Gluten Free Recipe Reviews: Bette Hagman’s Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Buns

stickybuns.jpg There are some gluten free items which seem out of the realm of possibility of the gluten free baker. One of those is the cinnamon roll. One of my most traumatic baking experiences came when I painstakingly followed a recipe in Better Homes and Gardens for gluten cinnamon rolls, substituting something simple like rice flour for the gluten flour, and turned out the most lovingly prepared cinnamon rocks ever to grace my kitchen. Granted that was something like ten years ago, before I had learned the way of gluten free yeast baking, but I think even now I’d have difficulty coming up with a good cinnamon roll following one of the traditional recipes. Well, thank goodness for my personal Culinary Muse, Bette Hagman, AKA the Gluten free Gourmet. When I first read her recipe for Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Buns, I felt a surprising optimism that maybe Cinnamon Roll-esque desserts weren’t entirely off the menu. Her clever recipe involves taking muffin tins, putting a brown sugar, cinnamon pecan syrup (pecans optional) on the bottom, and filling the tin with her ridiculously fluffy and light Featherlight Mix based batter. This batter is so light and fluffy, it’s like filling the tin with air frosting. I’ve made her recipe now many times, always with the Cinnamon Roll Variation (extra cinnamon, no pecans) and it turns out beautifully every time. Last night after a tedious house cleaning session, I turned to DH for inspiration and asked for a baking request. “I’ll bake anything you ask for, so choose wisely,” I said. He paused, and surprisingly quickly for my dearest Libra Husband, said “Cinnamon Rolls.” I paused, and regrouped. “Ok. How do Cinnamon Sticky Buns Sound?” “Great,” he said. I ventured into the kitchen and began baking. stickyduo.jpgIt hasn’t been cool enough to permit comfortable oven use in ages, so I was pretty happy to enjoy the cool breeze from the window rather than be lying in a puddle on the floor melting. I mixed up a double batter as per her recipe on page 230 of “The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread.” If you don’t own this book, save yourself from bread boredom and pick yourself up a copy from Amazon (or wherever has the best price.) It is my hands down favorite GF cookbook for its sophisticated usage of the newest flours and a wide range of flavored breads and bread products. There is even a chapter on yeast free breads (although I like my breads chock full of yeast). But since I only had one muffin tin and needed something to bake twenty four buns in, I was at a bit of a loss. However, I decided to think outside of the muffin tin and got out some alternative tins, such as the metal rings I use for crumpets. Why not make Cinnamon Bun style crumpets? I also got out some adorable mini bundt cake tins with the thought that they were rather like an jumbo muffin tin, and a lot cuter than your average muffin. I poured the brown sugar syrup topping into the bottom of the tins and tried to lightly coat the ring center as well. For the crumpets, although I tried to keep the syrup contained in the rings, it did spill out onto the cookie sheet below, and as it baked the sugary syrup naturally burned a bit. However, at the end of my experiment, I had twelve delicious cinnamon sticky buns in muffin shape, seven in crumpet form, and four of the cutest little bundt cinnamon roll cakes I’d ever seen in my life. They retained their sugary glaze and the bundt shape in a most unexpected, beautifully decadent dessert that made the muffin sticky buns look positively homely. They all tasted equally light and delightfully sweet, with the exception of the semi sweet crumpet buns that had lost the majority of their syrup to the pan. DH declared them a resounding success, and gave them a “Yummy” rating and 8/10, and I would have to agree although I think I would give the Bundt sticky buns a 9/10 because they are so gorgeous AND sweet. The next time you’re experimenting with a favorite recipe, why not try baking it in a different pan, and see if you can’t create something that tastes and looks even better? I highly recommend these mini bundt cake tins- they were cheap and make the simplest things look absolutely delicious! Oh, by the way- I now have twenty some sticky buns languishing at my house- absolutely delicious but two people can only do so much damage without having to roll out of the house. Feel free to come on by and have one! ;)

*Note: The next day, they taste best microwaved for 20-30 seconds. Mmm mmm tasty. It’s now day three and we enjoyed a hot sticky bun with a cappuccino, yum! I froze half the recipe- will update you when I try them frozen and reheated.

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For other yummy, gooey Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Goodness, try Ellen’s Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll Recipe at her blog, I am Gluten Free. I haven’t tried it yet, but it got rave reviews. Why not do a GF cinnamon roll taste test- Bette Hagman against Roben Ryberg- let the battle begin!

