When I moved away from home, I called my mom and asked her to ship the Christmas pecan rolls to me. She suggested (appropriately) that she could read me the recipe over the phone and I could try to make my own. I knew that I could never make them as well as she does. I had watched Mom punch down and roll out dough to make our Christmas morning pecan rolls every year, and it looked complicated. (Even less appealing because she got up at the crack of dawn to make the rolls so she would have time to do all her other holiday chores.) Not one to let geography get in the way of tradition, that year, and every year after, Mom sent the rolls to me wherever I was.
This year Mom had a hip replaced. Needless to say, she was in no condition to make the rolls. My sister, the world’s greatest pie maker and this year's designated Christmas roll maker, balked at sending them to Colorado. (She’s not quite as easy to work as Mom.) Why don't I try making a batch, she suggested when I was back home in Iowa to help Mom after the surgery. She texted photos of her handwritten recipe card for Mom’s Pecan Rolls and said she’d be a phone call or text away while I tried my hand at making my own damn rolls when I got home to Colorado.
This year my kids will be at their dad’s, and I live in a legal state, so I figured my first stab at Mom’s pecan rolls could only be more fun with cannabis-infused butter. I decided to medicate half the batch with cannabis butter and half without because not everyone at my Christmas brunch would want to imbibe.
My sister’s recipe card was clearly written by someone who already knew how to make Mom’s special pecan rolls, so she was patient as I texted and sent photos during my attempt. “Seven whole cups of flour?” I texted. Yes, and I probably needed a standup mixer. “Can I substitute anything for corn syrup?” I asked her. “Not if you want them to taste like Mom’s,” she said. In Iowa, judicious use of corn syrup on a Christmas morning doesn’t seem as sinful as it does here in Boulder.
Rowan Lehrman/The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook
Makes about 2 cups
1/8 ounce cured, well-trimmed cannabis flowers or trim, finely ground
1 pound (2 cups) butter
2 cups water
Combine cannabis, water, and butter in a lidded saucepan. Stir gently with a wooden spoon over medium-low heat until water just begins to simmer.
Lower heat and place lid on pan, leaving a slight crack. Simmer for about 2 hours.
Place cheesecloth inside strainer and place over a bowl. Pour liquid butter through strainer into bowl.
Squeeze cheesecloth to release all liquid. Compost ground cannabis.
Return butter to pan, place lid on tightly, and refrigerate overnight.
Store in labeled, airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 months or freezer for up to 6 months.
I melted and strained it with a strainer and cheesecloth. Although the butter was grittier than most I make, it worked out because all that gooey caramel hides a multitude of sins.
Now, time to make the pecan rolls. The assembly process is a lot like making pineapple upside-down cake, but you have to let the dough rise and be good with a rolling pin. I’m not a natural with a rolling pin, and making these took all morning and well into afternoon. (Now I see why my mom got up so early.)
Makes 32 rolls
2 packages dry yeast
½ cup warm water (100-110 Fahrenheit)
2 cups scalded milk
1½ cups Simple Cannabis Butter, room temperature
1½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 beaten eggs
7-7-1/2 cups flour
8 tablespoons melted butter
¼ cup cinnamon sugar (half sugar, half cinnamon)
2 cups brown sugar
4 tablespoons corn syrup
4-8 cups pecans
4 loaf or bread pans
electric mixer (preferably stand-up)
Dissolve yeast in warm water.
Heat milk over medium-high heat until just about boiling, but not quit. You’ll know it’s ready by blowing on the surface of the milk in the pan. When you see a “skin” form on top of the milk, turn off the heat.
In a mixing bowl, combine ½ cup cannabis butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Pour in scalded milk and stir until butter is melted and ingredients are combined. Cool to 110 degrees or less so that heat doesn’t kill the yeast when you add it.
Using an electric mixer, beat in eggs and yeast. Add 2 cups of flour and beat well.
Add remaining flour ½ cup at a time to form soft but firm dough. Place in a bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let sit for 1-1/2 to 2 hours so dough can rise.
When dough has risen, punch it down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 4 rectangles. Brush each rectangle with 2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle ¼ cup of cinnamon sugar over each. Roll up each rectangle to make a long tube and cut into 8 rolls.
Place 4 bread pans directly on top of stove burners on low heat. Divide 1 cup Simple Cannabis Butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup evenly between the 4 pans and stir over low heat. Keep topping warm and melted but do not let it burn!
Place pecans on top of filling in bottom of pans.
Let rolls cool, wrap in aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and label clearly. Rolls can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week and freeze beautifully for up to 6 months.
Have a very happy holiday and a healthy, prosperous 2016!