Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

I’ve been getting a lot of requests to create more recipes using store bought pizza dough recently, and I wanted to do something that wasn’t your typical pizza… so came up with these cinnamon rolls with maple icing and crushed pecans.  They’re huge, gooey, cinnamon-y, sweet, and one of my favorite things I’ve made in a while.  They’re also super fast and easy to make, because you’re using store bought pizza dough, and not making any from scratch.  I also have a few secret tips on how to make these even better than your traditional cinnamon rolls using some unusual ingredients.  Let me teach you how to make them!

You’re going to start with two pounds of store bought pizza dough.  Obviously purchase the “original” one if your store has various flavors… as much as I love garlic or whole wheat pizza dough, it just won’t work here. You can usually find frozen gluten free pizza dough as well if you want to make this gluten free, or you can certainly make your own gluten free (or regular) pizza dough as well! You’ll want to flour the surface you’re working on, and then roll out your dough.  You’re aiming to get it relatively thin for the amount of dough it is, about an 1/8-1/4″ thick.  You’ll also want to try and form it into the most rectangular shape as possible, to make it uniform when rolling it up!

Next we’re gonna need to make the actual cinnamon sugar to put inside the rolls.  For this you’ll simply need sugar and cinnamon.  Whisk them together until combined!  That’s it!  See… I told you this recipe was insanely easy.

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To get all that delicious cinnamon sugar to stick, you’ll need to get some vegan butter melted up to put on the dough first.  I have some secret little ingredients to add to your butter though to really kick it up a bit.  Melt your vegan butter in the microwave, and then add in some vanilla extract, and cinnamon extract.  That’s right… cinnamon extract.  Ever heard of it?  Its one of the most incredible things and I try to use it as much as possible.  These guys are called cinnamon rolls right?  So why not add in as much cinnamon as possible.  This is actually pretty easy to find in the spice section of most grocery stores, where all the other extracts are.  Make sure this mixture is well combined before putting it on the dough!

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Once your butter mixture and sugar mixture are ready, you can start assembling these sweet babies!  Brush your butter on the dough until it has coated every bit, and then sprinkle on all of your sugar!  Like I’ve said before, this is relatively easy as far as recipes go, the whole thing maybe takes five minutes to actually assemble before baking.

Once you have your ingredients spread on the dough, you can get rolling.   Simply start by taking the shorter sides of the rectangle of dough and roll them up to the other side.  Like you’re rolling up an old carpet or yoga mat!  Once you’ve rolled up your log of cinnamon buns, cut off the ends, and then cut them into two and a half inch rolls.  If you do it right, you should get 6 rolls out of this recipe (I know, seems like very little for how much dough we used, but these babies are huge!) .

Let’s talk about prepping our cast iron before even adding in your cinnamon rolls.  Yano that leftover butter with vanilla and cinnamon extract that you have from the filling?  USE THIS TO COAT THE PAN.  This is super important.  Instead of using an oil spray, just brush this on the bottom and sides of the cast iron.  It’s also important to use cast iron, because it heats more evenly and cooks the cinnamon rolls to have a better crust.  Then, add in your cinnamon rolls!  Arrange them face up, five around the perimeter & one in the center.  You’ll also want to brush the tops of the cinnamon rolls lightly with some more of the butter, & then pop them in the oven!

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Bake these babies at 375F for about 40-50 minutes until golden on the top.  There will be a ‘caramel’ that starts to bubble up around the sides of the cinnamon rolls as they bake, but that’s totally normal & will create the sweetest little crust around the edges.  Once they’re done baking, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for about ten minutes.  Once they’ve slightly cooled, remove them from the pan & onto a plate (you’ll want to do this relatively quickly with all of them so that the caramel on the outside doesn’t have time to totally harden, otherwise they will be super stuck and become a huge mess).  Allow them to cool another half hour or so on the plate before adding your icing-  speaking of, let’s make that in the mean time!

The icing is usually the best part of any cinnamon roll in my opinion.  Perfectly sweet & creamy, it really brings this thing together.  I wanted to change mine up slightly just to set it apart, so I decided to do a maple icing.  Maple works so well with the cinnamon and gives a nice, hearty, comforting flavor that really brightens up the icing.  For this you’ll just need to whisk some powdered sugar, vanilla extract, maple extract, and warm water together until it forms a thick icing.  You want it to be thicker so that it doesn’t run all over the cinnamon roll when you add it.  Set this aside until your cinnamon rolls are mostly cool, otherwise the icing will melt and be a total mess.

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I also chose to add chopped pecans to these on top to add a bit of crunch to freshen them up.  These are totally optional, but I think they work really well with the dish.

Once your cinnamon rolls have almost fully cooled, plate them up and ice them!  Drizzling the icing over them looks a lot prettier, but dunking them in the icing is way more practical & it coats every little crevice with icing… yum!  Once you’ve added the icing, you can top them with some pecans and they’re ready to eat!

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INGREDIENTS

cinnamon rolls:

  • 2 lbs store bought pizza dough
  • 1 cup melted vegan butter
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs cinnamon extract
  • 1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 1/8 cup + 2 tbs ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans *optional

icing:

  • 1 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tbs vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbs maple extract
  • 3-6 tbs warm water (depending how thick you ultimately want it)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. Roll out your dough about 1/4-1/8″ thick on a floured surface into a large rectangle.
  3. Melt your butter and add in your vanilla & cinnamon extract.
  4. Mix your cane sugar & ground cinnamon together.
  5. Apply some butter over the entire surface of the dough, but not adding to much to where its drowning in butter.  Then add your sugar and cinnamon mix.
  6. Roll the dough up into a log starting with the shorter sides of the rectangle, trim the edges, and cut it into 6 rolls (about 2.5 inches thick each).
  7. Coat your cast iron pan with a bit of the leftover butter mix, add in your rolls face up, five around the perimeter & one in the center.  Lightly brush the tops with more butter.
  8. Transfer to the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown.
  9. While they’re in the oven, make your icing.  Mix all of your icing ingredients together in a bowl until thick and smooth. Add more water if too thick, more powdered sugar if too thin.
  10. Remove the rolls from the oven once golden brown, and allow to cool for about ten minutes.  Remove from the pan and place them on the plate, and then allow to further cool for another half hour or so.
  11. Once they’ve cooled, dip them in your icing, and add some chopped pecans.  Serve slightly warm.

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