Combine in a large bowl and let stand until yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes:
¼ cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
Mix by hand until blended. Gradually stir in:
2 to 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
Mix for 1 minute or until dough comes together. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Add:
6 tablespoons butter, very soft
Vigorously knead in the butter until completely incorporated and the dough is once again smooth. [it will be a sticky dough]
Place dough in large buttered bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place for about 1 ½ hours.
Punch down the dough, knead briefly, and refrigerate, covered, until doubled again, 4 to 12 hours. [overnight]
[in the morning...] Butter a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Bring to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stiffing to dissolve the sugar:
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter
¼ cup honey
Remove from heat and stir in:
2 ½ cups chopped pecans
Pour the hot syrup into the baking pan and spread it evenly. Let cool. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out to a 16 x 12-inch rectangle. Brush with:
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/3 to ½ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon.
Starting from a long side, roll up the dough into a cylinder. Cut crosswise into 8 slices. Arrange the slices in the prepared pan, spacing them evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in room temperature until doubled in size.
[When cut and placed in pan to rise again, the dough will not double in size. That’s ok, because it will rise in the oven. I think its mainly to let the dough rest after rolling it out? Anyway...]
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until the buns are golden brown and the syrup is bubbly hot, about 30 minutes. Let buns cool for 5 min, and then invert them on serving tray. Serve warm.