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Welcoming Autumn with Pecan-Raisin Cinnamon Rolls

My journey into cake making actually started with a general love of making food for family and friends. To this day, despite many hours a day in my studio making wedding cakes, I still love to make and celebrate with food. One of my favorite things to make is homemade bread, from kneading the dough to watching it puff up with air and brown in the oven.

We have since had a bread making weekends where I have been experimenting with recipes and flavors, one of which I am sharing on the blog today: cinnamon rolls with cardamom, raisins, and pecans. Fragrant cinnamon and cardamom marry with the brown sugar and maple syrup. It even does well on a picnic, perfect in contrast with a fresh, tangy goats cheese.

A good bread recipe is a must for any baker: they are actually delicious on their own and perfect when sandwiched with meats or rolled with chocolate. This recipe is adapted from a recipe by Brittany and William of I Love Vegan. Enjoy!

Pecan-Raisin Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 2/3 cup warm water, 110-120 F

  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp warm milk, 110-120 F

  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp sugar

  • 2 3/4 tsp active dry yeast

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ¼ cup + 1 tsp unsalted butter, melted

  • 3 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

Ingredients for the pecan-raisin filling:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • ¼ cup cinnamon

  • 1 tbsp cardamom

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1 cup raisins

  • 1 cup pecans, chopped

Ingredients for the brown sugar glaze:

  • ¼ cup brown sugar

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • ¼ cup milk

Ingredients for the maple cream cheese glaze:

  • ½ cup cream cheese, room temperature

  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

  • 2 tbsp butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup icing sugar

Instructions for the dough:

  1. Combine all dough ingredients in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Knead for 6-8 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

  2. Coat the dough ball in a light amount of canola oil, place in a large bowl and cover with a damp dish towel. Let the dough ferment at room temperature for two hours, until doubled in size.

Instructions for the pecan-raising filling:

  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into an approx. 19″ X 16″ rectangle. Spread evenly with butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, raisins and pecans. Use more butter, cinnamon, sugar, raisins, and pecans as needed.

  2. Starting from the longest edge closest to you, roll the dough away from you (encasing the filling inside.) Place the rolled dough seam side down and cut into 8 equal pieces.

  3. Line an 8″ cast iron skillet or baking pan with parchment paper, spread with a little bit of butter. Place a single cinnamon bun, cut side facing up, into the center of the pan and group the remaining buns around the center one. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

  4. Preheat oven to 300 F. Bake cinnamon buns for 35-40 minutes or until 190-195 F. Important: About 15 minutes into baking, cover them with a layer of aluminum foil or cast iron pot lid to prevent them from getting too brown.

Instructions for the brown sugar glaze:

  1. Combine all ingredients, bring to a simmer in a small saucepan and cook for 5-10 minutes over low heat. Pour immediately over warm cinnamon buns.

Instructions for the maple cream cheese glaze:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth and creamy. Pour over nearly cool cinnamon buns and spread evenly.

Storage: Eat within a day or 2 or freeze any extras.

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