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Caramel-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

1 cup
milk, heated to lukewarm
2 1/2 teaspoon s
active dry yeast
1/3 cup
4 cup s
bread flour or all-purpose flour
large eggs
1 teaspoon
kosher salt
8 tablespoon s
(1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoon s
(3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup
light brown sugar
2 tablespoon s
vanilla bean, scraped
1 1/2 cup s
pecan halves
4 tablespoon s
(1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup
2 teaspoon s
ground cinnamon
1 cup
coarsely chopped pecans
2 tablespoon s
milk, at room temperature for brushing before baking
  1. For the dough, combine the milk and the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer and stir to dissolve. Add the sugar and stir together until the sugar is dissolved. Add 2 cups of the flour and mix together using the paddle attachment of your mixer (or with a wooden spoon in a bowl). When the mixture is smooth, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand for 1 hour. 
  2. Add the eggs to the sponge, one at a time, and beat with the paddle attachment until incorporated, scraping down the sides after each addition. Add the remaining flour and the salt. Change to the dough hook and knead at low speed for 1 minute, then at medium speed for 5 minutes, or until the dough comes away form the sides of the bowl. 
  3. With the mixer at medium speed, add the room-temperature butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, and continue to knead until each addition in incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times by hand. The dough should be smooth and elastic, Shape into a ball. Rinse and oil your bowl, return the dough to it, rounded side down first, then rounded side up, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled. 
  4. When the dough ball has doubled in size, use your fist to punch it down in the bowl. Cover again and set in a warm place to rest for 15 minutes. 
  5. Meanwhile, make the topping. If using a muffin tin for the rolls: In a heavy saucepan melt the butter and stir in the light brown sugar, honey, and seeds from the vanilla bean. Stir in the pecan halves and mix well. Spray the muffin tins with pan spray, and spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of each cup. If using a round frying pan or casserole for the rolls: Combine the butter with the light brown sugar, honey, and seeds from the vanilla bean in a 12-inch chicken-fryer or metal casserole, Stir over medium heat until the butter and sugar have melted. Stir in the 1 1/2 cups of pecan halves and mix well. Spread the mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan, remove from the heat, and set aside. 
  6. to shape the rolls, lightly flour a work surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough ball to rectangle measuring about 9 x 18 inches/ for the filling, brush evenly with the melted butter. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the butter. Sprinkle the chopped pecans evenly over the surface and roll up the dough, stating at a long edge, like a jelly role. With a sharp serrated knife,cut the log crosswise into twelve 1 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange them on top of the mixture in the muffin pans or in the pan or casserole. Cover with pan-sprayed plastic wrap and leave at warm room temperature to rise for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  7. Uncover the muffin tin or pan. Brush the rolls with milk and bake 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn the heat down to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer, until puffed and golden brown. 
  8. Unmolding the rolls: Muffin tins: place a sheet of parchment on a baking sheet. Remove the buns from the oven and invert immediately onto the parchment. Leave them alone for about 30 seconds, then lift the muffin tin. Do not touch the caramel--it's very hot. Serve the rolls warm. Pan or casserole: Remove from the oven and invert a large heat proof plate over the casserole. Using oven gloves or pads, hold the casserole and plate securely together with both hands and invert them onto a work surface. Leave them alone for about 30 seconds to give rolls and their topping time to unmold. Then left off the casserole and use a spatula to dislodge any of the recan mixture still sticking to the pan and transfer it to the rolls. Serve the rolls warm.

The easiest pan to make them in is a large, heavy muffin pan.  But for a more dramatic presentation, try baking them in a round pan or casserole as instructed below.

This type of dough--brioche--is easiest to make in a stand mixer. Make sure your ingredients are warm or at room temperature, that the dough is tightly covered with plastic, and that it has a warm, draft-free spot in which to rise. The cinnamon rolls can be frozen.  Thaw them in a microwave as you would a frozen muffin.  To scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, use the tip of a sharp paring knife to cut the bean in half lengthwise.  Scrape the tiny seeds from the pod by running the tip of the knife down the inside of the pod.
Average: 3.4 (31 votes)

About this Recipe

I grew up on wonderful Austrian pastries made with the brioche-type dough in this recipe.  But for sheer decadence, nothing quite matches the American sticky bun.  these nutty rolls are one variation.

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