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15 Responses to “Gluten Free Recipe Reviews: Bette Hagman’s Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Buns”

  1. You are such a rockstar! I can’t wait to try these.

  2. Try this recipe
    It is fabulous and my boyfriend (a non GFer) couldn’t stop eating them. I would not cut back on the sugar (as Ellen suggests) and make sure you spread a 1/2 stick of melted butter (or margarine) on the dough before sprinkling the cinnamon sugar on as that creates the caramel (the recipe doesn’t mention this). So light and gooey!
    I will have to give Bette’s a try and compare.

  3. Hi Ginger! Thanks for the reminder- I saw Ellen’s recipe ages ago and resolved to try it… Must do that one of these days. I added a link to the recipe in the body of the post so people can try a comparison taste test. ;) Bette’s are VERY Yummy, and I’m sure Ellen/Roben’s are as well. And we thought we’d never have a good gluten free cinnamon roll…

  4. Thank you, By the Bay! Loved the comment- it made me smile.

  5. cinnamon buns and sticky buns are a family favorite here — we love to have them with some nice hot chocolate on a cold winter morning.

    beautiful pics!

  6. Oh great! Why on earth did I click here.. I’m starving.. now..
    *mouth watering*.. I decided to forego my lunch today in order to leave early.. Now.. I’m going to stay until my regular time.. and eat something yummy.. and it’s all your fault.. :o)

  7. The recipe for these can be found, where?

  8. Hi GL Soda,
    I mentioned in the post that you can find the recipe on page 230 of “The Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread” book by Bette Hagman. Enjoy!

  9. I will be making your sticky bun recipe on Friday, July 17, 2009. I have a small baking company. We try to make a few items each week for our gluten free customers. We keep our gluten free ingredients quarantined and do our gluten free baking first thing, when the bakery has been idle for a few days, and we package right away.

    Even so, we tell those highly allergic to gluten to abstain from our products because we can’t be sure of anything airborne. We cater to people making dietary changes for reasons other than celiac or the severely allergic.

    One of our customers (and fellow vendors) recently asked us for some sticky buns. Poor Barb drools weekly over the conventional sticky buns we make for our regular customers.

    We will be making these gluten free beauties with our signature pecan studded honey & maple syrup glaze. I’ll let you know what Barb’s reaction is. We’re going to double the recipe and stick half of the buns in the freezer, making 24 giant buns instead of 16-18.

    Here’s hoping everything turns out!


  10. This recipe was a resounding Flop! I was so disappointed- I did change a few things though- I used amaranth flour instead of rice and I did not use the potato buds but used some potato starch- the butter in the bottom rose up and burned all over the bottom of the oven and the house was filled with smoke- they did not rise up nicely like my English muffins do either. Are the potato buds and rice flour really that important? Or did I just put too much butter in the bottom of the muffin tin? I’d really like to try this again- the bundt ones look gorgeous! Gotta get a tin like that! Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  11. Sorry to hear the recipe didn’t work for you. First, does your oven run hot? Some of Bette’s recipes are written a little “hot”- I often decrease oven temperature by about 50F. Also, I would definitely not substitute amaranth flour for rice flour- they are very different in protein and texture. I find Amaranth flour to be very tricky to work with- it would not be my choice as a base flour. First, if you can I would try rice flour, either brown or white. If you are allergic to rice, then sorghum or millet flour would probably be a better substitute. The potato buds probably aren’t that important, depending on the quantity used. From memory it seems like a small quantity, but I could be wrong. You might try decreasing the butter/sugar/spice mixture in the bottom, but oven temperature is more likely to be the culprit. With rising issues, the problem could be rising ingredient. Is this a yeast recipe? can’t remember- if so water temperature and freshness of the yeast can make a big difference.

    Hope these tips help! Good luck!


  12. Hi Dianne.

    Potato Starch and potato flour are two different critters. The Potato Buds that Bette calls for can also be known by the name of instant flaked potato. If you are buying it, it has to be flaked like fish food, not the gritty powder like cornmeal. The potato flakes have been in use in my house in quite a few things. I’ve tossed them in to recipes that I wouldn’t have thought, but it helps give substance and get something to stick together without making goo (fish cakes are a good example).

    Good luck!

    Monica in Canada

  13. where do i find a copy of bette hagmans pecan sticky cinnamon bun recipe. I have a little boy that is nut allergy egg allergy and wheat flour allergy but these sound really good to try

  14. Denise- The recipe is found in her book titled “The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread”. Your local library may carry it. If not, it can be ordered from Amazon.

  15. Debbie, Thank you for helping Denise out! I did mention the title in the post, but I didn’t provide a hotlink as I do sometimes and it was probably easy to overlook.

    Denise, happy baking! If this recipe contains eggs (as it probably does as written) you can substitute Ener-g Foods Egg Replacer.

    Good luck,

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