Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
We were having a conversation at work about cinnamon rolls. We were all in the mood for some and then we got to talking about how we would love to make some but we hate that every recipe calls for proofing for hours or overnight or days. We just wanted cinnamon rolls and we wanted them like now. I felt the same way. I always wanted to make some that didn’t require so much effort and waiting! So I was on a mission to find a good recipe. One that is delicious and produces pillowy soft buns or rolls and a very simple recipe to execute. One that you could prep before having your first coffee in the morning.
I always can rely on thektchn to give me some guidance and they didn’t fail me. I also sourced some Food 52 articles on cinnamon rolls and loved the one by Erin McDowell. She gave some excellent tips on making fabulous rolls. A few things I learned about making good rolls from her article was not to over bake the rolls because they continue cooking or baking in the dish even after being pulled out of the oven. Over baking is one of the biggest reasons we end up with dense and hard – for the lack of a better word - rolls. Also you can fill them with anything and glaze them with anything you want too.
She is also the one I got the suggestion for doing a combined granulated/brown sugar for the filling which gives the filling beautiful colour, texture and definition. The options for fillings really are endless - from jams and jellies to Nutella. I decided on a maple pecan one because I love those flavours and those are the nuts I had on hand and I wanted something nutty to add to them. You can also use cream cheese, any other soft cheese like mascarpone and even coconut oil as the base instead of butter if you wanted to experiment. If you are using fresh fruit or something substantial like that as your filing - ie mascarpone and fresh berries, Erin suggests mixing into the filling a bit of a thickener like an egg or a little flour or other thickener to help prevent soggy rolls.
When it comes to the glaze there are so many options there too. You can keep it light and basic with powdered sugar and milk or cream or you can go full throttle with a cream cheese frosting. I added the ponche de creme (homemade recipe for that below) for a little extra flavour. It’s like a boozy eggnog with loads of spices in it and it went perfect with the cinnamon rolls. You can sub in other flavours too. There is so much room for creativity. I absolutely love that about this recipe.
In the article Erin also assured us that you really can’t roll the buns or rolls too tightly so just roll them as tightly as possible. All great advice! The best though came from the article about using self rising flour. Thekitchn article provides the recipe which I have included for Self-Rising flour just in case you don’t have any on hand, using basic pantry ingredients. (I did the math for you for the actual roll recipe though but feel free to double check my math cause I totally suck at it. Hee hee!) That is what gives your rolls that pillowy texture without the yeast and proofing.
This is not to say that you will achieve the best cinnamon rolls you have ever tasted in your life, they won’t taste like brioche rolls but they do taste as good if not better then the mall ones that always seem to tease your tastebuds as you walk by them and they will be the fastest ones you will ever whip up. You will not be disappointed with these rolls. This has become my go to recipe for basic cinnamon rolls and I will keep making them because they are beautiful, delicious and so easy to whip up. You can jazz them up with your own filling concoctions or keep it simple and classic with the cinnamon sugar filling. Hope you give these a try and would love to know how you filled these babies and what you glazed them with.
- 5 cups of Self-Rising flour (or 5 cups AP+2½ tbsp of Baking powder + ¼ tsp salt whisked together**)
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 tbsp or ½ stick of butter melted
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ brown sugar
- 1 tbsp of ground cinnamon
- ¼ cups maple syrup
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans plus a little extra for topping the rolls after the glaze
- 4 tbsp melted butter divided (2 for the filling and 2 to brush on before baking)
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1⁄3 cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 tbsp of maple syrup (I used ponche de creme in this recipe**) ( you can also use coffee, Baileys or keep them plain by using more cream)
- a pinch of salt
Pre heat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish or oven proof skillet with cooking spray or butter; set aside.
Mix the brown sugar and granulated sugar and the cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside.
Mix the chopped nuts and maple syrup in a small bowl and set aside
Place the flour and remaining ¼ cup sugar in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Mix the milk and 4 tablespoons of the melted butter together in a medium bowl. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until a soft dough forms and no dry bits of flour remain. It may be a little shaggy and that is fine.
Transfer the dough onto a generously floured and large work surface. Sprinkle with more flour, then knead until the dough is fairly smooth, sprinkling with more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Do not overknead or the cinnamon rolls will be tough. This will only take a minute or two to do.
Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough into approx a 24- by 10-inch-long rectangle about ¼-inch thick, with the longer side facing you.
Brush 2 tablespoons of the melted butter onto the surface of the dough, using it all. Sprinkle it evenly with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, leaving a ½-inch border.
Sprinkle the nut and maple syrup mixture over the sugar cinnamon layer
Start rolling by starting at the long end closest to you, roll the dough up tightly into a log, using a bench scraper as needed to help release the dough from the work surface. Pinch the seam together at the top.
Position the log seam-side down. Cut the dough crosswise into 15 pieces with a very sharp knife or dough cutter/scraper. I prefer to use a thin piece of floss or thread because you get a cleaner cut. Slide floss under the roll, pull it up gently cross over the pieces and pull tight and evenly and you will get a perfect slice with the dough in tact and not smushed.
Place the cut rolls cut-side up in the baking dish. Fit them in snuggley but not too tight.
Brush the tops of the cinnamon rolls with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter.
Bake until puffed, golden-brown, and a toothpick or skewer inserted in several spots comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the glaze. Place the powdered sugar, cream, vanilla, maple syrup (or ponche de creme - boozy eggnog or even baileys if you would like) and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth; set aside.
When the cinnamon rolls are ready, place the baking dish on a wire cooling rack. Cool for 5 minutes and then drizzle evenly with the glaze, then let cool 15 minutes before serving.
Storage: Leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Rewarm in a 300°F oven until warmed through, about 10 minutes.
How To Make Self-Rising Flour
Makes 4 cups
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon fine salt
Measuring cups and spoons
- Measure ingredients: Measure the flour into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the leavening: Add the baking powder and salt.
- Combine: Whisk to combine.
- Storage: Use or store in an airtight container.
Storage: Self-rising flour can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 year.
Ponche de creme recipe (boozy eggnog)
- 4 large eggs
- Zest of one lime
- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (for the French toast I added full cream evaporated milk instead because there is already a lot of sugar in the French toast- for drinking definitely use condensed milk)
- 3⁄4 cup of dark good quality rum
- 1⁄4 tsp of grated nutmeg, plus more for topping
- 1⁄4 tsp of all spice
- 1⁄4 tsp of cinnamon
- 1 tsp of Angostura bitters
- In a large bowl whisk the eggs and lime zest until smooth
- Add in the condensed milk and half of the rum and whisk again until smooth
- Whisk in the rest of the the rum the spices and the bitters
- Strain through a fine sieve and store in the refrigerator in a glass bottle overnight or longer. It gets better with time
- Stir the mixture well before serving and serve with a dusting of grated nutmeg and over ice.
Recipe for the basic rolls adapted from The Kitchn