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Grandma's Sticky Cinnamon Pecan Rolls With A Brandy Glaze

14 November 2009

Grandma’s Sticky Cinnamon Pecan Rolls With A Brandy Glaze

Pecan-cinnamon rolls

My American grandmother introduced me to Jackass!

She came into the room and whispered hysterically: ” Beth you’ve gotta come see this!”

So, I dropped whatever I was doing and followed her anxiously, wondering what she was going on about?


Cinnamon Pecan Roll

Cinnamon Pecan Roll

I saw two men with bleach white bums running wildly across the screen, yelling out obscenities while my grandmother was on the floor in tears!

I was petrified.

Well, I tell a lie. I was amused…Well amused!  I was on the floor with her, laughing hysterically with some mild form of shock. My grandmother watches this stuff?!

What did I expect from a lady with a titanic sense of humor? She’s always cracking a joke, making fun of something, somebody-including herself. Grams doesn’t take herself seriously, a trait I extremely admire. You can always hear her laughing, giggling at the world no matter what it throws her way.

Pecan rolls
Cinnamon Pecan Roll

Although my grandmother is Pennsylvania Dutch and this recipe is a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe, it is not exactly hers. The following recipe went into my grandma’s repertoire, in the 1960’s! My grandparents lived in Richardson, Texas at the time and were next door neighbors to a chef named Gladis Gensen. Gladis was compiling a recipe clipping book for the area and this recipe was in it. It is not sure if Gladis developed the recipe or if the recipe was contributed to the book by someone else, but grandpa thinks it was Gladis’ own recipe.

So, there you have it! Although Gladis may have written the recipe, my grandmother lovingly gave me a killer obsession for these highly addictive, skeleton demolishing, mouthwatering buns of glory! And for that, if that alone, she deserves to have this post named after her!

Generation Pics 003

(Grandma Phyllis, mom Cindy, me in the top right, Addie, and Joslin-my sisters)

My grandmother originally began gifting these the week after thanksgiving but so many people started asking for them before so she & my mother now start gifting them on November first. Grandma used to even gift batches to the U.S Postal Service because she wanted to show her thanks in delivering her mail. How cool is she?!

The key trick in this recipe is to flip the cinnamon rolls onto foil once baked and still hot. This brings all that gooey, caramel, crunchy, nutty goodness to the forefront. The original recipe does not call for the brandied syrup glaze. It is my addition as I was adamant to include brandy in there somewhere. I really think the glaze is a superb addition, if I may say so myself!

Grandma's Sticky Cinnamon Pecan Rolls With A Brandy Glaze
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Serves: 18

  • 225g butter at room temperature
  • 140g granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 375ml milk-warm
  • 4 packets of yeast-28g
  • 250ml water, lukewarm or at 120c
  • 1kg flour
  • 130g sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 100g butter, melted and cooled
  • 100g pecans, pounded or roughly chopped
  • Brandied Syrup Glaze
  • 300g butter, melted
  • 265g light brown sugar
  • 45ml brandy
  • 60ml corn syrup- or any sugar syrup if you can’t find
  • 150g pecans- coarsely chopped
  • Electric Mixer
  • 1 large mixing bowl, 1 medium mixing bowl, 1 small mixing bowl
  • A kitchen scale, measuring cups & spoons
  • A basting brush
  • Rolling pin
  • Baking tin-12inx8in or 13inx9in

