Thursday, January 6, 2011

Iowa recipes: Caramel pecan rolls

Hello, everyone!  I know most people are trying to return to healthy eating after the holidays.  But the winter is also an excellent time for bread-baking, when you're spending a chilly weekend at home.  It's also a nice excuse to turn the oven on when you live in a drafty old house!

It's literally taken me years to perfect the sticky roll.  And I'm finally getting close to perfection.  I'm proud to say that these rolls have such a pretty spiral that they look like they came out of a biscuit tube!

I morphed two recipes together to make these sticky rolls:  my favorite white bread recipe and a caramel roll recipe from an old Iowa State Fair cookbook. 

I've learned from a lot of trial and error that the best way to get bread dough to rise in my drafty house in the winter is to place them on top of the oven while I'm roasting or baking something else.  I've also had some success with letting the rolls rise in the oven, after I've let the oven warm up to its lowest temperature and then turned the heat off.  However, the lowest tempeature on my oven is 150 degrees, so if I don't wait for the oven to cool off below 100 degrees, the rolls rise too fast, and then flop. And there's nothing worse than waiting hours for bread to rise, only to have it not turn out when you are having a bread-craving.

Here's the recipe I used for caramel pecan rolls.  Enjoy!


Caramel Pecan Rolls

Bread dough:
  • 1-1/3 C. warm water
  • 1 package of yeast
  • 1/3 C. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/6 C. canola oil (about 3 Tbl.)
  • 4 C. flour
Dissolve yeast, salt and sugar in water; add oil. Mix in flour. Knead, put in bowl and let rise about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until double in size. Punch down.

While dough rises, prepare caramel syrup (recipe below).  Pour syrup into two 9-inch greased pans (I used one 13x9 pan). Sprinkle 1 C. pecan over syrup in each pan.

Divide dough in half and roll each half to a 14x8 inch rectangle. Spread each rectangle iwth 1/4 c. butter, then sprinkle with filling (recipe below).  Roll up dough from the long sides, jellyroll style.  Cut each roll into 9 pieces.  Place rolls, cut-side down, into prepared pans.  Cover and let rise until double.  Bake in 350 degree oven 30 to 35 minutes, until browned.  Cool 5 minutes in pans before turning upside down.

For caramel syrup:
  • 1/2 C. butter
  • 1 C. packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 C. light corn syrup
  • 2-3/4 Tbl. heavy cream
Mix butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and cream in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring until all melted.

For filling:
  • 2/3 C. sugar
  • 1 Tbl. cinnamon
Combine sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside.


  1. Do you ever enter recipes in the food contests at the Iowa State Fair? I was born and raised in Iowa, and now live in New Mexico. I make it back to the fair every year. I do cooking demos in the Maytag Family Theaters and judge contests in the Elwell Family Food Building. I am glad I found your blog and I look forward to reading more of it!

  2. I love the new Elwell Family Food Building and the blue-ribbon displays. But I've never had the courage to submit anything for judging because I'm a beginning baker and canner. I've been thinking about "getting my feet wet" by submitting something for the county fair. Thanks for visiting my blog. I really enjoy following your blog, too.

  3. I am constantly debating using brown sugar in the filling as well. I have used it a few times and just don't know which is better...brown or white!

  4. These look awesome, Teresa! I, too, have worked to find a roll recipe I like. I think I finally found one too. I think it was a state fair winning recipe too. Yes, 2009 recipe, uses a combination of water and milk. Although the recipe filling calls for granulated sugar, I always use brown sugar because my mom did. I think I may need to make some soon, your picture has made me hungry!

  5. When mixing the dough it is mentioned to add the sugar however I dont see that listed on the bread dough ingredience?

  6. Thanks for catching the error. I'm making the correction right now to include 1/3 C. sugar. Really appreciate the feedback!


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