Recipe courtesy of Zoë François and Jeff Hertzberg
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Sticky Pecan Caramel Rolls
Yield:
Makes 6 to 8 large caramel rolls
Level:
None
Yield:
Makes 6 to 8 large caramel rolls
Level:
None

Ingredients

The Dough:
  • 1 1/2 pounds Master Recipe dough, recipe follows, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator if frozen
The Caramel Topping and Filling:
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for sides of pan
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar, well packed
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups whole toasted pecans
The Master Recipe: Boule (Artisan Free-Form Loaf):
  • 3 cups lukewarm water (100 degrees F or below)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated yeast
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 1/2 cups (scoop and sweep) all-purpose flour
  • Cornmeal or parchment paper, for the pizza peel

Directions

The Caramel Topping and Filling:

On baking day, mix together the butter, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Grease a 9-inch cake pan with butter, then spread half the caramel mixture evenly over the bottom. Scatter half the whole pecans over the caramel mixture and set aside. 

Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with our and cut off a 1 1/2 -pound (small cantaloupe-size) piece. Dust the piece with more our and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. 

Roll out the dough to an 1/8-inch-thick rectangle. As you roll out the dough, use enough our to prevent it from sticking to the work surface but not so much as to make the dough dry. 

Spread the remaining caramel mixture evenly over the rolled-out dough, then finely chop the remaining nuts and sprinkle them over the top. Starting with the long side, roll the dough into a log and pinch the seam closed. 

Using a very sharp serrated knife or kitchen shears, cut the log into 8 equal pieces and arrange over the pecans in the prepared pan, so that the swirled cut edge is facing upward. Allow to rest for 1 hour, loosely covered with plastic wrap. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. A baking stone is not required, and omitting it shortens the preheat. 

Place the pan on a baking sheet, in case the caramel bubbles over, and bake about 40 minutes, or until golden brown and well set in center. While still hot, run a knife around the outer edge of the pan to release the caramel rolls, and invert immediately onto a serving dish. If you let them set too long they will stick to the pan and will be difficult to turn out.

The Master Recipe: Boule (Artisan Free-Form Loaf):

Mixing and Storing the Dough

Warm the water slightly: It should feel just a little warmer than body temperature, about 100degreesF. By using warm water, the dough will rise to the right point for storage in about 2 hours. You can use cold water and get the same final result, but the first rising will take longer.

Add yeast and salt to the water in a 6-quart bowl or, preferably, in a lidded (not airtight) food container or food- grade plastic bucket. Don't worry about getting it all to dissolve.

Mix in the our-kneading is unnecessary: Add all of the our at once, measuring it in with dry-ingredient measuring cups, or by weighing the ingredients. If you measure with cups, use the scoop-and-sweep method, gently scooping up our, then sweeping the top level with a knife or spatula; don't press down into the our as you scoop or you'll throw off the measurement by compressing. Mix with a wooden spoon or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle) until the mixture is uniform. If you're hand-mixing and it becomes too difficult to incorporate all the our with the spoon, you can reach into your mixing vessel with very wet hands and press the mixture together. Don't knead! It isn't necessary. You're finished when everything is uniformly moist, without dry patches. This step is done in a matter of minutes, and will yield dough that is wet and loose enough to con- form to the shape of its container.

Allow to rise: Cover with a lid that fits well to the container but can be cracked open so it's not completely airtight-most plastic lids t the bill. If you're using a bowl, cover it loosely with plastic wrap. Towels don't work-they stick to wet dough. Lidded (or even vented) plastic buckets are readily available. Allow the mixture to rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse (or at least flattens on the top), about 2 hours, depending on the room's temperature and the initial water temperature-then refrigerate it and use over the next fourteen days. If your container isn't vented, allow gases to escape by leaving it open a crack for the first couple of days in the fridge-after that you can usually close it. If you forget about your rising dough on the counter, don't worry: longer rising times at room temperature, even overnight, will not harm the result (though egg-enriched dough should go into the fridge after 2 hours). You can use a portion of the dough any time after the 2-hour rise. Fully refrigerated wet dough is less sticky and is easier to work with than dough at room temperature, so the first time you try our method, it's best to refrigerate the dough overnight (or for at least 3 hours) before shaping a loaf. Once refrigerated, the dough will seem to have shrunk back upon itself and it will never rise again in the bucket- that's normal. Whatever you do, do not punch down this dough. With our method, you're trying to retain as much gas in the dough as possible, and punching it down knocks gas out and will make your loaves denser.

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