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When was the last time you had to do something that required a whole lot of effort?

I can think of several things in my life that I’ve had to do that really forced me to go the extra mile and push myself to the limits to make sure that I got the job done.

Example? Well, let’s take the ISP (Integrated Physical Sciences) course that I took when I was still an undergrad student at Michigan State. It was a requirement for every student to take one before they could graduate. By the time my fifth year came around (‘Super Senior Year’ is what we called them), I still had to get mine out of the way. Now before you get all judgmental on me for that, just hold your horses for one collard-pickin minute and let me explain:

I had a personal goal to keep a very good GPA throughout my undergrad career. This is not easy to do when you’re trying to juggle two jobs (at one point, I had three because I was crazy). Additionally, I’d witnessed one too many other people attempt to get all of their requirements out of the way when they first got to campus freshman year,then witness their GPAs plummet at the subjects they weren’t very good at. This wasn’t going to happen to me. Nope. That’s why, by the time my first year of college came around, I had my strategy all planned out.

Sticky Buns1

Whereas most freshmen took the  required classes that they thought they would struggle in the most first-I did the complete opposite. I took all the classes I knew that I would do very well in first. Turns out, this was a pretty smart idea because there’s a little secret that they neglect to tell Freshmen about concerning the GPA: it’s very VERY difficult to build back up once it goes down. You’re much better off starting off strong, then gradually allowing it to drop little by little rather than making it plummet right off rip then try to rebuild it back up. Which is exactly what I did. I waited until the last couple years of my undergrad years to take my math and sciences classes- which were still extremely challenging.

I ended up having to take one Math class 3 TIMES. (Don’t ask,it’s still too painful to talk about). My second math class is a blur to me-all I remember was that I did a lot of praying and drank more coffee than was healthy for me. And I swear that my Statistics class was specifically designed to shave off 5 years of my life.

The only reason I passed my Biology course was because I did every single extra credit assignment that my professor assigned- and I really, really REALLY didn’t like him. He was one of the most arrogant jerks I’d ever met and getting up at 8:00 am every Monday morning to listen to him lecture (literally)was just NOT  fun. He was one of those teachers that liked seeing students fail his tests because it made him feel smarter. Just thinking about him now is putting me in a bad mood.  I couldn’t stand him to the point where Hell would freeze over before I gave him the satisfaction of not passing his class. I definitely did.

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My Physics class was the last one that I had to take. It was a summer course, which meant it went much faster than normal classes during the Fall and Spring semesters.It was also an online class, meaning that we never even saw the professor besides the lectures videos he uploaded to  a website.Our assignments were submitted electronically and we all had to go into a lecture hall on campus to take 3 tests, and that was it. The cool thing about the tests were that the professor allowed us to have one double sided cheat sheet that we could use.

That was all I needed to hear.

Looking back, the effort I put into my cheat sheet was kinda ridiculous. I wrote as small and tiny as I possibly could to make sure I could fit every single piece of information on the paper. And just to make sure I didn’t waste time during the test looking for the colossal amounts of information i was writing down, I eveen color coded the cheat sheet according to specific topics. I wasn’t leaving ANYTHING to chance. I was GOING to pass that class.

And I did. Rather well, actually.

And my GPA when I graduated? 3.527…like a Boss.

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Like the cheat sheets from my ISP class, these sticky buns require a little bit of extra effort. But like the cheat sheets, they are also SOOOO worth the end result. My twin sister had been asking me to make them for weeks before I finally gave in and decided to give them a go. I’ve heard of this recipe because of the extreme popularity of the bakery, Flour that they originally come from that’s run by Joann Chang. People supposedly line up and wait hours for these sticky buns…and I can’t say that I blame them. The verdict from my family was unanimous; they’re fantastic. What really sets them apart from your typical sticky bun has gotta be the ‘goo’ that they’re topped with. It’s thick and gooey, but not overly sweet. The dough is what requires the extra mile, as it’s supposed to set up overnight in the fridge, but like I said, you’re not going to regret it. It’s golden, buttery and tender brioche at its best.

I’m taking these sticky buns to the Fiesta Friday #29 hosted this week by Angie@TheNoviceGardener and cohosted by Jhuls and Selma.  I certainly hope you’ll be there to join us at the party to get one….because these babies just aren’t gonna last that long.



