Baking can be, well, sticky business.

Whether it is walnuts versus pecans, cream cheese topping versus sugar glaze or grilled versus not grilled, everyone who loves a sticky bun has a favorite way to eat them. On a recent blustery morning, customers pulled up at the Mr. Sticky's stand outside of the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention and Visitor's Bureau to pick up their sticky buns.

According to Mr. Sticky's baker/manager, Nathalie Percy, the favored sticky bun at the Lancaster location is the regular or walnut-topped.

Since moving to the Greenfield Road location in March, the business has drawn regulars, some stopping by every morning for a sweet fix.

According to Percy, it's the "gooey" that makes the buns taste good.

"We put a lot of what I call the gooey, which is the brown sugar syrup, in the bottom of the pan," Percy said.

Lancaster resident Carol Diobilida agreed.

"The gooier, the better," she said.

Having grown up locally, Diobilida is no stranger to the sweet treat and prefers hers with no nuts, with cream cheese icing.

"The icing is a newer introduction, but it makes it perfect," Diobilida said.

Sandra Grosh of East Petersburg is a fan of pecans on her sticky buns and thinks the nuts add another level of flavor to the sweet treat.

Soon, the Hamilton Club, 54 N. Duke St., will embrace the sticky bun as well when it attempts to break a world record for creating the largest sticky bun. A private event, Nov. 4, is being planned to honor the club's pastry chef, Brad Miller, for having baked his one-millionth pastry at the club.

"I have baked sticky buns for every guest since I started almost 29 years ago," Miller said. "It seemed like the thing to do to mark this milestone. People know the club and the sticky buns that we serve here."

Miller is going to bake a 200-plus-pound sticky bun that is then going to be sold in 1,000 pieces to members during a First Friday event at the club, according to Jason Hohl, marketing manager of the club.

The bun will be baked in four segments and will take up to 20 hours to complete. Baked "low and slow," according to Miller, the huge bun will then be assembled and sold to guests and at Lancaster's Central Market on Nov. 5.

Miller, who uses pecans to top his sticky buns, thinks that the sticky, brown sugar "shmear," or topping, is what makes a great sticky bun.

"That and raisins," Miller said.

"That mixture that goes in the pan - with the nuts and the drips all over the cooked sticky buns - is what makes a great one," Miller said.

But to Mark Maerz of Strasburg, who grew up eating his mother's sticky buns and now makes his own, it's not the gooey or the shmear that determines great taste …

"It has to be light and fluffy," Maerz said.

Now it's your turn to create your own sticky bun success.


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