Pecan Cinnamon Rolls (Pecanbons!)

Ok, first a story about why I didn’t try and do my usual update last week. Two days off, two kids, two different activities to pull me away from the kitchen. That’s pretty much the long and short of it really.

Now on the story behind the cinnamon rolls. (This will encompass a couple of days)…This past Friday I got a sudden craving for Cinnabon or at least cinnamon rolls. I might be pregnant, except that’s not humanly possible, the only thing I’m ‘pregnant’ with are, pardon the pun, half-baked ideas. So, Friday, I’m willing to stay up a little late to make cinnamon rolls, but I get home late from work, blah, blah, blah, and anyway, I can’t do it. Saturday rolls around (again, pardon the pun) and I happen across this recipe on Yahoo for cinnamon rolls as close to Cinnabon as it gets, by Devin Alexander. If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is. So, I get home and begin working on some homemade Cinnabon, except to jazz it up I’m going to make the Pecanbon, which is just a cinnamon roll with pecans on top, maybe inside, I can’t remember it’s been so long since I last had one. Either way, this one I tried to follow close with the exception of throwing in some pecans. For the record, this is not a terribly difficult recipe to follow, but it’s a little time consuming with a couple of resting periods for the dough to rise, etc. So, without further ado, peep my homemade Pecanbons!:


Pecan Cinnamon Rolls


Note: The original recipe calls for light/low-fat versions of whichever ingredients offer them in such variety, substitute as you see fit. (Or fat, hah!)

Cinnamon Roll Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups of confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons of Neufchâtel
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon fat-free milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the Cinnamon Rolls:

  • Butter flavored cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/3 of a cup sugar
  • 1/4 of a cup fat-free vanilla yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast .25 ounces (one packet is 2 1/4 teaspoons, in case you’re not using the packets like myself)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if/as needed
  • 1 teaspoon, plus 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons of packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans (for added flavor, toast pecans with one tablespoon of butter at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes)

1. Making the frosting – In your stand mixers bowl, combine sugar, Neufchâtel, milk, vanilla, and butter. Combine for about a minute, switch to high for about 30 seconds. Let it set for about 10 minutes then place in airtight container, can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Stir before serving.


2. Making the cinnamon rolls – Use non-stick spray on mixing bowl. Set aside one tablespoon of butter. (Note: If you plan on letting the dough sit all night to double, skip the butter part)

3. In microwaveable bowl combine sugar, milk, and one tablespoon of butter. Microwave for two minutes, until milk heats to 130 degrees. Add yogurt and whisk until sugar dissolves. Add egg and egg white. Continue to whisk. Lastly, add yeast and keep whisking until dissolved.


4. In your stand mixer bowl add two cups of flour, one teaspoon of cinnamon, and salt. Add milk mixture from step three above. With dough hook attached, mix on medium speed, add remaining flour and mix until dough is formed, roughly five minutes or so.


Dough should be soft, but not sticky, so add small amounts of flour if needed. Then knead dough further. IMG_0324

Place dough in bowl from step two. IMG_0325

Cover with plastic wrap and allow dough to double in size. This should be an hour if not longer. I left mine overnight, so that I awoke to a dough that looked like this:


5. Cinnamon filler – In another, small bowl, place corn syrup, brown sugar, remainder of cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Stir well.IMG_0326

6. Once dough has doubled in size, punch it down and place on lightly floured work area. Knead for a minute or so. Dust lightly with more flour. Cover again and let rest for 10 minutes.

7. Spray 11×17 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Roll out 12×18 inch dough into a rectangle using the baking dish as a size template. IMG_0328

8. Spread your softened butter over dough using knife/spreader/spatula. Drizzle the cinnamon filling over the dough and spread to outer edges. (If adding pecans, now is the time to put them in) Roll lengthwise into tube. Like so:


9. Cut into eight equal size pieces. Try measuring first. Score dough to approximate the slices prior to cutting. Place rolls into baking dish, spiraled side up. Top with pecans.

10. Place in warm and dry spot, cover with damp kitchen (or paper) towel. Let rolls rise for another half hour.

11. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once heated, place rolls in oven 22-28 minutes. Bake until lightly browned and doughy in the center.


12. Remove cinnamon roll and spread frosting over top and sides. If cold, you can microwave for 10-15 seconds to melt frosting, if that’s how you like it.

13. Enjoy! I did.


I’ll say this about the cinnamon rolls, they were tasty. They weren’t Cinnabon quality, but they were good. I think I’ve made better, but I’ll say this about the frosting: delicious. Previously, I’ve used the stuff in a can, but this I would definitely use going forward. The pecans were great, but buttered and toasted they would be so much better.

The only complaint I heard was about the density of the bread. It was pretty thick, not light and fluffy like the real Cinnabon. Either way, I think (and my daughter agrees) that they were pretty tasty. One last pseudo-complaint would be the artificial flavoring from the light/fat-free ingredients. If you’re one of those people who has the palate sensitive enough to taste them you may find them inside this recipe, so it’s give and take. Do you want the full flavor, calories and all or would you prefer to spare your waistline, but sacrifice a little flavor in the process? That’s the choice you need to make, but either way, make yourself some cinnamon rolls in the process, they’re delicious.


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