Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

We bought Panera bagels recently and they always come with too much cream cheese. What do you do with extra cream cheese? Make cream cheese frosting of course. What goes well with cream cheese frosting? Cinnamon rolls!!!

Well, as it turns out, these cinnamon rolls are so good that they don't need any frosting. (Good thing, because we don't have any powdered sugar.)

Any suggestions on using up extra cream cheese?

One cinnamon roll didn't fit, so we baked it in its own ramekin.
Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
makes 30 small rolls
adapted from For the Love of Cooking

0.25c butter, melted***
1c warm milk***
3T warm water***
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3T white sugar
2t instant yeast
3.5c bread flour, divided***
0.75t salt

3T butter, melted
1.5c dark brown sugar
4T cinnamon
1t ginger***
1t nutmeg
2c chopped pecans (not optional)***

1. Mix the butter, milk, water, egg, vanilla and sugar together in a mixing bowl.
2. Add the yeast, then 3 cups of the flour, then salt.
3. Mix thoroughly until the dough comes together in a shaggy mass. If your dough absorbs all of the flour easily, add another 0.25 cup. Begin to knead the dough in the bottom of the bowl until it forms into a more consistent mass, 3-5 minutes.
4. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured counter and go wash your bowl. Dry it and oil it lightly. This will let the gluten in the dough rest and make it easier to knead.
5. Knead the bread for an additional 5 minutes, or until it passes the windowpane test.
6. Place your dough into the oiled bowl, and roll it around so it gets slightly coated in oil. Then cover with a towel and let it rest for about an hour—until you can poke your finger into it and the dough doesn't spring back.
7. While you're waiting, prep the filling by mixing the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg; also melt the butter and chop the pecans.
8. Roll your dough out into a long, skinny rectangle, about 8 inches across and 24-30 inches long. This will make lots of smaller cinnamon rolls. Make a wider, shorter rectangle for larger cinnamon rolls.
9. Using a pastry brush or your hands, spread butter all over the dough (yum!). Then sprinkle the sugar+spice mixture over all but 0.5 inch of the long edge. Sprinkle pecans on top.
10. Roll the dough starting on the fully coated long edge, and rolling towards your uncoated edge. Use this uncoated edge to help seal the rolls.
11. Cut rolls about 0.75 inches thick (preferably using wire or a sharp serrated knife) and place them into buttered baking dishes. (We used a hodge podge of dishes, including muffin tins, which made SUPER pretty cinnamon rolls.)
12. Preheat your oven to 350°F, and let your cinnamon rolls rise for an additional 30 minutes while the oven heats.
13. Bake for 10 minutes at 350°F. Then turn the oven up to 375°F and bake until the tops are just barely golden brown.

- The butter, milk and water should be around 110°F, comfortable and quite warm if you put your finger into it.
- You can use all-purpose flour, but you won't be able to roll your dough as thin, and it probably won't be quite as fluffy or as chewy. They'll still be delicious.. they are cinnamon rolls.
- The ginger is crucial to the spice mix. It adds a bit of brightness to the otherwise very woody cinnamon. Nutmeg is also important to me, because it's my favorite spice, and I think it adds some nuttiness and a less astringent sweetness than cinnamon.
- If you have a bread machine, check out the original recipe for details on how to make it.
- The nuts are not optional. If you really don't want to put nuts in, decrease the amount of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg slightly. Otherwise, the filling will be too astringent.

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