These pecan cinnamon rolls with brown butter cream cheese frosting are soft, fluffy, and super nutty in flavor. We use brown butter to give these sweet rolls extra flavor that adds that amazing “Je ne sais quoi factor.”
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What are Pecan Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting?
Pecan cinnamon rolls with brown butter cream cheese frosting are composed of soft sweet rolls, cinnamon roll filling, pecans, and cream cheese icing with brown butter. The recipe elements are simple on their own, but they come together to make these super amazing pecan cinnamon rolls!
What is Brown Butter?
Brown butter is butter that develops a nutty flavor as the milk fat solids turn brown during the cooking process. When they brown, the butter develops amazing flavor that enhances desserts and pastries.
How to Make Browned Butter
To begin making browned butter, place butter in a small pot. Next, put the pot on the stove, and cook on medium or medium low heat so that the fat solids do not accidentally burn while cooking.
The butter will bubble and simmer for around 5 minutes without any real change, but whisk the butter occasionally to keep the butter moving. Check the bottom of the pot every now and then for browned fat solids.
After cooking for 5-7 minutes, you should begin to smell a nutty smell, which means that the fat solids are changing. Begin to whisk continually at this point so that the fat solids don’t burn, and cook until fat solids deepen in color and aroma.
To finish the process, pour the butter into a bowl, and allow the butter to cool before using in baked goods.
As a note, the amount of browning is a matter of preference. If the fat solids are light brown, they will have a light flavor. If the fat solids are darker, they will have a stronger, nuttier flavor.
Whatever you do, do NOT burn the fat solids. The smell of burned butter is unmistakable. If the butter burns, you will definitely know it!
Can You Make Pecan Cinnamon Roll Dough Ahead of Time?
If you want to make the cinnamon roll dough overnight, you will need to make a few adjustments.
First, bloom the yeast in warm water and set aside for 5 minutes. Next, add all of the dry ingredients plus egg yolks to the mixer. Then add cold milk and yeast mixture, and mix for 5 minutes.
Knead dough by hand a few times and place in a greased bowl, then cover and refrigerate overnight. Take the dough out of the fridge in the morning, and roll it out as instructed. Then allow the rolls to raise for at least 1 hour or until they double in size.
The cinnamon rolls may need extra rising time since the dough is cold, so give yourself extra prep time!
How to Make Pecan Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- To begin, make cinnamon roll dough in a stand mixer by combining dry ingredients, egg yolks, and hot liquids.
- Then mix the dough for 5 minutes, and then remove from bowl and knead a few times by hand to make dough into a rectangle.
- Make the rectangle into an 16×24 inch rectangle and spread the cinnamon roll filling and pecans on top, but leave a 1 inch border of dough.
- Next, roll the dough into a log starting with the 24 inch end. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces that are 2 inches thick, and then place rolls in a lined 9×13 pan. Lastly, allow the cinnamon rolls to raise for 30 minutes, and bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Once the pecan cinnamon rolls cool, spread the brown butter cream cheese frosting on top and enjoy!
Essential Baking Tools for Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
- A good, heavy duty rolling pin
- A stand mixer that can handle mixing bread dough
- One 9×13 pan for the cinnamon rolls
- An offset spatula for spreading the frosting
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Cinnamon Roll Dough
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 1/4 cup milk, very hot
- 1/2 cup water, very hot
Cinnamon Roll Filling
- 12 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 4 Tbs cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
Cream Cheese Icing
- 6 Tbs unsalted butter, browned
- 6 oz cream cheese, softened
- 2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp salt
For the Dough
- Combine dry ingredients and egg yolks in stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
- Heat milk and water in microwave for one minute or until very hot. It doesn’t need to boil, but it should be very hot to the touch.
- Turn mixer onto medium speed and pour hot liquids into mixer slowly. If dough still seems dry, add hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough seems just slightly sticky and soft.
- Then mix dough on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead a few times to form dough into a smooth ball. Shape dough into a rectangle and beginning rolling with a floured rolling pin.
- Roll the dough into a 16 x 24 inch rectangle.
For the Cinnamon Roll Filling
- Stir softened butter, brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon together in a bowl. Mix with hands or with a hand mixer if ingredients aren’t coming together with a spoon.
- Spread filling over the 16 x 24 rectangle, leaving a 1/2 inch border of dough on all sides, and sprinkle with chopped pecans.
- Starting with the long end (24 inch end), roll the dough evenly until you have a cinnamon roll log. This means that the log will be 24 inches long.
- Cut the log into 2 inch slices with a serrated knife so that there are 12 cinnamon rolls.
- Line an 9 x 13 inch pan with parchment if desired. Otherwise, spray pan lightly with nonstick spray.
- Place rolls in pan and cover with a towel. Let rolls raise for 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, uncover rolls, and bake for 20-26 minutes. Check around 20 minutes to see if they are browning, and then add more time as is needed. Rolls will be very golden brown on top with finished.
- Let rolls cool in pan for 15 minutes and prepare the cream cheese frosting.
For the Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing
- In a small pot, melted butter on medium heat. Whisk occasionally and watch the butter to see the fat solids turn brown. This takes 5-10 minutes. As soon as they turn brown, pour butter into a clean bowl so the butter can cool for 20 minutes.
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream softened cream cheese and brown butter together once butter is completely cool. Add vanilla and salt and mix.
- Add powdered sugar and beat on high speed for 2-3 minutes to incorporate air into the icing so it is lighter.
- Spread icing over cinnamon rolls, top with more chopped pecans, and enjoy! Refrigerate leftover cinnamon rolls if there are any. Warm cinnamon rolls in the microwave for 15-20 seconds if they have been in the fridge.
This is a Baker Street Society original recipe.
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