autumn, breakfast, recipe, spring, sweet

Sticky Maple Buns with Sweet Tahini Glaze

I don’t think sticky buns get nearly the attention they deserve. With their pillow-y soft dough and their sticky filling oozing into every crevice, they are more than just the lesser-known sister of the famous cinnamon counterpart.

Sticky buns tend to come with all kinds of filling, but the most important detail is that the filling caramelizes in the oven, rendering a deliciously sticky crust that gently coats and supports the pillow-y dough inside.

I love sticky buns. Almost to a fault. I may be responsible for the disappearance of the first four sticky buns from this batch- and it pains me to admit that. But it was all in the name of recipe testing! That’s one of the wonderful benefits of being the chef AND the taste tester 🙂

This particular recipe uses maple sugar, which is like cane sugar but made from maple syrup. This is definitely easier to find in Canada and northern USA, but if you’re from other worldly destinations you might have trouble finding it. The maple sugar is equally as sweet as cane sugar, but has a gentle maple flavour that is so delicious. It caramelizes beautifully, too!

These sticky maple buns are topped with a maple tahini glaze to add a touch of savory and to balance out the sweetness. But if you want to go all-in with the maple, just remove the tahini and double the amount of butter.

These buns are best enjoyed warm with a steaming cup of coffee or tea.

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn.

Sticky Maple Buns with Sweet Tahini Glaze
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    For the dough:
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 envelope)
  • 1 1/4 cup milk, gently warmed
  • 1/2 cup maple sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 - 5 cups flour
  • For the filling:
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp four spice
  • 1 cup maple sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft
  • For the icing:
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar (add another 1/3 cup if you like a thicker icing)
  • 1-2 tbsp milk or cream


  1. To make the dough, mix the yeast and warmed milk in a large bowl and set aside for 5 minutes until slightly bubbly. With a whisk or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, add the maple sugar, softened butter, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Stir in the flour 1 cup at a time, until the dough is very thick and holds together.
  2. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth, or switch to the dough hook and knead in the stand mixer. Knead for about 5 minutes in the mixer, or 7 minutes by hand, until the dough is taut and smooth.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl and set aside. Wipe out the bowl, adding about 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Shape the dough into a ball and place in the greased bowl, turning it to make sure the dough is fully coated in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 2 hours).
  4. For the filling, cream the butter with the spices and sugar.
  5. Lightly grease two 9-inch cake pans or one 9x13-inch pan. On a floured surface roll the dough into a large rectangle, about 14 inches by 24 inches. When the dough is rolled out, slather it thickly with the creamed butter and sugar, making sure to spread it nearly to the edges. Roll up along the long side, stretching and pulling the dough gently into a roll. Use a knife to cut into 24 individual rolls.
  6. Divide the rolls among the prepared pans, cover and let rise in a warm place until the rolls double in size (about 80 minutes).
  7. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the rolls for about 25 minutes or until just beginning to brown.
  8. For the icing, beat the butter, tahini, maple syrup, cream and icing sugar together, adding more powdered sugar as necessary to get the consistency you prefer. Drizzle over hot rolls. Serve warm.