Monday, January 6, 2014

Brilliant Brunch: Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

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I wanted to make Christmas morning (aka, in our house, John's birthday) really special.  Gosh knows John gets the short straw enough, it certainly won't be in our house!  I mentioned to a co-worker of mine, who is a great cook and baker in his own right, that I was going to make some cinnamon rolls.  He insisted I try his version which he swears by.

They take forever, let's just get that out of the way first.  But, the nice thing is, once they are made, they can hang out in the freezer for a month and you can pop as many as you want in the oven at a time.  So all the intensive work is TOTALLY work a month full of delicious cinnamon rolls.  Trust me on this. Of course, as is always the case with the selfless man that lives in my house, he didn't want me to go too overboard for his birthday so it was up to me to find him something he couldn't refuse.

Like...cinnamon rolls.  And...bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches.  With 3-pepper cheese.  This was an offer even the most selfless man in the world could not refuse.  Christmas morning was filled with cooking and present opening so I didn't get a chance to photograph my creation.  I pulled 4 cinnamon rolls out of the freezer this past weekend and took a few pictures for all of you to salivate over.  I mean, to inspire you to make these at home!

Pecan Cinnamon Rolls  (Food and Wine Magazine - December 2011)
Serves:  24 (24 rolls)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
6 eggs
4 1/2 cups sifted flour (plus more for rolling)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 sticks unsalted butter, chilled

1 cup pecans
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup sour cream
2 large eggs beaten with 1/4 cup of water

1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dough:  In a bowl combine yeast, water, and 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Let stand about 5 minutes, until foamy.  Whisk in the eggs.  In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the sifted flour with salt and remaining sugar.  Slowly add egg mixture and beat on medium speed until the dough is just moistened (it will be very stiff).  Cube the butter and add a few pieces at a time, waiting until each is partially kneaded before adding more.  Continue kneading until the butter is fully incorporated and dough is silky (8-10 minutes after all the butter has been added).  Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.

Filling:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spread the pecans on a cookie sheet and toast until fragrant and lightly browned, about 6-8 minutes.  Let cool.  Finely chop.  Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in brown sugar and cinnamon. 

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  On a floured surface, cut the dough into 2 pieces.  Place 1 in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Roll out the other dough to a 12x16 inch rectangle.  Transfer the dough to a baking sheet and refrigerate 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, roll out the other dough and transfer onto the second baking sheet.  Refrigerate that pan 15 minutes as well. 

Still working with one dough at a time, spread half the sour cream over one sheet of dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border on all sides.  Sprinkle with half the pecan filling.  Brush the long sides with egg wash.  Roll up the dough from a long side into a tight cylinder and pinch the ends to seal.  Freeze the dough log until it is chilled, about 2 hours.  Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.  Cover and refrigerate the egg wash.

Transfer the logs to a work surface and cut each into 12 even slices.  Set the slices on the baking sheet, cut sides up.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. 

To Bake:  Unwrap the rolls and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Brush tops and sides with egg wash and bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and risen. 

Glaze:  In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the confectioners' sugar with the butter, heavy cream, and vanilla extract until thick and smooth.  Spread glaze on the cinnamon rolls and let cool 20 minutes before serving. 

The unbaked cinnamon rolls and sugar glaze can be frozen separately for up to 1 month. 

Until the next time my oven is on...


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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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