Nigella says about these buns in her book How To Be A Domestic Goddess: Baking and The Art of Comfort Cooking that “Schnecken means "snails," which is what these German-American coiled buns resemble. They are like the Norwegian cinnamon buns*, only more so. By which I mean they are stickier, puffier, gooier and generally more over the top." Nigella also says that she actually came across this recipe in one of her favorite books, The Village Baker's Wife by Gayle and Joe Ortiz, which she recommends as well as it's companion The Village Baker. *(note from PheMOM: this is another recipe in Nigella's fabulous book).
I obviously couldn't have said it better, and besides, unless you are lucky enough to live in the U.K. and hear accents as lovely as Nigella's all the time (or have one) then it is just more fun to imagine this in her voice. So, word for word, here is her recipe (with a few little notes from me, the doubter, while I was making this - since I was sure I was doing something wrong):
For the Dough:
3 1/3 cups bread flour
3 Tbsp cup sugar (which I assume means regular white sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
1 package (1/4 oz) rapid-rise yeast or 1 Tbsp fresh yeast
1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp milk
2 large eggs
For the Syrup:
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
4 Tbsp maple syrup (I didn't have any real maple syrup, so I opted to use honey here)
3 Tbsp light corn syrup
About 1 cup walnut or pecan pieces
For the Glaze:
1 large egg
2 Tbsp milk
For the Filling:
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup demerara or turbinado sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
You will also need:
12-cup muffin pan, buttered parchment-paper lined roasting pan or baking pan for turning the sticky buns out onto later - large enough to cover muffin pan
Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.
Melt the butter in the milk - use a microwave and a measuring cup for ease - beat in the eggs.
Stir into the dry ingredients to make a dough.
Knead for 10 minutes or for 5 with a dough hook. When it's springy and satiny, form it into a ball, put into an oiled bowl, turn to coat, and cover with plastic wrap.
Leave in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Using an electric mixer, start on the syrup: beat the butter until soft and smooth and add the sugar, still beating. Beat in the syrups and then divide this mixture among the muffin cups. (I also lightly sprayed the cups so they wouldn't stick as much later).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When the dough's ready, knock it back, knead once or twice and then roll out to a large rectangle, approximately 24 by 12 inches, with the long side nearest you. (I couldn't roll mine any bigger than 16 x 12 inches). Beat the egg and add the milk. Glaze the dough, using a pastry brush to paint, or just your fingers.
Mix the filling ingredients in a little bowl.
Sprinkle onto the dough.
Now, roll up from the long side and away from you, carefully and firmly (though not too tightly), keeping a firm sausage shape.
Cut into 12 even slices, and lie each slice spiral-swirly cut side up, on top of the nuts and syrup in the muffin cups.
Leave to rise for about 20 minutes and when they're risen and puffy, put into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, by which time they should be golden and cooked; crisp in parts, voluptuously gooey in others. (Mine took the full 25 minutes.)
Place the roasting pan or baking sheet on top and turn the whole thing the other way up. (You will need oven mitts and a degree of caution for this.) Remove the muffin tray and dislodge any nuts that are still stuck in it, adding them, along with any residual syrup, to the upturned buns. Leave to cool, then apply to face - as if you needed my encouragement.