Thursday, February 28, 2013

Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Browsing Pinterest, I came across a recipe for homemade cinnamon rolls. Trin was sitting next to me as I clicked on this luscious looking pastry. Excitedly, she informed,  "you should print that recipe and make it."  Not having all the ingredients on hand, I told her we'd buy them next grocery run and make them in the future.

The next week, she inquired about my plans.  I hadn't remembered to put them on the menu so I said we'd wait another week.

BEFORE the grocery trip, she mentioned them again.  I got the impression she really wanted these rolls. Since her birthday was on Mon, I offered them up as her birthday breakfast.  Ecstatic could be used to describe her reaction.

Unfortunately, I did not plan appropriately.  Sunday is the day we are gone all day and getting home at 9:30 pm to start the process of homemade rolls just wasn't on my top 10 list of things to do.

Since we had already made plans to have a "week long" celebration due to slower mail delivery out here (hence her gifts not arriving until AFTER her birthday), Daddy asked Trinity if having Cinnamon rolls on Tue, as part of her extended birthday plans, would be ok.  She graciously agreed.

Phew.  The pressure was off.

Ok, ok, now to the main attraction.  You don't really care about how I came about finding these tasty morsels and how I was supposed to make them Mon, but really made them on Tue.  You just want the recipe.  So, without further ado....

The First String Players Roster:  This is definitely a first string line up
I doubled all of this to make 2 pans. One pan with pecans and one without -- birthday girl preference.  I personally liked the batch WITH the pecans. Gave it a nutty, more robust flavor to help balance the sweet.

4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 C warm milk
3 eggs
2 tsp + 1/2 C sugar, divided
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 C all purpose flour
1/2 C butter

3/4 C brown sugar
1/2 C sugar
1 Tbls ground cinnamon
1/3 C chopped pecans
1/2 C raisins (I omitted this b/c no one in our family prefers cin rolls will raisins -- especially not the birthday girl)
1 C melted butter

Caramel Icing:
1/2 C butter
1 C brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C heavy whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 C powdered sugar

First the rolls:
Mix 2tsp of sugar, warm milk, and yeast in a mixing bowl.  Let stand for five minutes.

<This was a fun process to watch. Birthday girl thought it was kind of icky looking.>
The yeast begins to ferment and 'rise" as it sits in the milk and sugar

Since this was my first attempt, I did not think to do all of this in my Kitchen Aid mixer -- next time, I will.
In a different bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, and salt until well combined.
Birthday girl mixing in the sugar to the beaten eggs

Add egg mixture to yeast mixture and whisk to combine.

Add 1 C of flour and mix until smooth.
At this point, pour in the melted butter and mix well.

Continue adding the remaining flour - 1/2 C at a time - until a stiff dough results.
This is why I'll use my kitchen aid mixer in the future - it gets very stiff - my hand got really tired.
Move the dough to a greased bowl and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm a spot to rise and double in size.  Took about an hour.
As cool as our house stays, I put the dough in a 200 degree
preheated, then turned off, oven with the door ajar

While the dough rises, start the filling.
Combine the sugars and cinnamon.  Chop the pecans.  Melt the butter. (you may want to wait till you are about ready to use the butter so it doesn't begin to solidify.)

Once the dough has risen, lightly flour a large cutting board.  Punch down dough and roll out to approx 12x16 in.  (Since I doubled mine - first I cut it in half and did this twice)
The dough - doubled in size

Spread the meted butter over the dough (this was messy - you may want to make a 'lip' around the dough to help keep the butter from flowing off over the edges onto the countertop)
Next sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture atop the butter; followed by the pecans (if you choose) and raisins (if you choose).  I didn't get a picture of this step b/c it was so messy and oozing everywhere.  Had to move fast.
Starting on a long side, roll up the dough into a cylinder, pinching the edges and seams closed -- the filling will smooze it's way out so don't forget this part.
Cut the cylinder in half, then cut 5 rolls from each side for a total of 10.  Ours were pretty big, so next time I may make more rolls.
Butter a 9x13 baking dish and place the rolls in the dish - leaving a little room around each roll for additional rising.  Let the rolls rise for another hour or so and place in fridge.  (ours sat out the rest of the day and were fine -- big, but fine)
Place in fridge if plan to make in the morning or bake immediately after the second rising.
Remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature before placing in oven.  (I will admit, I didn't do this.  It's cool enough in our house in the morning that I didn't think it would do much to let them warm up. ;-)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (that was all the time my rolls "warmed up").
Bake for 20-25 minutes until rolls are golden brown.
Look at that ooey, gooey goodness

Meanwhile, start the caramel. This stuff was to die for.

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat.  Add the brown sugar and salt - stir until combined.
Continue cooking for 5 mintes or until sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly.  Add the heavy whipping cream and stir to combine.  This will make the sugar/butter mixture suddenly creamy and dreamy.


Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir.
Finally start adding the powdered sugar, stirring until nice and smooth.

The finished product - everyone was hungry so I didn't take pics along the way.  Sorry.

As rolls finish baking, remove from oven and pour caramel over immediately. Allow to cool slightly and serve warm.

The finished, FINISHED product!

As a side note -- re-heat the next day for about 45 seconds in the microwave -- mmmm.... perfection with a cup of morning coffee.

Our eldest suggested we make the dough and try different fillings and toppings in the future.  What toppings would you suggest we attempt?  I'll try them and let you know how it turns out.

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