Yummy, sticky, sweet, spicy… Pecan Rolls!
I wish I could make pecan rolls as good as Joann McCormack, “The Cinnamon Roll Lady.” Alas, I must limit myself to those little sticky plops of ambrosia to summer, when I can get them at the Tuesday evening Culver Farmers’ Market. Mine, though, are still pretty durn sticky-good. My version is also easy and quick to make. I can put it together in time for breakfast even on a busy Sunday with parade, chapel, or other commitments.
The secret to quick pecan rolls? I use my refrigerator brioche dough. So, it’s fast to make the rolls, and needs only about an hour of rise time.
Make yummy pecan rolls in little time, using my refrigerator brioche dough.
Toast the pecans in a skillet over low heat. Stir or toss frequently, and always give your undivided attention when toasting nuts. The line between toasted and toast is razor thin!
Remove pecans from the skillet so they do not continue to cook. Finely chop half of them.
Melt the butter. Whisk in sugar, molasses, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
Grease a 6"x6"casserole. Pour half of the caramel mixture into the dish, then sprinkle with the whole pecans.
Form the brioche dough into a ball by stretching the surface around to the bottom and tucking it into the middle. Keep rotating the ball and repeating until a nice ball forms, but don't overwork it! You don't want to collapse the air bubbles in the dough.
Roll the dough into a square about 3/16" thick on a floured surface. Use only enough flour to keep it from sticking - too much will dry out the rolls.
Spread the remaining caramel mixture over the dough. Try to get it as close to the edges as you can without making a horrible mess. Sprinkle the chopped pecans evenly over the caramel mixture.
Starting at one edge, roll the dough into a log, and gently press the edge closed. Use a dental floss (wrap a piece around the log one time, then pull the ends tighter until it cuts through) or a very sharp knife to cut the log into four rolls.
Place the rolls on top of the pecans in the casserole dish. Cover with a clean cloth, and let rise for one hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put the casserole dish on a baking sheet, in case of a caramel eruption. Bake for about 38 minutes, until light brown and set in the center.
Immediately cover the rolls with a plate or serving dish, flip over, then remove the casserole dish. If you wait very long, they'll stick to the dish and never come out whole (on the other hand, you can eat them from the pan, yielding lots of sticky finger-licking...).
Let cool until caramel mixture sets a bit, about 4 minutes. Serve warm.
If you keep bees or otherwise have some choice in your honey selection, it's best to use a honey with some character. Though not always, these are usually darker honeys, harvested later in the season. I'm using a late August wildflower honey from our farm, which has a fair bit of buckwheat, sunflower, squash, and cucumber in the bee's forage.