How to Make It
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the yeast with a pinch of granulated sugar and the milk and let stand until foamy, 5 minutes. Add the remaining sugar, the 4 tablespoons of melted butter and the egg yolks, honey and vanilla; mix until blended. Mix in the flour and salt. Switch to the dough hook and knead at medium speed until the dough forms a smooth ball, 4 minutes.
Brush a large bowl with butter. Add the dough and brush the top with butter. Cover and let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. In a medium saucepan, melt the honey with the brown sugar and 4 tablespoons of butter over moderate heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Pour the hot honey mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the pecans.
In a bowl, mix the sugar with the cinnamon. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 12-by-18-inch rectangle. Spread the butter over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar. Starting at a long side, roll the dough into a log and turn it seam side down. Cut the dough into 12 slices. Arrange the slices, cut side up, in the baking dish. Cover and let stand in a warm place until the buns double in volume, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Bake the honey buns for about 35 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Invert the buns onto a baking sheet and let cool slightly. Serve warm.