15 minutes by hand.
  • 3
    Lightly oil a large bowl, add the dough and cover. Put in a warm place until it doubles in size – about 1½-2 hours.
  • 4
    For the caramel, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the sugar, cream, honey and salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat. Simmer until caramel is golden brown and glossy – about 3-5 minutes. Line a 22-25cm oven-proof dish or springform tin with baking paper. Pour caramel into the dish. Sprinkle with first measure of walnuts and set aside.
  • 5
    For the filling, in a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, salt and remaining walnuts. Turn the risen dough out onto a well-floured bench, pat into a rectangle, then roll it out into a larger rectangle, about 40cm x 20cm. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle the filling evenly over dough, then roll into a tight log shape. Using a sharp knife, cut into 4-5cm lengths, to give you eight pieces. Try not to squash the log as you cut – using a serrated knife and gentle pressure will help. Arrange the buns evenly over the caramel base. I start with one in the centre and move out from there. They will spread towards each other as they proof.
  • 6
    Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight – they will double in size. Alternatively, proof at room temperature for another 1-2 hours until they puff together.
  • 7
    To bake, remove from the fridge an hour before baking. Heat oven to 180°C. Bake until puffed and golden, about 30-40 minutes. If they look too brown on top and you suspect the centres are not quite cooked, cover loosely with foil.
  • 8
    Rest for 2 -3 minutes, loosen the edges carefully and quickly invert onto a large serving dish with a lip. Scrape any residual sauce over the buns. Eat warm, or even slathered with butter!


  • I implore you not to be put off by the length of this recipe – it’s actually very easy, just wordy to explain!

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