hazelnut sticky buns

For the Anti-Pie Crowd, Make Sticky Buns for Thanksgiving Instead

I’ve never been a big pie person. I can appreciate a good homemade pie with a thick crust and multiple scoops of ice cream, but it’s not the Thanksgiving dessert that I look forward to most. If you fall into the same anti-pie category as me, try making these hazelnut and cardamom sticky buns instead.

The cardamom and hazelnut form a delicious flavor duo, especially when paired with this soft, tender dough. I remember the first time I made sticky buns in culinary school during module 4 of my culinary arts program at ICE. The entire class was excited —because how often do you get to make sticky buns, let alone eat them?

We lined muffin pans with pecans and caramel and placed the bun dough on top. Those 30 minutes spent waiting for the buns to bake felt like an eternity. Now that I’ve learned the proper way to make them, sticky buns are way less intimidating.

Essentially, all you’re doing is making a cinnamon roll, but adding the “topping” to the bottom before baking. Then, when they’re finished baking, you flip the buns onto parchment paper. The end result is a gooey, sweet topping and filling with a delicious yeast dough that everyone at the dinner table will be thinking about well past Thanksgiving.

As if sweet, delicious gooiness wasn’t enough, sticky buns are also amazing because you can switch up the flavors with the seasons — you can substitute pecans, pistachios and walnuts for the hazelnuts, and cinnamon, lemon and pumpkin for cardamom. There’s a lot you can do with sticky buns, which makes it a great go-to dessert for any occasion.


hazelnut sticky buns

Hazelnut and Cardamom Sticky Buns



  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • 3 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup butter, unsalted, room temperature


  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk until it reaches 110-115°F.
  2. Add the sugar and yeast to the milk, and let the mixture sit for five minutes until the yeast becomes frothy.
  3. Add the eggs to the milk mixture and whisk until smooth.
  4. In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, mix the flour, salt, cinnamon, sugar and butter together using a dough hook.
  5. Pour in the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix until combined.
  6. Transfer the dough to a buttered bowl and allow to rise for one hour. After one hour of rising in a warm spot, transfer the dough to the fridge for one hour.
  7. Roll out the dough to form a rectangle, about 10-12 inches wide.



  • 1 egg, whisked for egg wash
  • ½ cup hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar


  1. Combine the hazelnuts, cardamom, cinnamon and light brown sugar to create the filling mixture.
  2. Cover the dough with egg wash, and then spread the filling mixture on top.
  3. Roll the dough along the long side. Cut the log evenly into 12 equal pieces. These pieces will be placed on the topping in the prepared pans (see below).



  • ½ cup hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1 ⅓ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom


  1. In a saucepan, over medium heat combine all the ingredients until just melted to create a caramel topping. Be careful not to overcook this mixture.

Making the sticky buns

  1. Heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare the sheet pans by spreading the chopped hazelnuts on the bottom and covering them with the caramel topping.
  3. Place the buns in the baking pan on top of the caramel and hazelnuts, making sure to give space between each one, as they will double in size when baking.
  4. Bake buns for 30 minutes until golden. Allow to cool for 30 minutes, and then flip the sticky buns onto a parchment-lined sheet tray.

Master sticky buns and much more in ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts career program — learn more today.

Add new comment