Old Fashioned Pecan Coffee Ring Recipe

Many of us have an enduring love affair with sweet yeasted breads. (After all, who isn't a fan of warm, ooey gooey cinnamon rolls or the sweet crunch of a nut bread?) Unfortunately, unless we are veteran bakers, we may balk at the idea of making our own sweet breads at home. Get excited, though, because recipe developer Angela Latimer of Bake It With Love gave us a recipe that isn't just easy to execute — it's also close to her heart. As Latimer says, "My mom made these when I was growing up, [and I] have always loved them!" 

These old fashioned pecan coffee rings are perfect to serve at brunch for a crowd, or even a tea served for two. If pecans are difficult to find, Latimer notes that substitutions are totally acceptable — especially since "any nut variety that crushes well would be a suitable choice, however, almonds and walnuts would be my top picks." This recipe isn't out of reach for someone with nut allergies, either, because they "could either omit the nuts [completely], add some dried fruit, or swap out for pepitas, which have such an amazing flavor," Latimer says.

Gather the ingredients needed to make this old fashioned pecan coffee ring

In order to prepare this delightful yeasted bread, you'll first need to make sure you have all the ingredients on hand. Then, you can prepare the sweet dough, along with the pecan filling and vanilla icing, by following the below steps.

For the dough, you'll need to round up milk, instant yeast, sugar, egg, flour, and salt. And if you want a richer dough, you'll want to melt butter, too. To make the cinnamon pecan filling, you'll need pecans and more sugar, in addition to butter, cornstarch, and cinnamon (but you won't need to work with those ingredients until you're waiting for the dough to rise). Lastly, to dress up the coffee ring with vanilla icing, you'll need confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract.

Prepare the sweet yeast dough

To begin preparing your dough, heat the required quantity of milk to between 105 and 110 F. Latimer suggests using a microwave, but heating the milk on the stovetop can work as well. Give the milk about a minute in the microwave, then check the liquid's temperature. Continue heating or cool down as needed.

When your milk is within the desired range, add the yeast, sugar, beaten egg, flour, and salt to it. Make sure all the ingredients are fully incorporated into a workable dough, and then transfer to a lightly floured surface.

Knead the dough, then let it rise for an hour

Once you have your dough on your floured work surface, knead for between six to eight minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Latimer advises you to pay attention to your dough because, "At about that six-minute mark of kneading, your dough should stretch well. You should be able to stretch a portion and see through it like a clouded windowpane. If the dough breaks rather than stretches, it's not ready."

When the dough is ready, transfer it into a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl, and leave the dough to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.

Make the cinnamon pecan filling

Now comes the exciting part, because you're one step closer to putting this tasty old fashioned pecan coffee ring together. While you're waiting for the dough to rise, you can whip up the cinnamon pecan filling by combining the crushed pecans, sugar, melted butter, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Mix until the pecans are well coated and the ingredients are evenly distributed. Then, you're ready to move on to the next step once the dough has risen.

Punch the dough down, then roll it out

When the dough has doubled in size, punch down the dough by pressing your fingertips into it so it goes about halfway down. Food52 noted another way to tell when dough has been proofed. To do so, poke the dough delicately. If it gradually reforms its shape, it's ready to go.

You'll then transfer the dough back onto a lightly floured working surface. Roll the dough out until it is a 12x18-inch rectangle. It will look roughly similar to cinnamon roll dough.

There's a trick to rolling the dough out

Latimer says that you might find that as you're trying to roll the dough out, the dough will want to contract back to its original shape. To work around this, she says, "I've found that rolling halfway there, then let the dough 'rest' for a minute before finishing the rolling out portion of the instructions, allows the dough to relax into its new shape and stretch better."

