I needed to try out my new mixer, to see if it truly was quiet and powerful, and what better way than with some bread dough? Even better, dough that will eventually be covered in caramel and pecans. I have tried many recipes for cinnamon rolls since getting into making dough, and I would always think that one part of a recipe was great where another part was only so-so. In the end, I combined a few recipes to get this. It’s not that difficult, and really delicious. Wouldn’t it be nice to turn out a pan of these on a Sunday for friends? For the Recipe:
1 c. warm water (105 F – 115 F)
4 tsp. dry yeast
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. plus 2 tblsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. dry milk powder
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
4-5 c. all purpose flour
Cinnamon and Sugar Filling:
2 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. brown sugar
**2 c. pecans, chopped large (do not mix with the sugar, keep separate)
1 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
3/4 c. butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 c. heavy cream
2 c. pecans, chopped large
***if you like a more gooey roll, make extra of this sauce.
In the bowl of a mixer (you can also do all of this by hand if you prefer) add 1/4 c. of the water, yeast and 2 tsp. of the sugar. Mix with a spoon and let sit until the yeast starts to do its yeasty thing and gets bubbly. Add in the rest of the sugar, butter, milk powder and salt, mix well. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Next, add in the remaining 3/4 c water. I actually used a spoon rather than any mixer attachment to mix these ingredients, after this is when I put the dough hook on. What can I say, I’m lazy and wanted to save washing a big bowl… Start adding the flour, one cup at a time. The dough should still be a little sticky (more so than what you would normally look for when mixing bread dough). Once you get the correct texture let the dough continue kneading for another 7-8 minutes. The dough will get a little less sticky as it kneads, if you find that it’s just too sticky add more flour, but use a spoonful at a time rather than a cup. Butter a large bowl and place the dough, coating each side, in to rise until doubled in size (2-2 1/2 hours).
To make the sauce, in a heavy bottom sauce pan add the brown sugar, butter and salt. Let this all melt together, stirring to mix completely. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Let cook for about 3 minutes. Spread the glaze on the bottom of a baking dish then sprinkle with the pecans. As for the baking dish, I’ve made them in one large dish and also in several small, you just want to make sure you don’t pack them in. These need to rise again for about an hour before you actually cook them. They will double in size and if you squeeze them in a pan that is too small they won’t cook properly. Once the dough has doubled turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times, then cut the dough in half. Roll each half into a 9″x12″ rectangle. Use one of the tablespoons of butter to spread over the dough, then sprinkle half of the cinnamon/sugar mix then sprinkle with half of the pecans. To help keep the pecans in place I like to lightly press down on them into the dough. Starting from the long side, tightly roll the dough. Next, cut the dough to make the individual rolls. You can always vary the size, but if you make them smaller/larger, adjust the cooking time accordingly. I like to make 16 fairly large rolls. I cut the log into half, then each half into four rolls. Repeat with other half of the dough. After you place them in the prepared baking dish you can either let them do their final rise where they will double in size (about an hour) or you can cover them with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator. If you do the latter, be sure to let them sit out at room temperature for an hour before baking.
Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for 30-35 minutes or until they get a nice golden brown. Turn them out onto a platter and serve. The caramel sauce will drizzle down the side once you flip them. Enjoy!!