As promised in my first post of the new year, the recipe for my Aunt Sarah’s cinnamon rolls, aka the best cinnamon rolls ever.
She told me the original recipe came from the back of a bag of flour and she has tweaked it over the years to get it right. In fact when I asked for the recipe she had to translate it for me because she was still using the original cut-out from the back of the flour bag which was in rough shape and didn’t have any of her modifications noted on it. Point is, this recipe is time-tested and a proven winner. Trust me on this one.
You begin by making the sweet dough which then gets divided in two and is kneaded and then sits for a little while to rise.
Next you roll the dough out into two rectangles and spread with softened butter (I microwaved the butter for about 30 seconds so it was partially melted and that seemed to work well) and then sprinkle with a brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.
Then you roll the dough up.
Once the dough is rolled up you use a sharp knife or kitchen twine and cut the dough into 1 1/2″ sections. I got a little too generous with a few rolls and they wound up being closer to 2″ which messes up the caramel-to-roll ratio in the end so I advise you get don’t cut them any wider than 1 1/2″.
Next you put 4 to 6 tablespoons of melted butter in the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ pan, then drizzle 1/2 of light corn syrup over the top, followed by 3/4 cup of brown sugar, and finally pecans if you are using. I decided to make half the pan with pecans and half without. Another tip here that I wish I had thought of before I baked the rolls: butter the sides of the pan so the rolls don’t stick and therefore drop out of the pan easier when you get that point.
Then you place the rolls into the pan on top of the buttery-sugary goodness and let rise in the fridge for 2 to 48 hours. Once they have risen in the fridge you then take them out and let them rest on the counter for another 1 to 2 hours. Do not do as I did and stuff the pan quite as full as the below picture shows. I forgot to take into account that the dough nearly doubles in size so it threw off the baking time of the rolls since they were too close together and a few rolls in the middle of the pan did not cook all the way through. I think I would have been okay if I had taken 3 rolls out of the 9″ x 13″ pan and placed them in a separate pan to bake. Live and learn.
After the rolls bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes (I recommend checking after 20 minutes and if they are browning already, cover with aluminum foil for duration of baking time) you flip the pan over (away from you) into prepared foil with upturned edges so you do not get caramel all over your counter top. The caramel from the bottom of the pan coats the rolls in a beautiful golden brown and the scent is heavenly.
Alas, because I did not butter the sides of the pan and then stuffed a few too many in, my rolls did not come out the pan in an attractive manner. They still tasted wonderful but were not so much photo-worthy so I am instead substituting with a photo of the rolls my aunt made at Christmas. As they say, practice makes perfect…
Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls (CoolRise Rapidmix Sweet Dough Recipe)
4 – 5 cups bread flour
- 1 ½ tsp. salt
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- ½ cup (1 stick) soft butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups very hot tap water
- 2 eggs at room temperature
Filling & Caramel:
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter
- 1 ½ brown sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons cinnamon
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ½ cup pecans, optional
Combine 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, sugar & salt in large bowl (use pedestal mixer if you have one). Stir well to blend and add softened butter.
Add hot tap water to ingredients in bowl. Beat with electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl occasionally.
Add eggs and 1 cup more flour. Beat with electric mixer at high speed for 1 minute or until thick and elastic. Scrape sides of bowl occasionally.
Stir in remaining flour gradually with wooden spoon. Use just enough flour to make a soft dough which leaves sides of bowl. (I only used about 4 and ½ cups bread flour.) Turn out onto floured board. Round up into a ball.
Divide dough into two equal portions. Knead 5-10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic
Cover with plastic wrap & then a dry towel. Let rest 15-20 minutes and punch down.
Make pecan rolls:
Roll each ball into a 12” x 18” rectangle (approximate size). Spread with 1 stick of softened butter and sprinkle with a mixture of ¾ cup of the brown sugar and all of the cinnamon. Starting at the longest side, roll up the dough leaving the seam side down. Using a sharp knife or twine, cut each roll about 1 ½ inches deep.
Butter sides of a 9” x 13” pan and then put 4 tablespoons of melted butter in the bottom of the pan, swirl light corn syrup over butter, and sprinkle remaining ¾ cup brown sugar on top. Add whole or chopped pecans to the pan and then lay cinnamon rolls on top. Lightly brush rolls with melted butter, cover loosely with plastic wrap, then a dry towel and refrigerate 2 to 48 hours.
Remove rolls from the fridge and uncover, letting them rise at room temperature for approximately 1 to 2 hours, or until nearly doubled in size. Bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until done (making sure the rolls aren’t doughy in the center). Cover lightly with foil if they brown too quickly while baking.
Remove from the pan onto a large sheet of heavy aluminum foil with edges that have been turned up (to prevent hot caramel from spilling onto the counter). Make sure to tip the pan away from you to prevent caramel from splashing on you.