Spiced Pecan Rolls

I’m a bread amateur, and most of the bread I’ve baked has been of the sweet, filled-with-something variety. Poppy seed and nut rolls, babkas, cinnamon rolls…these are my breads of choice. Someday I plan to bake “normal” breads – you know, the kind that you can make a sandwich with – but for now, I’ll stick with the sweet variety.

My Better Homes & Gardens Baking book has a great recipe for “make it mine” cinnamon rolls, and I chose to go with apple pie spice, chopped pecans, and cinnamon chips for this recipe. The end result is an incredibly tasty creation that had an excellent texture when they first came out of the oven. Today, they were quite dry; I’m not sure if this means I over-baked them, but they still tasted pretty good. I also think the cinnamon chips got a bit lost in the filling, but hey – we bake, we learn. I look forward to making more versions of this in the future.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
  • 5 1/3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs

Filling

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple pie spice
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon chips

Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • About 2 1/2 tablespoons milk

Preparation

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 1 and 1/2 cups flour and active dry yeast.

In a medium saucepan, combine milk, masked potato flakes, butter, sugar, and salt; heat on medium in just warm, between 120 and 130 degrees. Pour into flour/yeast mixture, then add eggs, and beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down your bowl and beat for 3 minutes on medium.

Switch to your dough hook, and add another 2 1/2 cups flour. Mix on low speed until flour incorporates as much as possible, then turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Dough will be very sticky; I used a bench knife to scrape it from the countertop during kneading. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft though that is smooth and elastic; this can take between 3 and 5 minutes. Shape dough into a ball.

Place dough in a large, lightly greased bowl and allow to rise in a warm place until about doubled in size, 45-60 minutes. I place my dough bowl on a heating pad set to low, as my house tends to be on the cooler side. Once dough has risen, punch it down gently and turn it onto a lightly floured surface to rest for 10 minutes.

While the dough rests, make the filling by combining brown sugar, apple pie spice, pecans, and cinnamon chips in a medium bowl. Set aside. Lightly grease a 13 x 9 baking tin.

Shape dough into an 18 x 12 rectangle and spread with softened butter; I just used my fingers for this. Sprinkle filling leaving 1 inch unfilled along the sides. Roll up the rectangle, starting from the long side, and pinch the dough to seal the seams. Slice into 12 equal portions and place cut-sides down in the baking tin. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Uncover rolls and bake for 25-30 minutes, until tops are golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

While rolls are cooling, make the icing by combining the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk in a small bowl. Stir in enough remaining milk to make a drizzly consistency. Remove rolls from the pan and drizzle with icing; allow icing to set before storing. Serve warm or at room temperature; keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 1-2 days. Makes 12.

Orange Honey Sweet Rolls

Well, these are absolutely delicious. Not that I’m surprised; the recipe comes from my Better Homes & Gardens Baking book. And BH&G recipes have never – I repeat, never – let me down. Other sources are not so reliable, but I suspect that BH&G has the best test kitchen in the entire world. Which would make sense, when you think about it. They’ve been in business quite a long time.

My orange and honey sweet rolls are adapted just slightly from the original version, which included golden raisins in the filling and slightly less orange icing for the top. The dough is very easy to work with, which is good for amateur bread bakers like me. Next time, I might add a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg to the filling for a more aromatic treat, but these are wonderful with just the flavors of the orange and honey.

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water (about 105-110 degrees)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder*
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 cups bread flour

*I bought mine at King Arthur Flour

For the filling

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • zest of 1/2 medium orange

For the icing

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • zest of 1/2 medium orange
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Preparation

Place yeast and warm water in a mixing bowl and let stand for five minutes. Add dry milk powder, butter, honey, eggs, wheat germ, and salt and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl, add 2 cups plain flour, and beat on low for 30 seconds, then on high for 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl a few times during mixing.

Stir in remaining 1 cup plain flour with a wooden spoon, then stir in 1 cup bread flour. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead in as much as the remaining bread flour as you can to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes total. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to coat. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently deflate; cover and let rest for 10 minutes. While the dough is resting, make the filling; stir together butter, honey, and orange zest until smooth; set aside. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking tin and set aside.

Roll dough into an 18 x 15 rectangle and spread with filling, leaving a gap of about 1/2 inch around all four sides. Starting from a long side, roll the rectangle into a log and pinch the seam to seal. Cut into 15 slices and place cut-side down in the prepared baking tin. Cover and allow to rise for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool in tin for 1 minute, then carefully invert on a cooling rack. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes, then flip onto your serving platter (or a rectangular cake caddy, which is what I used) and drizzle with orange icing. Serve warm or cool.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days. Makes 15 (though mine only made 13 because I’m terrible at math).