I am something of a pecan fanatic. I love them with a fervor not given to other nuts. I do like other nuts, but I adore pecans. They make me gush with foodie love, especially when inserted into an ooey-gooey caramely breakfast roll. I could plunge head first into this plate of pecan rolls and eat them all up - oh wait, that actually happened. Oops. Don't tell anyone, ok?
These rolls made an appearance in our kitchen after I picked up my darling Tassajara Bread Book to find something fun to make for breakfast last weekend. Just before I started scattering nuts to and fro on the dough, I remembered that Anna can't eat nuts yet. So, I made a quick decision and divided the dough in half (okay to be fair, maybe it was more of a 25/75 split) and made the other part into cinnamon rolls. Phew, good save Momma! I never would have forgiven myself for stuffing my face with pecan rolls while Anna watched empty handed.
These buns also gave me a really cheesy way to share some really exciting news with you all. I promised you last week that I was going to fill you in on why my blog has been mostly silent for the past month. So, here goes...I've got a bun in the oven...figuratively and literally! Damn I'm funny. I think the morning sickness has completely subsided now (obviously, or I probably wouldn't have been able to even look at these buns) and I am back in kitchen action! Hooray!
Our newest addition is due on November 18th and we are thrilled beyond belief that Anna is going to be a big sister. And such a great big sister she will be. She's become mildly obsessed with babies lately, which may be a coincidence, or else the fact that we talk about babies mildly obsessively lately.
Our family is growing, and this Momma is gushing with love and excitement. It will be a big change, but can it really be a bigger change than going from zero to one? Umm...don't answer that. Let me live in ignorant bliss for just a few more months, ok?
So, back to the rolls. Unless you are a very early riser, I'd recommend making these rolls in their entirety the night before and giving them their final rise in the refrigerator overnight. This recipe calls for three rises, which calls for lots of time, which I don't have in the morning (unless we eat breakfast at 1pm). I took them out of the refrigerator about a 45 minutes prior to baking to bring them to room temperature. This whole process worked out beautifully, and my family was rewarded with a stunningly delicious breakfast and full happy tummies.
Pecan and/or Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Tassajara Bread Book
Makes approx 10 rolls
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup dry milk powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons melted butter or canola oil
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
for both cinnamon and pecan rolls:
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon cinnamon
additional ingredients for pecan rolls:
1 cup pecans, chopped
6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
Glaze for Cinnamon Rolls:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk or cream
To make the dough: dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes or until foamy. Stir in dry milk and egg to combine. Add 1 1/2 cups flour, forming a thick batter and then stir for about 30 seconds. Allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Fold in the butter or oil and salt. Add one cup flour and mix using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, or a stir with stiff wooden spoon, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead in a stand mixer or with your hands, adding additional flour as necessary until the dough is smooth and elastic. Allow to rise for 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375F.
On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 10" x 15" rectangle. Brush the melted butter on the dough, covering the entire surface. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon evenly across the dough. If making pecan rolls, distribute 1/2 cup chopped pecans across the dough.
Starting at the long edge closest to you, roll the dough away from you into a tight log. Cut the dough log crosswise into 3/4" thick rounds.
For Cinnamon Rolls:
Place the rolls on a greased baking sheet about 2" apart. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile make the powdered sugar glaze by stirring powdered sugar and milk together. While the rolls are still warm, brush with the powdered sugar glaze. Serve warm.
For Pecan Rolls:
Using two 8" square cake pans, dot the bottom of each pan with 3 tablespoons of butter and sprinkle with 1/4 cup brown sugar. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup pecans over the butter and sugar. Place the rolls in the pans, so they are snug against each other (this will the allow the rolls to rise up rather than out). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Turn the rolls upside down onto a serving platter, making sure to spoon any remaining caramel topping from the bottom of the pan onto the rolls. Put the platter on the table and pull them apart, throw one (or two!) on your plate and then...