Pecan Rolls – deliciously simple and simply delicious

If you are like me, you have been leery of recipes that require a specific temperature for the yeast and several iterations of kneading. This recipe is quite easy as it relates to an actual dough. Read through the recipe and see what you think, it really was pretty simple. If you are going to make them, be sure do make the dough the night/day before as it really needs to sit about 12 hours before you bake them; there is a short ~30 minute rise again before you bake them.

Oh and you can use this dough for cinnamon rolls too! It’s your food, make it your own…

I didn’t use the scale for this recipe and it turned out great so you can use simple measuring cups for this. Here is what you will need:

For the dough

  • 7 cups flour (don’t scoop out 7 straight away, you’ll use it in “parts”)
  • 1/2 ounce yeast (2 packages or 4.5 tsp)
  • 2 cups milk (I recommend whole milk)
  • 1/2 cup warm water (just use tap water at the hottest setting and let it cool to the point where you can just put your finger in it, shouldn’t be too hot)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil (I used canola)
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

For the caramel in the pan:

  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (toasted if you have time)

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Okay so let’s start with the milk, you’ll need to heat it to a luke warm temperature, I did this by putting it in a small saucepan and setting the heat to medium-low; I did this before I started anything.

While the milk is warming, I place the yeast in a bowl and poured the warm water over the yeast and let it sit. I didn’t stir or disturb it in any way, just poured over and let it sit for ~10 minutes. You want it to look “creamy” before you use it. It should look kind of like this:

Now start on the dough, place 4 cups flour, egg, oil, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl; I beat the egg with the oil to make sure it is fully incorporated. Test the milk, should feel just warm (not hot), put milk and yeast mixture in the bowl then stir to combine. I find it best to use a wooden spoon but I am not sure how important that is but it is what I always do. Continue to add the remaining flour, by cup, until completed. I didn’t use the full cup from 6-7 becuase the dough looked as thought it was good. Use your judgement on the last cup, start with 1/2 cup and stop when you think it is not absorbing any more liquid. After adding cup 6, I started using my hands to really incorporate the flour. Dust some flour on the counter and dump the dough.

Knead the dougn until it is a little smooth on the surface and elastically. The best method i found is to “push” the dough away from you with the bottom of your hand. Fold the dough over itself from side to side and continue to push away from you and downward; I did this for maybe 5 minutes. Rinse out the bowl you used to mix the dough and then coat it with oil (I used canola oil becuase it is virtually flavorless, I wouldn’t use olive oil here since it is a sweet dish).

Place the dough in the bowl and turn it a couple of times to coat the ball of dough and cover with a damp towel. I soaked a kitchen towel with hot water and wrung (wringed?) the water out and covered the bowl then set it in a warm place in the kitchen for an hour to rise. I was skeptical about the serving size when I covered it becuase it was prety small (I didn’t take a photo because my hands were covered with schmutz) but when I uncovered the bowl….. I saw this:

Now I think you should do something else for ~30 minutes, you don’t want to make the filling too early.

To make the filling, place 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick) in a smaller saucepan and turn the heat to medium-low. Let me butter begin to melt and add in the brown sugar and pecans, stir until it is fully melted then remove from heat and add the corn syrup, salt and vanilla. Line 3 smaller pans with wax or parchment paper for easier cleanup, I used 2 9“ cake pans and 1 9” square pan but you can use 2 9×13” baking dishes [see note]. Place the caramel mixture into the prepared pans. And now on to rolling out the dough.

Note: you can freeze them at this point, quick a quick flash freeze on a baking sheet until they are firm then place them in your desired vessel.

Place the dough on a floured surface and start rolling out to a shape that resembles a large rectangle, you don’t have to be too finicky about this but the more square the dough, the better the “roll”. It shouldn’t be too thin, here is what mine looked like to make 28 rolls (10 each Round pan and with in the square pan). I made it more square as I began to roll it up onto itself. You will want enough surface area to accommodate the filling and enough of a rectangle for the “ends” to meet when you complete the roll. You most certainly can adjust the shape as you roll the dough by stretching the edges to be more square as you roll; it was able to do it easily because the dough is pretty “elastic” at this phase. Just pull the dough to the shape you want as you roll.

Now you want to slather this dough with the room temp butter then mix the cinnamon, salt and sugar together and sprinkle the whole area with that and the pecans. Then you are ready to roll. You want to roll from the long side or else you will have Godzilla rolls which is fine with sushi but I think it would be a little much here…. Just roll and stretch until it is all completed then I grabbed both ends and stretched out a little more (gently) just to make sure there wasn’t large gaps in the roll. Then you want to start slicing the dough, I used a sharp large knife just make sure you don’t “saw” through it as this will seal the edges and prevent proper rising (like how you shouldn’t “twist” when cutting biscuits, same concept here). I sliced them maybe 1” thick and placed on top of the topping in the pans. I put them closer to the center so they would “grow outward” during the cooking process. They definitely grow as you cook them.

Cover the pans with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator For about 12 hours but don’t leave them much longer than 18 hours. When you are ready to bake, remove the foil and place on the stovetop (somewhere warm) while the oven preheats (should be ~30 minutes) then bake for 30 at 350. They will look like this, the ones on the top look weird because they were the ends that weren’t even:

Let them sit for a minute and dump the entire pan onto a plate. Enjoy!!!

Pecan rolls fresh from the oven....

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