5½ tablespoons (about 3 ounces) whole milk
¾ cup whole or low-fat buttermilk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1¼ tablespoons sugar
1¼ cups bread flour, plus extra for the work surface
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ cup Steen's 100 percent Pure Cane syrup (see note)
2 tablespoons bourbon, preferably Maker's Mark
¼ cup crushed pecans, for sprinkling
For the dough: Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, just until bubbles form at the edges. Remove from the heat, then add the buttermilk.
Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough attachment. Whisk in the yeast and sugar; let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the bread flour, baking soda and salt, stirring a bit to incorporate. Beat on low speed until moistened, then increase the speed to medium, beating for several minutes, until the dough forms a loose ball yet is still fairly tacky and wet. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a draft-free spot for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Combine the butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a mixing bowl; blend well.
Use cooking oil spray to lightly grease the wells of a muffin pan (for regular-size muffins).
Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out the dough on the work surface to a rectangle that measures 8 inches by 18 inches. Spread ½ cup of the filling evenly over the surface, then roll tightly into a log. Seal the seam by pinching it tightly closed.
Cut the roll crosswise into 2-inch sections (for a total of 9 rolls), laying each one on its side in separate muffin wells, gently pressing down as you work. Lay a clean, slightly damp dish towel over the pan. Transfer to a warm, draft-free place for 20 minutes' rising time.
For the glaze: Stir the syrup and bourbon together in a medium bowl.
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray the surface of the muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray; this will help remove any filling/glaze overflow from the baked buns.
Spread the tops of the rolls with the remaining filling. Use half of the glaze to brush on top, then sprinkle the pecans over the glaze. Bake 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Upon removing the pan from the oven, immediately brush the tops of the buns with the remaining glaze. Cool in the pan before serving.
Cook's note: Steen's pure cane syrup, a Louisiana specialty, is available via Amazon.com. Lyle's Golden Syrup, available at Giant, Safeway, Harris Teeter and Wegmans stores, may be substituted.
Nutrition values per serving. 280 calories, 11 g fat (5 g saturated), 43 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 21 g sugar, 4 g protein, 20 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium.
David Guas, chef-owner of Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Va.