Sunday, October 21, 2012

One Month of Less: Day 21: Caramel Pecan Rolls

I love to bake. I love to cook. Just as much, I love to look at pictures of food in cookbooks or online and marking them as "to try." One of my vague kitchen goals is to have a recipe box filled with recipes that I KNOW are good. Especially for standard foods like chicken noodle soup or chocolate chip cookies. My typical disclaimer when people are over to eat is "I've never made this before..." Somehow it seems like I make most recipes only once.

But I've finally found a recipe for caramel rolls that has earned the position of THE caramel roll recipe!

Beats the preservatives off the kind that come in a tube.

I like this recipe because it doesn't call for pre-bought dough (which I never have on hand), and it makes plenty of caramel sauce. Nothing worse than a dry caramel roll. Also, these rolls can be left in the refrigerator overnight and baked in the morning -- which is important, as I see no situation EVER in the forseeable future in which I would wake up early enough to make caramel rolls.

Caramel Pecan Rolls - Makes 12

1/4 c. butter (or shortening or coconut oil) + 6 T melted butter
1 3/4 c. milk (whole if you have it)
1/3 c. honey
1 package or 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 egg
5-6 c. flour
2 tsp salt
2 1/2 c. heavy cream
2 1/2 c. + 1/3 c. brown sugar
2/3 c. sugar
1 T cinnamon

Salted Pecans:

2 T butter
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans
1 tsp salt


In a saucepan, melt 1/4 c. butter/shortening/coconut oil over low heat. Add milk and honey and heat to 105-115 degrees F. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir to dissolve.

Stir in the egg. Add salt and 5 cups of flour. Using the paddle attachment on low spead, add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough that does not stick to the bowl (remember you're going to have to roll this out). Switch the paddle attachment for the dough hook and knead for 5-7 minutes on medium-low speed, adding more flour if needed.

Divide dough in half and shape each half into a ball. Place them on a floured surface in a warm spot and cover with a moistened kitchen towel. Let rise until double in size, which will take about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan (medium to large -- needs room to boil) whisk together cream and 2 1/2 c. brown sugar. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce to medium-low heat for 9 minutes, whisking frequently, until slightly reduced. Remove from heat.

Butter a 10x15 baking dish with some of the melted butter. Spread 1 1/2 c. of caramel sauce on the bottom of the pan.

In a bowl, mix together the sugar, 1/3 c. brown sugar, and cinnamon. Roll out 1 ball of dough on a floured work surface into a 9x15" rectangle. Brush with 1 1/2 T melted butter, leaving a 1" stripe at the top dry for when you roll it up. Spread with half the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll up the dough into a log and pinch the seam closed. Cut into 6 rolls. Arrange the rolls cut side up in the baking dish. Repeat with the second half.

Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until double, about 45 minutes. OR, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. I did the overnight method and took my dough out in the morning to rise until double.

To make salted pecans: in a frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add pecans and salt. Stir frequently until toasted (about 3 minutes). Drain on paper towels.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake about 35 minutes, or until rolls are golden. Remove from oven and brush with remaining butter. Let stand 3 minutes. Place a large rimmed baking sheet over the pan and invert the rolls onto the sheet.

In a saucepan, reheat the remaining caramel sauce over low heat until just warm enough to pour. Pour over rolls. Sprinkle with pecans.

For the month of October I'm doing one thing a day that is a step towards a simpler way of living -- less cluttered, less wasteful, less distracted. My goal through this month of less is that by taking a new step every day, I will be able to live in a way that is more organized, more stewardly, more purposeful. Read more about it here, and let me know if you're joining in!

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