Cinnamon Rolls

Nothing says “Home For The Holidays” like the smell of Mom’s cinnamon rolls coming out of the oven on Thanksgiving morning. The smell of cinnamon & nutmeg, the taste of pecans and tangy cream cheese brings me right back to my childhood. Theses are a labor of love and worth every minute spent making these light, flaky rolls. Add chopped chocolate, dried fruit or a different nut to make this recipe your own.

    Breakfast Dessert


  • Dough:
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 packet (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 large whole eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted to brush on baked rolls)
  • Filling:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecans (toasted and finely chopped)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking Directions

  • 1
    Dough: Heat the milk and water in a small saucepan or in the microwave until warm (115°F).
  • 2
    In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a hook attachment, combine yeast, granulated sugar, and heated liquid. Stir to combine and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • 3
    Add brown sugar, vanilla and eggs. Beat on low speed until thoroughly combined.
  • 4
    Turn mixer off and add 2 1/2 cups of flour, salt and nutmeg. Mix on medium speed until the ingredients are combined well.
  • 5
    Add more of the flour, 1/4 cups at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky and dough comes together. It should be soft and easy to handle.
  • 6
    Turn mixer speed to high and add the butter. Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 5 minutes.
  • 7
    Remove bowl from the mixer, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise. Let dough rise for 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.
  • 8
    Make filling at this point.
  • 9
    Once dough has risen, punch the dough down and turn it onto a heavily floured surface. Flour the top of the dough and your rolling pin, roll the dough to a 10” by 18” rectangle. Spread the softened cream cheese evenly over the dough. Fold the dough into thirds; take one side and fold into the center of the dough then take the other side and fold over the side that was folded into the center. Take the open ends and fold into thirds again. With seam side facing down gently roll into a 10” by 20” rectangle.
  • 10
    For Filling: Spread the 4 tablespoons of softened butter over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border.
  • 11
    Sprinkle the filling mixture over the butter and gently press into the butter.
  • 12
    Starting at the long side of the rectangle closest to you, roll the dough tightly into a log.
  • 13
    Using a sharp knife cut the log into 8 pieces.
  • 14
    Butter a 9” by 13” baking dish. Place the cinnamon rolls in the greased baking dish and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1.5-2 hours.
  • 15
    Heat oven to 350°F. Uncover the rolls. Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center of the rolls comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Make the icing at this point.
  • 16
    Once cinnamon rolls are baked, brush tops with 4 tablespoons of melted butter.
  • 17
    Let cool for 10 minutes then spread cream cheese icing on the tops or pipe a zig zag pattern on top with a piping bag.
  • 18
    Filling: Toast pecans in oven at 350°F degrees for 10 minutes or until fragrant. Let cool completely. Once cooled place in food processor and pulse until chopped finely. Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and maple syrup, pulse until all ingredients are well combined.
  • 19
    Butter is reserved to spread on rolled out dough before filling is sprinkled on the dough.
  • 20
    Glaze: In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together all of the ingredients until smooth.

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