Add the filling, then form the pecan coffee ring

Once you have made the dough in the desired shape, spread the prepared cinnamon and nut filling throughout, leaving about a 1-inch border around all sides free of the filling. Roll the dough to form an 18-inch log by rolling the entire long length of the dough, then turn the log in on itself to form a ring. Pinch the ends to seal firmly so the ends stay together. Latimer notes that you can also use a touch of water to help the seal hold, and then transfer the ring to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Prep the ring, and let it rise for a second time before baking

After you've created a ring, use a pair of scissors to make slits about every 1 to 1 ½ inches around the ring. Make each cut up to ¾ of the way through the ring, so that you can twist each segment slightly without pulling the ring apart, then turn each cut section sideways. Cover the ring with a towel or dishcloth, and give the dough a further 30 to 45 minutes for a second rise, or until puffy. 

While the shaped ring is rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. And once the second rising time has passed, bake the coffee ring at 375 F for 25 to 30 minutes. Check the ring after 15 minutes, and if it is browning quickly, cover loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil, and continue baking.

Mix the icing after you've removed the bread from the oven

When the ring has baked through and is ready, take it out of the oven, and lay it on a cooling rack by using the parchment paper to move the pastry. Allow the baked pecan ring to cool completely on a wire cooling rack, which should take about 30 minutes. 

While you're waiting, you may want to make the drizzle by combining the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract until smooth. (Latimer notes that you can also use 2 to 3 tablespoons of milk or water for the icing, in replace of the heavy cream.) Drizzle over the pecan ring, then sprinkle with reserved crushed pecans, if desired. Allow the icing to set for about 15 minutes before serving. When the ring has cooled, you can top with the icing, serve, and enjoy!

Old Fashioned Pecan Coffee Ring Recipe
5 from 29 ratings
Old fashioned pecan coffee rings are perfect to serve at brunch for a crowd, or even a tea served for two.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
25
minutes
Servings
12
Servings
pecan coffee ring with frosting
Total time: 45 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 packet instant yeast (or 2 ¼ teaspoons)
  • ½ cup sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup pecans, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Optional Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter, for a richer yeast roll
  • 2 tablespoons finely crushed pecans, for sprinkling
Directions
  1. To start the dough, microwave the milk for 1 minute on high.
  2. Add the instant yeast to the heated milk, then incorporate ¼ cup of sugar, the beaten egg, flour, and salt. (For a richer dough, add 2 tablespoons of softened butter.)
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, and knead for 6 to 8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
  4. Transfer the kneaded dough into a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover, and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together the filling. Combine the crushed pecans, ¼ cup of sugar, melted butter, cornstarch, and cinnamon until well coated and evenly distributed. Then, set aside.
  6. Once the dough has risen, punch it down by pressing your fingertips into the dough so it collapses about halfway down.
  7. Transfer the dough back to a lightly floured working surface. Roll the dough until it's a 12x18-inch rectangle.
  8. Spread the filling over the rolled dough, leaving about a 1-inch border around all sides clear of any filling. Roll the entire length of the dough to form an 18-inch log, and turn on itself to make a ring. Pinch the ends to seal, and transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  9. Use a pair of scissors to go along the sides of the ring and cut slits about every 1 to 1 ½ inches. Cut ⅔ to ¾ of the way through the ring (enough to be able to pull the sections away from each other without tearing the ring apart). Then, turn each cut section sideways.
  10. Cover the ring, and allow it to rise for 30 to 45 minutes, or until puffy.
  11. Preheat the oven to 375 F while the shaped ring is rising.
  12. Bake at 375 F for 25 to 30 minutes, checking the pecan ring at the 15-minute mark. If the bread is browning quickly, loosely drape a sheet of aluminum foil over the ring, and continue baking.
  13. Allow the baked pecan ring to cool completely on a wire rack.
  14. Once the bread has cooled, mix the icing. Combine the confectioners' sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract until smooth.
  15. Drizzle the icing over the pecan ring, then sprinkle with reserved crushed pecans, if desired.
  16. Allow the icing to set for about 15 minutes before serving.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 309
Total Fat 10.2 g
Saturated Fat 3.6 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 30.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 48.9 g
Dietary Fiber 1.9 g
Total Sugars 19.7 g
Sodium 211.7 mg
Protein 5.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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