Flour’s Famous Sticky Buns

Recipe Courtesy of Joann Chang




  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks;)unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Basic Brioche Dough, recipe follows
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Brioche Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups (350 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • 2 1/4 cups (340 grams) bread flour
  • 1 1/2 packages (3 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast or 1-ounce fresh cake yeast
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 3/8 cups (2 3/4 sticks;) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 10 to 12 pieces


1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar & cook, stirring, to combine (it may look separated, that’s ok).

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the honey, cream, water, &salt. Strain to remove any undissolved lumps of brown sugar. Let cool for about 30 minutes, or until cooled to room temperature. You should have about 3 cups. (The mixture can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)

3. Divide the dough in half. Use half for this recipe and reserve the other half for another use. On a floured work surface, roll out the brioche into rectangle about 12 by 16 inches and 1/4-inch thick. It will have the consistency of cold, damp Play-Doh and should be fairly easy to roll. Position the rectangle so a short side is facing you.

4. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and half of the pecans. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Starting from the short side farthest from you and working your way down, roll up the rectangle like a jelly roll. Try to roll tightly, so you have a nice round spiral. Trim off about 1/4- inch from each end of the roll to make them even.

5. Use a bench scraper or a chef’s knife to cut the roll into 8 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2-inches wide. (At this point, the unbaked buns can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. When ready to bake, thaw them, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, then proceed as directed.)

6. Pour the goo into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, covering the bottom evenly. Sprinkle the remaining pecans evenly over the surface. Arrange the buns, evenly spaced, in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm spot to proof until the dough is puffy, pillowy, and soft and the buns are touching-almost tripled in size, about 2 hours.

7. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat to 350 degrees F. Bake until golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the dish on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes. One at a time, invert the buns onto a serving platter, and spoon any extra goo and pecans from the bottom of the dish over the top. The buns are best served warm or within 4 hours of baking. They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, and then warmed in a 325 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes before serving.

Brioche Dough:

8. Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and 5 of the eggs. Beat on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until all the ingredients are combined. Stop the mixer, as needed, to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Once the dough has come together, beat on low speed for another 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will be very stiff and seem quite dry.

9. With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, 1 piece at a time, mixing after each addition until it disappears into the dough. Continue mixing on low speed for about 10 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. It is important for all the butter to be thoroughly mixed into the dough. If necessary, stop the mixer occasionally and break up the dough with your hands to help mix in the butter.

10. Once the butter is completely incorporated, turn up the speed to medium and beat until the dough becomes sticky, soft, and somewhat shiny, another 15 minutes. It will take some time to come together. It will look shaggy and questionable at the start and then eventually it will turn smooth and silky. Turn the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute. You should hear the dough make a slap-slap-slap sound as it hits the sides of the bowl. Test the dough by pulling at it; it should stretch a bit and have a little give. If it seems wet and loose and more like a batter than a dough, add a few tablespoons of flour and mix until it comes together. If it breaks off into pieces when you pull at it, continue to mix on medium speed for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until it develops more strength and stretches when you grab it. It is ready when you can gather it all together and pick it up in 1 piece.

11. Put the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough. Let the dough proof (that is, grow and develop flavor) in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight At this point you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


55 thoughts on “Flour’s Famous Sticky Buns

  1. These sticky buns definitely look sticky. And reading the recipe is does look like it’d take a lot of work, but the result looks as if it’s totally worth it! And as for GPA, it’s super hard to work your way back up. You can mess up one quarter/semester and get a 4.0 the next, and your GPA will not want to budge! Unfortunately, since I was a science major, I couldn’t put off the math and science. But I really could not understand stats! To this day, I’m not sure I know much more than mean, mode, and median. lol

    1. Girl, I couldn’t remember anything about stats if my life depended on it. It was one of those traumatic events that my brain blocked out for my own sanity lol Thanks Andrea 🙂

  2. Oh my goodness… Don’t get me going about statistics… At age 50, I graduated with a 3.86 GPA with my bachelors in business management. That stinking statistics class killed my 4.0. That class (2 of them actually) had me crumpled in a heap on our dining room floor sobbing unconsolably… Ok.. I exaggerate… But if I never have to take another statistics class again… Let me rephrase… I will never take another statistics class again!!

    On a happier note.. I’m in love with these gorgeous sticky buns!! I want one, right here, right now!!

    You rocked the house my love… They’re perfect!! ❤️

    1. I had a perfect 4.0 too- until those friggin math and science classes came along. I’m still waiting for someone to tell me how they were worth my time, trouble and (most importantly) my money. Any day now would be nice lol

      Thanks Prudy <3

  3. I have wanted to bake my way through flour for a while now and those sticky buns are on my short list. I love Joanne Chang and her bakery and her cookbook. Thanks for bringing those gorgeous buns!!

