Ohhhh boy. This is a doozy, and probably one of my best creations to date! Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls. CARAMEL PECAN CINNAMON ROLLS. Pinch yourself, this isn’t a dream. And pinch me too while you’re at it because these taste so amazing it seriously feels like I’ve been transported into another world with every bite.
This cinnamon rolls recipe is not for the faint of heart, the diet-conscious, the sugarless, or for people who don’t like happiness. I like this recipe so much because instead of icing these cinnamon rolls are doused in a sugary, creamy, pecan-covered sauce that is rich enough to make your heart stop. CPR, please.
And, this is coming from someone who doesn’t even LOVE cinnamon rolls like that. I mean, of course I like cinnamon rolls – I’m not a monster. But I probably eat one once a year, and it’s something I have never really craved. I find Cinnabon cinnamon rolls to be super overwhelming, and these caramel pecan cinnamon rolls are overwhelming too but they came from MY kitchen and the rules are different over here, mkay?
If I could make cinnamon rolls every single day though, I totally would. The process puts me in a zen-like state that is kinda similar to making my croissants recipe. This dough requires lots of kneading by hand, two rises, and rolling. So in between lots of activity there is also some downtime spent sitting around, which you could productively use to get some housework done or respond to urgent emails, or if you’re me you’ll just use that time to check on the dough every two and a half minutes to make sure it’s rising.
However you’d like to spend your time, know that it’s worth it. These caramel pecan cinnamon rolls are worth it, every single time.
Adapted from: A Spicy Perspective
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup scalded whole milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
- 2 large eggs
- 4+ cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar, heavy whipping cream, and pecans. Spread evenly into a 9x13 in pan. Mixture will be thick, so you may have to use a spatula to get it even. Set aside.
- Place the milk in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil. The moment it reaches a boil, remove from heat. This process is called scalding and it's to make sure the milk doesn't affect the yeast's ability to rise.
- Pour the hot milk into a large bowl and add 1/2 cup butter to bring the temperature down. Stir in the butter and let it melt completely. Next, add in the sugar. Milk temperature should be close to lukewarm, if not add 1/2 cup flour and test again. Once it is just above room temperature, stir in the yeast and let it foam for approximately 10 minutes.
- Add the eggs, salt, and remaining flour up to 4 cups. Stir until dough just begins to come together, then dump onto a well-floured work surface and knead by hand for about 10 minutes, to allow the dough to stretch and develop the gluten. (Alternatively, you can use a bread hook on an electric mixer for 10 minutes - much easier if you have one!)
- Place dough back into bowl and cover the top with plastic. Allow the dough to rise until it doubles in size, approximately 60-90 minutes in a warm kitchen.
- Meanwhile, prepare the cinnamon filling. Mix the brown sugar, softened butter, cinnamon and nutmeg until smooth. Keep at room temperature until ready to use.
- When dough is inflated and ready, dump on a floured work surface. Fold into thirds and press flat. Then turn and fold into thirds again and press into a rectangle. Roll the rectangle out into a large 16 X 20 inch sheet.
- Spread the cinnamon filling over the sheet into a thin layer. Leave 1 1/2 inches bare (cinnamon-free) on the one long edge furthest from you. Starting at the cinnamon-covered long edge closest to you, roll the dough sheet tightly toward the uncovered edge to form a long tight log. Cut the log into 12 equal rolls. Tuck the loose end under each roll to secure it, and place them in the baking dish on top of the caramel pecan topping to rise.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Allow the rolls to rise for at least 30 minutes while the oven heats. Then bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are barely golden and the center of each roll is puffed high up.
- Allow cinnamon rolls to cool slightly before turning out onto a large serving dish. Enjoy!