Day 8: Sticky Pecan Bites or Cinna-minis

I didn’t see this one coming. I had no plans to post this recipe, but I was curious about these baby cinnamon rolls from one of my all-time favorites, Alice Medrich. They are so ridiculously good, I could not not include them.

How good are they?

They are so good I almost made them two days in a row. For myself! Someone, help!

They start with this genius biscuit dough that gets rolled around some butter and cinnamon sugar. It all melts and caramelizes in the pan when they bake. You can make 3 variations, which are shown in the photos: pecan, plain and one with a cream cheese glaze (a little cream cheese, butter, confectioner’s sugar and milk). I am sure you might think of others. They are unbearably cute and it is fun to pretend you are a giant eating a normal-sized cinnamon roll while eating one. Try it. It’s funny.

These obviously aren’t your normal holiday cookie. But how awesome would these be for a brunch dessert?! Imagine presenting a plate of miniature breakfast pastries to your guests. If you have friends or family staying with you for the holidays, these are perfect!

The recipe said these should be eaten on the day they are baked. I ate some the next day and they still tasted really good. None survived to the third day, so I can’t advise you there.

Sticky Pecan Bites (adapted from Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy...by Alice Medrich)

  • Pecan Halves
  • 1 cup (4.5 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional for sprinkling
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 oz) packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Lightly grease a mini muffin pan (with 24 cups or 2-12 cups)

Place a pecan half in some (or all) of the muffin cups, top side down. Combine the flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or fork. Make a well in the center. Pour the cream into the well. Use a rubber spatula to fold and stir the flour mixture and cream together just until the dry ingredients are entirely moistened and a soft dough has formed; it should not look perfectly smooth. Let the dough rest for 2 to 3 minutes to firm up. Meanwhile, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.

On a lightly floured surface, with a rolling pin, roll the dough to a rectangle 12 by 7 inches and 1/4-inch thick. Spread the dough with the soft butter, and sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt (I like using kosher or sea salt) and the brown sugar. Starting at one long side, roll the dough tightly. Cut the dough crosswise into 24 equal pieces. Place each piece in a muffin cup, cup side up.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until well browned. Immediately turn the cookies out onto a sheet of parchment on a heatproof surface. Serve on the day you make them, or asap.

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Previously, on THE 12 DAYS OF COOKIES

Day 1: Maple Pecan Cookies

Day 2: Fig and Date Swirls

Day 3: Evergreen Shortbread

Day 4: Rugelach

Day 5: Gooey Butter Cookies

Day 6: Poppy Seed-Honey Cookies

Day 7: Cherry, Pistachio, Oatmeal Cookies

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23 comments to “Day 8: Sticky Pecan Bites or Cinna-minis”

  1. Oh man oh man! A yeast-free, therefore moody-free, gooey cinna sugar indulgence! I must say though, I think you missed a few spots when you were icing the cream cheese frosting bites- I can see some dough through the icing so yes, those are only partially complete =)

  2. Hey, Tim. What do you think about rolling the dough up with the butter, salt, and brown sugar, wrapping it in plastic, and chilling it overnight? I’d like to be able to slice, bake, and serve them warm without much fuss. Any reason it wouldn’t work? Thanks!

  3. Hey Jess,
    In the past, I haven’t had the best luck holding biscuit dough (which is essentially what this is). I think it might be bad for the baking powder to sit in the dough that long. If I wanted these prepared in advance I would probably bake them the day before and warm before serving in the oven. Otherwise, I might try actually assembling the whole pan of rolls and then freezing it overnight. Bake from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the baking time. All of that said, these come together really quickly. Like, 15 minutes. You could get the pan greased, combine the cinnamon sugar, and the dry ingredients all the day before then whip them up in no time. In any case, happy baking!

  4. These looked so good….I licked the screen!

  5. I can’t decide whether to do these or the rugelah first, what should I do??!

  6. Laura, these are much easier than the rugelach- but both are delicious. I would make these now and the rugelach in January when you need a treat. : )

  7. I daren’t make this at home, it would be terrible for my weight loss, but I would love to eat a pan of these fresh from the oven!

  8. any thoughts on baking them cozied together as tiny pull-apart cinnamon rolls?

  9. Hey Emily, Since they aren’t a yeasted dough, they would not pull apart. You could try, but I don’t think it would work very well. I think they need the muffin cups to do their thing.

  10. Hey Tim, thanks for this recipe. These mini rolls are so in-cre-di-bly good. I don’t have a mini muffin pan, so I just baked them on a tray lined with baking paper, which worked out perfectly well. The only problem is, I made the error of telling myself “well, let’s try with half the quantity for a test”, which means there’s nothing left already. Might try very soon again, maybe with a poppy seed filling …

  11. Angelika- Thank you SO much for this good information. I am glad you got these to work without a mini muffin pan. I hate suggesting equipment that doesn’t get used that often. Glad you liked them!

  12. Wow these might just be my next go-to cookie. They are too cute to pass up!

  13. Tim,
    These are the easiest cookies to make and they are utterly delicious! I didn’t have a rolling pin so I used a wine bottle to roll out the dough. Seeing as I didn’t have a rolling pin, it should be no surprise that I don’t have mini muffin pan. The cookies came out perfectly on a parchment lined sheet pan. The only problem is that I may just eat them all before I go to bed tonight.

  14. ha! glad you liked them. we ate them all pretty fast, too. they’re kind of dangerous.

  15. They were gone in one day. I made them on Christmas morning to “supplement” :-) a healthy breakfast. I liked the crispiness. I will bump up the cinnamon next time.
    Thank you.

  16. Greetings from Australia. I’ve just pulled these little morsels from the oven. They were so easy to make and look and smell delicious. Taste is a two thumbs up too. Trying to let them cool completely, as I like to taste the difference when my baked goods are warm and when they are cold. Trying so hard to resist eating anymore. Want also to see how they taste in a few days time but just know they won’t last that long.

  17. Ugh, I love mini versions of delicious desserts. They get me every time! These look seriously amazing. I think I drooled a little on my laptop. Oops.

  18. I just made these delicious treats. So very easy. I managed to mess up the rolling part but it all came out disguised in the gooey cinnamon sugar, so no one was none the wiser. Contemplating making another batch right now. Thanks for the bringing some sweet goodness to my day.

  19. These look wonderful! I definitely want to try these … and will perhaps be scouring your archives for other little treasures! Thanks for sharing.

  20. oh. These make my soul happy. thank you!!

  21. oh these are so great. making them for Mother’s Day brunch :) they’re perfect bite sized treats.

  22. Yum. I want to try these! The blue and white plate in the first photograph is gorgeous, by the way. Do you know where it is from?

  23. I tried these today and they really made my day. So, thank you Tim. Really :) They’re amazing!

What do you think?