  4. Oh wow, Jess! These look absolutely amazing! Also, smart idea saving all the hard subjects until the end of your degree. Glad it paid off for you. Did it make you more apprehensive each semester knowing that you still had to tackle those hurdles? I would’ve been a nervous wreck!

    1. Thank you Alice- and yes, yes it did make me all the more scared when I finally had to take them. Nervous wreck doesn’t even begin to explain what I was. More like a petrified disaster lol

  5. Wow, it sounds like you are a really dedicated student!! Cramming a sheet like that sounds like something I would do too 🙂 Glad it all payed off for you!

    And the sticky buns look AMAZING. I would wake up early for those. 🙂

  6. These sticky buns sound so good! Wow, 3 jobs and going to school–can’t imagine how crazy that must have been! 🙂 I remember having a few professors who were pretty awful!

  7. Your stories about college remind me of this paper I had during my MBA, ‘Econometrics’, i managed to pass literally by the skin of my teeth & it still lives me nightmares! But isn’t it true that the papers you put extra efforts into are the ones that you still remember after all these years 😀 These sticky buns looks heavenly btw!!

    1. Ugh Econ was designed to make you fail, I’m convinced lol But you’re right, I still remember the feeling I had at passing those super hard classes- it was an awesome feeling. Thank you!

  8. Jess, you are incredible – you are full of grit and determination and just so feisty – what an inspiration you are. Your cheat sheet made me chuckle – it’s something that I would do if I had been allowed one during an exam! And these buns – oh my word – what are you doing to us?? Thank goodness for my caftan – there is no way it’s coming off with these babies on the table! Happy Fiesta Friday, Superstar!!

  9. Wow, they look ooey gooey good, nice sticky and sweet, what a treat. Ive never had brioche sticky buns before, they must taste like heaven, thanks for sharing X

  10. Jess, these look insanely delicious! Your post is totally taking me back to my days at UCLA. I am so happy all of that is over. Good thing, when I look at these sticky buns all the bad memories go away…:) You are awesome…YUM!!!

    1. Thank you Chitra- I’m so glad to be able to give you your first introduction to sticky buns! You won’t be sorry if you choose to make them, I promise 🙂

  11. I know I am super late, Jess – all these must have been gone by now. What to do? I was asked not to touch anything and stay put so every guest would take their share. I AM one of the CO-HOSTS, why can’t I have more than my share? Now I know that there’s no special treatment here. 😛

    Are we talking about school here? Ha! I have taken my Accounting class thrice because my teacher told me to get out of the class if I am not interested. So I did. The second time, I had the same teacher. I dropped the subject. The third time, I had the same teacher. I had no choice, but to take the class or else I will not graduate at all. I just hated him. 😀

    And when I was in high school, I don’t bring a cheat sheet in the Math class. Math was my favorite subject – so I am making a cheat sheet for my class mates based on the actual questions. 😀

    Ahh, so happy to remember those things. 😀

    And back to these sticky buns, these are indeed delicious and beautiful. Thanks for sharing and have a lovely week, Jess. <3

    1. Ahh, Jhuls you’re one of the rare people who actually like Math that I just used to stare at in sheer awe/jealousy! lol

      Thanks, you have a GREAT week too <3

    1. Thank you- and honestly,having a twin sounds a lot more exciting and thrilling than it is in real life.It’s just like having another sister that happens too have your exact same DNA- and that people say you look an awful lot like lol Cheers!

      1. 🙂 How exciting.Sisters must be the best of friends. I will never know because I lost my only sis when she was two years old.

      2. I’m so sorry to hear that. My sisters are my best friends, so I know how hard that must be for you <3

  12. I am late to this party, but so glad I didn’t miss this post! I love this post! I used to fall asleep in biology. Good thing it was a big class and that I didn’t drool on the guy next to me :).

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 My college biology class with my jerk professor was big too. I always sat in the very back so he wouldn’t be able to see how much I didn’t like him show on my face lol

  13. Holy man, these look amazing! Also, I feel you on the math: I had to take one single math class in my undergrad, and I very nearly changed my major just so I didn’t have to do it! My first day I almost cried in class when the teach put an equation on the board and asked us to solve it… thank goodness, it turned out I was in the wrong class and there was a dumbed-down one especially for the non-science kids…! 😉

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