Danish Dough for 12 buns (instructions follow)
Unsalted butter to grease muffin pans
3 1/3 cups pecan halves
2 1/4 cups light corn syrup
3/4 cups plus 2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
all purpose flour, for dusting
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
1 pack active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tbsp table salt
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp, cut into tablespoons
1 large egg and 1 egg yolk
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk; stir until dissolved. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, cardamom, and 4 tbsp of the room temp butter. Mix well with pastry blender or fingers until it resembles coarse meal. Pour in the yeast mixture and mix until dough just comes together. Add eggs and yolk and mix just until combined. Do not overmix (you can do all the mixing with a stand mixer, if you like).
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, making sure to include any loose bits left at the bottom of the bowl. Gently knead to form a smooth ball, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Wrap well in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 10 x 13 inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick, keeping the corners as square as possible. With a short side facing you, evenly distribute the remaining butter over 2/3 of the dough. Fold the unbuttered third over as you would a business letter, followed by the remaining third. This seals in the butter.
Roll out the dough again to a 10 x 13 inch rectangle, then fold dough into thirds again as described above. Refrigerate for 1 hour. This is the first of 3 turns. Repeat rolling and folding two more times, refrigerating for at least one hour between turns.
Refrigerate dough, tightly wrapped in plastic, for at least 4 hours or overnight. Dough can also be frozen, tightly wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 weeks. Before using frozen dough, thaw in fridge overnight.
ASSEMBLING THE BUNS:
Let danish dough stand at room temp until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Generously butter two jumbo muffin pans. Chop 2 cups pecans, and break the remaining 1 1/3 cups in half lengthwise, keeping the two groups separate. Pour 3 tbsp corn syrup into each muffin cup, and sprinkle with 1 tbsp brown sugar. Divide halved pecan evenly among the muffin cups (I used a little less corn syrup and brown sugar, thinking it a bit too much for my taste).
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to an 18 x 14 inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Using a spatula, spread the sour cream over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Dust the sour cream with cinnamon, and sprinkle with chopped pecans and remaining 2/3 cup brown sugar. Roll up the dough tightly lengthwise to form a log about 3 inches in diameter, and trim the ends using a serrated knife. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Using a sharp knife and a sawing motion, slice the dough crosswise into 12 rounds, about 1/2 inch thick, and place in prepared pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until 1/2 inch above the cups, 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to the oven, placing a baking sheet on the rack below to catch drips. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until buns are dark golden brown, about 40 minutes.
Immediately turn out buns onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Replace any pecan halves that have fallen off. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temp. Sticky buns are best eaten the day they are baked.
Note: You may be tempted to skimp on the refrigeration time, but do not. This dough requires multiple refrigeration times to keep the butter cold, to rest, and to develop flavor. It won't disappoint, though! Just plan ahead and do it over two days when you have the time to spare. These sticky buns are worth the wait. Better than the prestigious "Cinnabon" in my opinion. And the satisfaction you get from making this beautiful, buttery, flaky, soft dough all by yourself is incomparable. Love it!