"Skip yeast in favor of a quick beer-and-baking-powder dough."
Brunch at home needs to be easy. There's a reason that neighborhood cafés manage to sell a couple of sad poached eggs for $13 on Sundays: we're not running on all cylinders on weekend mornings, especially not before our first gallon of coffee.
You can make these fancy-looking pecan rolls in under an hour—though you may get a bit of flour on your pajamas.
The secret? Skip yeast in favor of a quick beer-and-baking-powder dough. The beer adds a rich, malty flavor that most quick breads lack. While the recipe will work with a can of Budweiser, a more flavorful beer will give you more complexity in the final result. Just avoid using overly bitter or hoppy varieties of beer—save your IPAs for next Saturday night.
I made these with a bottle of Abita Pecan Ale, which added a nice nuttiness, though you could also try any pumpkin ale you have sitting around. The dough comes together in flash, then the rolls are arranged and baked on top of an easy brown-sugar-caramel topping. Invert the whole thing onto a platter, serve warm, and receive applause.
I added some crumbled bacon to the filling, but I actually think these pecan rolls work equally well without it. Then your brunch guests won't be overwhelmed when you serve them a giant stack of candied bacon on the side.
- For the cinnamon filling:
- 4 or 5 strips bacon (optional)
- 1/2 cup raw pecan halves or pieces
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted (you may not use all of this)
- For the dough:
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1/4 tablespoons salt
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 twelve-ounce bottle Abita Pecan Ale (or other nut brown or pumpkin ale), at room temperature
- For the caramel topping:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 3/4 cup raw pecan halves or pieces
In a mixing bowl, mix remaining dry ingredients (brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves) for cinnamon filling until blended.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Flour surface and rolling pin and roll dough out to 1/2-inch thickness. Brush melted butter over the rolled-out dough. (You may not use all of it.) Sprinkle cinnamon filling over dough and top with the toasted pecans and crumbled bacon if using. Roll up like a log.
In the same cast iron pan, melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter with remaining brown sugar to make the caramel topping. Stir until dissolved. Add remaining raw pecans and distribute caramel evenly over the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat.
Cut cinnamon-roll log into coinlike slices about 1 1/2 inches thick. Place each roll into pan on top of the caramel topping, starting in the center and working outward in concentric circles until pan is full. Brush roll tops lightly with butter and bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes (rolls will brown slightly.) Place a round platter on top of pan and invert rolls onto platter so caramel topping is on top. Serve immediately.