Dough: In a small bowl mix 1/2 cup warm water, yeast, and pinch of sugar. Allow it to stand until foamy, about 8 minutes. Using a standing mixer with a paddle attachment or an electric mixer, mix the remaining sugar, butter, milk powder, and salt until well blended. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in the remaining 1 cup of warm water, and the yeast mixture, then 3 cups flour, 1 cup at a time. Using a rubber spatula, mix in another 1 cup of flour, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently (dough will be soft and sticky). Sprinkle 1/4 cup of flour onto a work surface and knead the dough until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 8 minutes.
Butter a large bowl, add the dough, and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm area until doubled, about 2 1/2 hours.
Glaze: Butter 2 (10-inch) round cake pans with 2-inch high sides. Beat the brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, honey, corn syrup, and water in a medium bowl to blend. Spread half of the glaze in the bottom of each prepared pan. Equally divide the pecans into each pan.
Punch the dough down and divide it in half. Roll each piece of dough out on a floured work surface to a 12 by 10-inch rectangle. Brush any excess flour off the dough. In a small bowl mix the sugar, and cinnamon. Brush the melted butter over the dough rectangles and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar, dividing equally. Starting at 1 long side, tightly roll up each rectangle into a log. Cut each log into 12 rounds. Arrange the 12 rounds, cut side down, in each prepared pan, spacing evenly. Cover with plastic wrap. At this point the buns can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Let the buns rise in a warm area until almost doubled, about 1 hour (or 1 hour 25 minutes if refrigerated).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bake the buns until deep golden brown, about 30 minutes. Run a small knife around the pan sides to loosen the sticky buns. Turn the hot buns out onto a platter. Cool about 30 minutes and then drizzle with royal icing.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice until they are combined. Add the sifted confectioners' sugar and beat on low speed until smooth. The icing needs to be used immediately or transferred to an airtight container. Royal icing hardens when it is exposed to air.
*RAW EGG WARNING:
Food Network Kitchens suggest caution in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, we recommend you use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.
Recipe courtesy of Anne Thornton