Likely the predecessor of American cinnamon buns, Schnecken are a German pastry topped with a gooey, honey pecan mixture…and they’re delicious!
Schnecken, which means ‘snails’ in German, are essentially a German cinnamon roll. Except these cinnamon rolls are topped with a honey + pecan mixture that is so tasty you’ll be scraping up the bits off the bottom of the baking pan! I first learned about schnecken back in college when a former girlfriend introduced me to these amazing pastries. She was from Cincinnati, and apparently schnecken are a favorite in the ‘Nati. This makes perfect sense as German immigrants were among the first people to settle in this part of the country.
I remember trying to make this recipe way back in college. I believe it was the Christmas break during my senior year, and I was back home in Raleigh. I decided to learn how to make schnecken in an effort to impress my girlfriend. The plan sounded great in theory…until my bowl of yeast blew up in the fridge overnight. Ok, ‘blow up’ is a strong term. More like ‘gradually oozed out of the bowl and all over the shelf’ is a better description. That was my first experiment with yeast, and it wasn’t a good one.
Schnecken: A German Cinnamon Roll Topped with Honey + Pecans
Not to be dissuaded, I tried this recipe several more times over the years. What can I say? I’m a bit stubborn at times. I’m glad I stuck with this one, though, as this schnecken recipe has become one of my favorites. Soft, pillow-y bread covered in gooey honey-coated pecans. Are you hungry yet? I know I am!
I took this batch into the curling club, and one of my friends just looked at me with a blank stare when I told him I made a batch of schnecken. He said (and I quote): “That sounds like something teenagers used to do.” He’s hilarious.
Even though the yeast monster took over my fridge when I first made this recipe, don’t let that discourage you! Just make sure you put the dough in a large bowl as it will rise overnight. Schnecken are a bit unique in that they get refrigerated overnight. However, in my opinion, that actually makes this recipe easier as you can take care of the dough on Day 1. Then on Day 2, you just need to roll it out, fill it and then let it rise for an hour. Trust me when I say the process is worth it! Cheers, friends!
Did you make a batch of these Schnecken at home? Leave a comment! Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).
Looking for more tasty breakfast recipe ideas? Check out these other favorites:
For the dough
- 1 cup milk
- 4½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp instant dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 oz. unsalted butter softened
- 3 eggs
For the Filling
- 3 Tbsp honey
- 3 Tbsp light corn syrup
- 4 oz. unsalted butter melted and divided
- 1½ cups pecans chopped
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ Tbsp lemon zest
- ½ cup raisins
For the Dough
- Using a microwave or stovetop, heat the milk until warm to the touch. (Note: The milk should only be warm, not hot.)
- Using a countertop mixer fitted with dough hook, add flour, sugar, yeast and salt; stir until well combined.
- Add softened butter, eggs and warm milk; stir until well combined. Increase speed to medium and mix for 4-5 minutes. Transfer dough into greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
For the Filling
- The next day, transfer dough to a well-floured countertop and roll into a 12” x 18” rectangle.
- Lightly beat egg with 1 Tbsp of water and brush 1” of one of the longer edges with this egg mixture.
- Brush the rest of the dough evenly with 4 Tbsp of the melted butter. Using a small bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest; mix until well combined. Spread this mixture evenly on top of the melted butter. Sprinkle raisins evenly on top of the sugar mixture.
- Beginning with the long edge that was not brushed with the egg, roll dough up into a tight cylinder.
- Using a small bowl, combine the honey, light corn syrup and the remaining 4 Tbsp of melted butter; stir until well combined. Brush this mixture evenly onto bottom of a well-greased 9”x13” baking pan. Spread chopped pecans evenly into bottom of the pan.
- Cut dough into 1½” slices and place each slice cut-side down into prepared pan. Press dough lightly with hand to help push pecans into dough. Cover pan lightly with plastic wrap and place in a warm location for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Remove plastic wrap and bake schnecken for 32-35 minutes, or until lightly browned on top.
- Invert schnecken immediately after baking onto a large plate or aluminum foil. (Note: This step is important! If you don’t invert the schnecken, the topping will stick to the pan instead of the buns.)