Butterscotch Pecan Rolls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Sometimes Grandmas recipes are still our favorite recipes; with their old-time flavor and aromas, they warm our hearts and tummies. This recipe for Butterscotch Pecan Rolls is shared by our Son-In-Law Robert and comes from his Grandmother Maxine Lowe’s wooden box recipe file.

These rolls bake up perfectly with just the right sweetness from the brown sugar filling and topping. There’s a sweet raisin surprise hidden inside the rolls and a few crunchy toasted pecans on top. After the rolls are baked the pan is turned over to allow the sweet pecan topping to drip down onto the rolls. The rolls are baked into a single cake-like layer but the rolls can be broken apart or sliced into wedges to serve.

I did take the liberty of exchanging vegetable shortening in the original recipe with butter, as I feel butter adds more flavor. I also added instructions below for using an electric mixer to blend and knead the dough, even though Grandma may not have had an electric mixer to use in her kitchen and most likely kneaded the dough by hand.

Tip: Being an old-fashioned recipe the milk is scalded. Scalding milk was most-likely a necessary step to remove bacteria in the days before milk pasteurization. Today’s recipes don’t normally require scalding milk; however, there are still benefits of using this step. Scalded milk adds its own flavor and helps to enhance other flavors the milk is added to. Milk can be scaled in the microwave or a double boiler, but I prefer to scald milk on the stove top. You need to stir and watch the milk constantly so that it just heats but doesn’t boil. See the Tip in the directions below for how to scald milk.
Recipe type: Dessert | Sweet Yeast Buns
Serves: 16 Rolls
  • ⅓ cup milk (preferably whole milk)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
  • 1 package active dry yeast Tip: use quick-rise yeast for faster rise time
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest. Tip: finely chop the grated zest with a knife so it distributes evenly thoroughly the dough.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
Filling and Pecan Topping:
  • ⅔ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, divided
  • ¼ cup dark corn syrup, divided
  • ½ cup raisins, plumped Tip: Plump the raisins by steaming with a double boiler; steam the raisins about 1 minute or until softened. Thoroughly drain or spread the raisins on paper toweling to dry.
  • ¼ cup pecans, lightly toasted and broken by hand into coarse pieces Tip: breaking the pecans by hand reduces the fine crumbs that result when chopping nuts with a knife
  1. Scald the milk. Tip To scald milk: Measure out the amount of milk needed for the recipe and place the milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir frequently to prevent burning and heat the milk just until the milk begins steaming and bubbles start forming around the edge of the pan; remove from the heat before the milk begins to actually boil.
  2. Add the butter, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and salt to the scalded milk. Set aside to cool so that it is no warmer than 110 degrees F. Tip: the scalded milk mixture must be cooled down to at least 110 degrees before adding with the yeast mixture as higher temperatures may kill the yeast. Test the temperature with an instant read thermometer just before adding with the yeast.
  3. While the scalded milk mixture is cooling, prepare the yeast mixture. In a small bowl combine warm water, yeast and ½ teaspoon sugar; stir together and let sit until yeast is dissolved and starting to get foamy, about 10 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, add egg and lemon zest, briefly whisk with a wire whisk or fork to break the egg up. Add the cooled scalded milk mixture and yeast mixture; whisk to combine ingredients.
  5. Add 1 cup of the flour to the egg and yeast mixture. Using the paddle attachment beat on low speed to start blending the flour, then add the remaining 1 cup of flour and blend until mixed. increase the mixer speed to medium speed and beat 2 to 3 minutes until well mixed and smooth.
  6. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, scraping the dough into the center of the bowl. Switch to the dough hook attachment and beat the dough on medium speed for 5 minutes. Tip to test when the dough is done: you should hear the dough make a slap-slap-slap sound as it hits the sides of the bowl. Also, test the dough by taking a bit of dough in your fingers and gently pulling it; the dough should stretch and become thin like a window pane of glass. If it just breaks apart when you pull, then continue to beat the dough another 2 to 3 minutes or until it develops more strength and stretches as you test by pulling it again with your fingers.
  7. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl using either vegetable shortening or vegetable oil. Place dough in the greased bowl, turning once to grease the top of the dough or just lightly rub the top of the dough with a bit more shortening or oil.
  8. Cover bowl with a small kitchen towel and let dough rise is a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
Filling and Pecan Topping:
  1. Have one 10-inch cast iron skillet ready to place the rolls. Tip: I use a cast iron skillet because I feel the heat generated from the cast iron makes a crustier topping.
  2. In a small bowl combine the brown sugar and cinnamon, stir to mix. Set aside.
  3. Pour one-half (1½ tablespoons) of the melted butter in the pan, tip the pan to spread the butter over the bottom and sides of the pan, or use a small spatula to spread the butter. Drizzle one-half (2 tablespoons) of the dark corn syrup evenly over the butter. Sprinkle one-half of the brown sugar mixture evenly over the top, then sprinkle all of the pecans evenly over the top. Set pan aside while preparing the dough.
  4. Punch the dough down then turn onto a lightly floured pastry mat or pastry board; knead dough briefly, 4 to 5 times. Roll and gently stretch the dough into an 8-inch by 16-inch rectangle. Tip: this is a messy stage. I often use a large piece of freezer paper, lightly floured, and then when the rolls are completed I simply fold up the paper and throw away the mess.
  5. Spread the remaining melted butter evenly over the top of the rolled dough, then drizzle the remaining dark corn syrup evenly over the butter. Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar mixture evenly over the top, then sprinkle all the raisins evenly over the top.
  6. Roll-up dough jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; gently pinch the seam together to seal. Slice dough into 16 pieces, each about 1 inch thick, and arrange them in a circle over the pecan topping in the pan using 11 pieces on the outer circle and five on the inside.
  7. Cover and let rolls rise is a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. Bake: Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes or until the rolls are a rich golden brown and the internal temperature reads 190 to 200 degrees F. using an instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature. Check the temperature at 25 minutes, then bake longer if needed. Tip: 28 minutes’ bake time was just right in my oven.
  10. When rolls are removed from oven, invert the skillet onto a heat-proof serving plate and let stand for about 5 minutes to allow the pecan topping to drip down onto the rolls, then carefully remove the skillet. Be careful: the cast iron skillet and topping will still be very hot. If any of the topping remains in the pans, spoon it onto the tops of the rolls.
  11. Serve warm from the oven if possible for the best flavor or cover with foil when cooled and store at room temperature. The rolls can be broken apart or sliced into wedges to serve.
Recipe Notes
Pan: one 10 inch cast iron pan Pan Prep: Pecan Topping Oven Temp: 350° Storage: Cover and Room Temperature

Help: Toasting Nuts and Seeds

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Recipe by at https://thebakingpan.com/recipes/yeast-breads/butterscotch-pecan-rolls/