Chocolate Cranberry Sticky Buns

Yield: 12 sticky buns
Recipe: 58/200
“Back to Baking”, pp. 233


    The third and last dessert I made this past weekend were the scrumptious-looking chocolate cranberry buns. As always, I was craving chocolate when I was baking, thus my primary motivation for making these pull-apart sticky buns. Unfortunately, however, what I obtained was not so scrumptious-looking and definitely not pull-apart gooeyness. I don’t know at what step I could have made a mistake, but something definitely happened with this recipe. Although I re-read it two times, something didn’t add up.

Ingredients for starter:

  • 3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Ingredients for base:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Ingredients for filling:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Ingredients for brushing:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water

    When preparing to roll, the dough was extremely wet and soft, not anything that could be folded. I had a feeling at this point that I would not obtain sticky buns, but I went ahead with the recipe anyway since it was mostly done. The dough never raised and was always very soft, wet and sticky. What I achieved in the end were things that looked like muffins and were a bit dry. I am mostly annoyed with this as I have no idea where I went wrong. I triple-checked that I used the correct yeast. The taste itself is not even so good to me, but perhaps I am biased by the unsavoury look of the chocolate muffins. I will undoubtedly add this recipe to the list of those I want to repeat to improve. Perhaps you will have better results (let me know if you do!).


  1. For the starter, stir all the ingredients together and set aside while preparing the base.
  2. For the base, using a hand or stand mixer cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and blending after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Start and finish with the dry ingredients. Make sure to scrape the side of the bowl after each addition.
  5. Stir in the starter, the dried cranberries and chocolate chips. Mix well to combine.
  6. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise, refrigerated, overnight.
    • Note: at this point the dough will be very wet and very sticky.
  7. Prepare the filling by creaming the butter until fluffy, then beat in the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Grease a muffin tin.
  8. On a generously floured work surface, turn out the dough. Flour the surface of the dough and roll it to a rectangle of about 20 inches by 12 inches. The dough will be very easy to roll since it is so soft.
  9. Spread the filing over the surface of the dough and sprinkle it with the dried cranberries. Roll up the dough from the long slide and slice into 12 buns. Place each bun into a muffin cup, cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  10. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  11. Whisk the egg with the water and brush the buns with the mixture. Bake for about 50 minutes until they are cooked though (you can tell by peeking through the layers of dough. Let the buns cool completely in the pan.