A few years ago we lived in a ninety-seven year-old Folk Victorian home that hadn’t been lived in in years! The yard was overgrown and many of the old trees had been struck by lightening. Honestly, they looked more like a hazard than anything, and the days of enjoying the shade under their branches were long gone.
When we were cleaning up from one of the hurricanes my neighbor told me that the old, half-alive, tree in the backyard is actually a Pecan Tree! I was so excited that the ugliness of it’s past disappeared and I started to take notice of its beauty instead. I couldn’t wait to get out there and gather up all of those little gems so I could get baking!
The first thing I made was Pecan Rolls. Nothing beats homemade pecan rolls and they really don’t require too many pecans either. This batch was made with a heaping handful of pecans my husband gathered for me.
Make these easy Pecan Rolls on Christmas Morning!
These great sweet rolls can be made overnight so mom can take a break on Christmas morning!
Mommy’s Playbook Pecan Rolls
(This recipe uses a stand mixer with paddle and dough hook attachments)
- 1 Cup Milk
- 1 Packet Yeast
- 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Butter
- 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 2 Eggs
- 2 Cups Wheat Flour (or All Purpose Flour)
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup applesauce (or butter)
- 1 Cup Pack Brown Sugar
- 3 tbsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/3 Cup Chopped Pecans
Pecan Caramel Sauce:
- 1/4 Cup Pecans (loosely chopped)
- 1/4 Cup Butter
- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp half and half (or milk)
Warm milk in a small bowl. Dissolve granulated sugar and yeast into the milk and allow yeast to activate for five minutes. Yeast should be foamy, if not, you may need to start over.
While yeast is activating. Cream butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and eggs with your mixer using the paddle attachment. Slowly add 2 cups of wheat flour (or All Purpose if you are omitting the wheat flour in this recipe). Mix just until combined.
Switch to your dough hook attachment. Pour in the milk, sugar, and yeast mixture all at once. Turn your mixer on slowly (may need to imitate a “pulse” method until the liquid begins to mix in). Add remaining 2 cups of flour 1/2 cup at a time. Kneed dough until the flour is fully incorporated. (Dough may NOT separate from the bowl so don’t wait for that to happen.)
Lightly oil a large bowl. Pour dough into bowl (a rubber spatula is a great help here.) Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
For filling: Mix Brown Sugar and Cinnamon together, set aside.
Once dough has risen, pour dough onto a floured surface. Sprinkle with more flour and flour your rolling pin. Roll dough thinly into a large rectangle. (Tip: Shape the dough into a bread loaf before starting to roll.)
Pour applesauce onto your rectangle. Spread with a spoon (or your hands) to the edges. Top with brown sugar/cinnamon mixture and pecans.
From the long side, roll your dough. Try to keep it tight so you don’t lose your filling when you transfer it to your baking pan(s).
Starting at the middle, cut dough log into 1 inch thick rolls. I use a dough scraper and then readjust the roll into a circle, but if you have floss that works great too.
Lightly grease two round pans. I use two rimmed pie dishes. Divide your rolls in half, place half in each dish. They don’t need to touch because they will rise and meet eachother before baking.
STOP! Are you making these overnight? If so, cover your cinnamon rolls with plastic wrap and place them into the fridge! (read more below)
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake pecan rolls for 25-30 minutes.
While the rolls are baking, prepare your caramel topping. In a small saucepan, heat pecans and butter, stirring frequently. Once the butter is melted, add your brown sugar. Stir until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Add half and half/milk. Stir and allow to rest until your pecan rolls are finished.
Top rolls with caramel. Serve warm.
Overnight tips! Your rolls should rise in the fridge overnight so all you need to do it plop them into a cool oven in the morning. However, if they don’t, fill a rectangle pan with water and set it on the bottom rack of your oven. Place rolls on the rack above the pan. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and allow the rolls to rise for 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake pecan rolls for 25-30 minutes.
Are they done? Don’t tear them apart trying to see if they are done. Press the center roll gently. If they are done it will bounce right back. If it sinks, bake for another 5 minutes.