We have a weakness for cinnamon rolls, and I have a stack of recipes to try, ‘just for the heck of it’. This recipe is borrowed from the site Two Peas and Their Pod and I love that these are the specialty of that family’s grandfather. We chose to use pecans instead of raisins, and we halved the recipe (what’s below, I also cut way back on the sugar in the dough), to make one large 9 x 13 pan. There’s a recipe for frosting in the link that is highly recommended, but I had some cream cheese frosting so we used that instead. I also need to mention that sweet buns are a family activity in our house so I’m thinking there will be several more recipes coming this year! – enjoy!
1 package (8 g) active dry yeast AND 1/2 c. warm water AND 1/2 t. sugar
3 T. butter AND 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt AND 1 c. hot water
~4 c. flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c. + softened butter
1/2 c.+ brown sugar AND 1 T. cinnamon
~1 c. pecans – some chopped to go in the roll, some left whole (if you wish) for the bottom of the pan
In a small bowl, stir together the yeast, warm water and sugar until the yeast has dissolved and then leave the mix to sit for a few minutes until it starts to bubble.
To your electric mixer, add the butter, sugar, salt and hot water and mix carefully until combined, then beat for about 30 seconds. Leave this mix to cool to lukewarm, then stir in a cup of flour. Now add in the yeast mixture and mix well, then stir in the beaten egg. Switch the paddle out for the dough hook.
Gradually add another 2 cups of flour while mixing and then continue to add flour in 1/4 cup increments until the dough comes together – scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Knead the dough for several minutes until it’s smooth and lovely – if it feels too sticky after it’s been kneaded, add a titch more flour.
When the dough is ready, roll it into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl and leave it to rise in a warm place for about a half hour until it doubles in size. After it’s risen, roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface (or onto plastic wrap on your counter top), until it’s approximately a 22 x 13 inch rectangle. Spread the dough evenly with the softened butter, then sprinkle on the brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans bits. Roll it up into one long log and cut it into 12 even pieces using dental floss (this works amazingly well!), then place the pieces into a well buttered, parchment-lined 9 x 13 baking pan (with pecans halves scattered on the bottom if you wish), leaving as much room as possible between the pieces.
Cover with plastic wrap and leave for another half hour or so in a warm place to rise until doubled in size. For early morning cinnamon buns, wrap well with plastic wrap, place in the fridge overnight, then take them out leaving enough time before you want to cook them to allow them to come to room temperature, and rise enough to double in size – this is usually a couple of hours for me.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Allow the rolls to cool to room temperature if you want to frost them, or just leave them long enough to not burn yourself while enjoying!