  1. In a very large bowl (Bowl 1) add the butter, sugar, salt and milk. Whip together with the mixer.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the warm water and the yeast.
  3. Add the yeast to bowl 1.
  4. Make sure you weigh up the flour  ahead of time and place in a separate bowl, so you don’t have to remember where you’re at.
  5. Begin by adding the sifted flour to bowl 1, about half a cup at a time.
  6. Continuously mixing till the dough forms (you may have switch out the mixer with your hands towards the end.) The dough should be sticky and moist.
  7. Cover and let it sit in a warm, unventilated space, like the oven, for about 1 hour, till risen.
  8. Pound the pecans in a mortar till you reach desired coarseness. I went for semi-fine.
  9. For the filling-In a medium bowl add the sugar and the cinnamon and mix. Set aside.
  10. By now the dough has risen. Remove and place on a well floured counter. Slice it in half.
  11. Keep one on the counter and cover the other half of the dough wrapped plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
  12. Flour your rolling pin and roll out the dough into a rectangle about 8inx14in. Lather generously with half of the melted butter,
  13. half the cinnamon-sugar and half the pecans.
  14. Roll it into a log. Cover with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes while you prep the second log in the same way.
  15. In the mean time, prep the brandied syrup glaze. In a sauce pan, melt the butter, add the brown sugar.
  16. The corn syrup and the brandy.
  17. Stir until well combined.
  18. Roughly chop the pecans.
  19. Take your baking dish and generously lather the bottom with the syrup glaze, then sprinkle with the pecans.
  20. Take your log out of the fridge and slice it into 9 rolls, about 1.5 inches thick.
  21. Layer them in the baking tin, making sure to keep some space between them as they will spread during cooking. I like to leave the two ends and bake them in a separate tin. Now, let them sit covered for another 45 minutes, so they rise. You can also freeze them at this point for later use, they keep for about 2 or more months.When you are ready to use, remove them and let them thaw a couple of hours or overnight.
  22. Just before popping them into the oven, brush them generously with butter & the brandy glaze.
  23. Bake in a pre-heated oven: 325F/160C/3G for about 35 minutes.
  24. Once done, remove and quickly flip over onto a foil or a serving dish.


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28 thoughts on “Grandma’s Sticky Cinnamon Pecan Rolls With A Brandy Glaze

  1. what an awesome picture of the fine ladies in your family beth! love it! and that recipe look divine. different to how i make my sticky buns so i will have to try it out soon! hugs!

  2. Who is ready for the holidays? My Grammie’s Sticky Cinnamon Pecan Rolls will bring the taste of the holidays and the smell of the season to any kitchen! It is such a treat to finally have this recipe documented and with so many step by step photographs =) Well done Dirty Kitchen Secrets.

    Your very proud sister,

  3. wow. these look incredilbe. i am a huge fan of cinnamon and pecan rolls! I can’t wait to give them a try.
    by the way, you and your sisters are absolutely beautiful!!!

  4. Beth-
    We were gathered at Aunt Jody’s house when we saw your post and we all read it and were really impressed with your gift with words!
    Grammie was honored and wanted to know how much it was going to cost her!
    We all enjoyed it–amused & laughing on the floor…..Mom

  5. You’re family is beautiful! It’s so nice you are sharing your grandmother’s recipes. My mother is gone now, but she lived long enough to bake with my granddaughter. We continue to use her recipes, especially for the holidays. Thanks for sharing yours.

  6. mmmm! these look so good and i love that picture of all the ladies in your family. stunning!
    enjoy a cinnamon bun as you watch pasty white buns on the telly? Classic!


  7. Beth, those rolls look heavenly; I can imagine how wonderful h your house must have smelt. And what a great picture of the ladies in your family; and yes, I do see the twinkle in your grammie’s eyes, must be really nice to be around her 🙂 Aren’t grandmas special? i miss mine so much 🙁

  8. AWWW Beth! I’m so glad you did Grammie’s cinnamon rolls! 🙂 Makes me feel all warm inside. Miss you, Lovely. : X 🙂 (oh and i LOVED the jackass story!! LOL)

  9. oh my goodness, jackass ?! haha !! i had a similar experience when i learned my grandmother watched desperate housewives, a show i have never seen ! but it’s more often she’d be calling me in to see something on a cooking show instead. she has a thing for bobby flay – never remembers his name, calls him the cute red-headed one ! 😉 so…. just imagine our two grandma’s in one room together !! oooh the laughs — AND good food.

    love your spin on the cinnamon rolls, and those tempting photos above. who was the lucky recipient of that red box ? 😉 and LOVE seeing your gorgeous family, thanks for sharing b !

    ps – when i make this, i’d probably lose the brandy…. and add dates to the dough, mmmm !

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