Chow Town

Tube of crescent rolls brings back memories of Grandma’s Sticky Buns

Unroll dough onto parchment.
Unroll dough onto parchment. Special to The Star

It’s amazing what cleaning out the refrigerator can yield sometimes. Last week I found a tube of bake-your-own crescent rolls near the back of a lower shelf and decades of memories flooded my brain.

The saga began when my mom found a much easier recipe for her beloved sticky buns, which substituted pre-made dough for handmade dough. It was a great time-saving option for a very busy lady, without sacrificing flavor.

Then my parents visited for an Easter weekend, and she taught our two elementary school daughters how to make this easy and delicious recipe. From that moment on, Grandma’s Sticky Buns became a beloved treat in our household as well — a must-do breakfast item during each and every holiday season.

The 2014 holiday season was no exception. Not only did our now-adult daughters crave and expect a round of sticky buns, but so did all of their high school friends who were also in Kansas City to celebrate. So when their friends’ schedules wouldn’t jive for a breakfast gathering at our house, I sent the sweet morsels out with our girls for delivery.

But make sticky buns without “kids” around? They were just as tasty as always, and jealousy-inducing when I mentioned them to our girls. No matter what time of year, it’s hard to beat Grandma’s Sticky Buns. Here’s the original recipe (as seen in these photos, my recent batch was a half recipe):

Grandma’s Sticky Buns

Makes 24 buns

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, separated to 3 tablespoons and 5 tablespoons

2 tubes of pre-made crescent roll dough

1/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup water

Nuts and raisins, optional

Parchment paper

Cookie sheet with raised edge

Allow 3 tablespoons of butter to soften, and cover work surface with parchment paper. Set oven temperature at 375 degrees. Place remaining 5 tablespoons of butter in a 9-inch-by-13-inch pan and set aside.

When 3 tablespoons of butter is spreadable, unroll dough onto parchment and pinch together to make 8 rectangles. Spread each rectangle generously with butter. Stir together sugar and cinnamon and then sprinkle across the butter.

If you wish to add nuts and/or raisins, do this now.

Place the pan in the oven to melt the 5 tablespoons of butter. Gently roll up each rectangle from the narrow side, wrapping tightly. Using a sharp knife, cut each roll into 3 equal pieces.

Remove pan from oven and add brown sugar and water. Stir until incorporated and dissolved. Place rolls into the pan, with the rolled ‘face’ visible and as much space as possible between individual pieces.

Bake 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven. Cover the cookie sheet with foil and then flip the sticky buns onto it so the butter-brown sugar mixture covers every surface. Wait until all of the rolls “fall” onto the cookie sheet, remove the baking pan and enjoy.

Lisa Waterman Gray is a freelance writer based in Overland Park. She specializes in food and travel writing.