Our family's traditional Christmas breakfast, these Pecan Rolls are probably actually Schnecken from Germany. However, as pecans are native to America, these have been Americanized.
We have one pan on Christmas morning and I freeze the other to thaw and warm for New Year's breakfast. A sweet start to the new year, right?
These are simple and the result is impressive. The only thing you need to have plenty of is time as the recipe is a fairly forgiving one.
It originally came from the Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking which was my mother's go-to book for many recipes that became family favorites ... such as the Tuna Puff Log. Yes, it sounds strange but it was a brioche loaf which one baked and then cut off the lid to in order to hollow out and fill with a delicious creamed tuna (fairly stiff but with walnuts and a dash of nutmeg). It made a surprisingly sophisticated dish which I seem to recall my parents serving to company ... who would eat seconds.
I have adapted the dough recipe for this somewhat to modernize it and I divided it into steps to make it easier to follow. I also simplified it as I am used to kneading yeast breads, etc. But the rest is pure Meta Given.
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup warm milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast (or 1 package yeast)
1/2 teaspoon malt powder (optional, I get it from King Arthur flour, not in the original recipe)
4 cups flour
Combine and knead as usual for yeast dough. Let rise. Punch down dough, turn out on a lightly floured counter and let rest 10 minutes.
1-1/3 cups moist light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup white corn syrup
Pecan halves or pieces
Meanwhile, mix brown sugar, butter and corn syrup until smooth and spread in the bottom of two 9” cake pans. Place pecan halves (upside down) in circles covering pan spread. If using pieces, press enough cover thoroughly firmly into mixture. Set pans aside until after rolls have been made.
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Roll half of dough into a 8x10” rectangle, about 1/3” thick. Spread with butter and sprinkle with sugar mixed with cinnamon. Starting on wide side, roll up snugly. Cut into twelve 1” slices. Place into one pan in circles, with rolls not quite touching. Brush with melted butter. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover lightly and let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour.
Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.
Remove from oven; let stand 2-3 minutes, then loosen edges with a knife and turn upside down onto serving plate. Hold pan over rolls a minute for syrup to drain out on rolls. Serve warm nut-side-up.
These freeze well. Dough can be used for any sweet rolls.