If you ever find yourself wanting to throw out all of your self-imposed breakfast rules on a weekend morning in favor of a decadent sweet roll, then this recipe is for you. I tend to be a creature of routine on weekday mornings, with my bagel or eggs and english muffin. But there are some weekend mornings, when the kids sleep past dawn and I can come downstairs still in my pajamas, that I really just want a sweet treat with my first cup of coffee. And if that makes me an occasional hero to my sweet-toothed children, then so be it.
These pecan rolls, from my grandmother’s copy of The Anniversary Slovak-American Cookbook, are simple, rich, and doubly sweet. Made from an enriched yeasted dough filled with butter and brown sugar and topped with maple syrup and pecans, they are about as indulgent as breakfast gets.
Like all yeasted doughs, this one takes a little time, so if you want it first thing in the morning, then you should put it together the day or night before. To make the dough, add hot milk to sugar, salt, and butter, and wait until the butter has melted and the mixture has cooled to lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast on top and let it sit for 20 minutes, then add eggs and flour. After kneading the dough for several minutes, you’ll have a smooth and elastic ball of dough that you can set aside and forget about for a couple of hours while it doubles in size.
Then you can divide it into two parts and roll each piece into a large rectangle about ½ inch thick. Slather each piece with butter, then sprinkle it generously with brown sugar. Roll each rectangle up on its long side like a jelly roll, then slice each log into 12 pieces and place them in buttered cake pans to rise again.
Bake for thirty minutes in a 400°F oven, and you will have golden brown yeasty circles of sugary sweet goodness ready for serving. I admit that these are incredibly rich and sweet, so if you don’t have a sweet tooth, then maybe you can choose a more savory version of the breakfast bun. But if you want dessert for breakfast, then by all means bake up a batch and enjoy, preferably at a leisurely pace with a good cup of coffee.
*Note: Every Sunday, I bake a recipe from The Anniversary Slovak-American Cookbook that I inherited from my grandmother. You can check out the rest of these vintage recipes here.
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter (1 stick)
- 1½ tablespoon active dry yeast
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 1 cup pecans
- ⅔ cup maple syrup
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan over high heat until boiling. Turn off the heat.
- In a large bowl, add the sugar, salt, and butter. Pour the hot milk over it until the butter is melted. Cool this mixture until it is lukewarm.
- Add the yeast and let the mixture stand for 20 minutes.
- Add the eggs and stir, then gradually add the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once it comes together in a wet dough, turn it out onto a well floured countertop and, with floured hands, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. This will take several minutes.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover it loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it rise until doubled in bulk, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and butter two 9” cake pans.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured counter and divide it into two roughly equal parts. Roll each piece into a rectangle about ½ inch thick, then spread half of the softened butter on each piece of dough. Sprinkle it with the brown sugar.
- Take the long side of one of the rectangles and roll it up tightly like a jelly roll. Repeat with the other rectangle.
- Cut each roll into 12 roughly equal pieces. Place them in the cake pans and let them rise until they are puffy and spring back when touched, another 30-60 minutes.
- Sprinkle the pecans over the tops of the rolls and drizzle ⅓ cup of the syrup over each pan. Bake for 30 minutes.