To prepare caramel, combine first 3 ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat; stir frequently until butter melts. Continue cooking until mixture thickens and becomes smooth (about 1 minute), stirring constantly. Remove from heat; pour into the center of a 9-inch square baking pan; quickly spread caramel onto pan bottom using a spatula coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with pecans; cool to room temperature. Lightly coat sides of pan with cooking spray.
To prepare dough, dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in salt.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 5 cups flour to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to keep dough from sticking to hands.
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.
Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.
Roll dough into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface; spread 2 tablespoons of softened butter over dough. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Roll up rectangle tightly, starting with long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam to seal (do not seal ends). Cut into 16 (1-inch-wide) slices. (A) Place slices, cut sides up, in prepared pan (rolls will be crowded). Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until rolls are light golden brown. Cool in pan 5 minutes on rack. Place a serving platter upside down on top of pan; invert onto platter. Serve warm.
As others suggested, I increased the caramel. I live at 6500 feet above sea level, so I often have to adjust recipes slightly. This is no exception. The flavors are amazing (it's hard not to eat the whole pan myself!), but they were a bit doughy even though I cooked them 10 minutes longer than suggested. It has so much potential, though, that I can't give it less than five stars for something as minor as a cooking time needing changed. Next time I will cook it for about 40 minutes instead of the 20 it specifies and use a 9x13 pan because it was insanely hard to even get twelve into the 9x9 pan. The family really liked this, but one person suggested increasing the cinnamon slightly.
This was my first time cooking with yeast on my own. It was super easy and turned out fantastic. I took CSloan's advice and doubled the topping and am glad I did. Mine never got brown on top, but I took took them out after 25 min anyway and they were cooked perfectly. Run a knife around the outside before inverting because I had a little sticking on the sides, but no sticking on the bottom at all.
My husband and I love this recipe. He begs me to make it! Because there's only two of us in the house, I'll often divide the recipe into two pans and freeze one of them for another weekend. Because I don't have a 9" pan, I end up cutting more like 18-20 rolls (which lowers the calorie count).
Unlike one of the PP, I've never had a problem with the caramel crystallizing.
The caramel should almost have a bit more of an explanation on how to do it first, plus I think if would be better to do as a a final drizzle rather than baking it in. It hardened and was a pain to clean up... plus it just didn't have the right texture. Next time I make it I'll try to adapt it a bit. The bun part was AWESOME though.
I made these when the recipe was printed, and they turned out just like the real things (as the other reviewers have noted they are not that much lighter). I had lost the recipe, so I am happy to find it online. I made them just as printed, but I would like to try to let them rise overnight in the fridge. I made the "make-ahead ooey-gooey buns" because of the high reviews, but I found these much better.
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