Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

I look at these recipes with real yeast and just love the thought of digging my hands in and embracing the whole "from scratch" thing.  I lost my brain and decided to make everyone in our family cinnamon rolls from scratch for Christmas last year.  I'm pretty sure the laundry was up to our knees and we ate cereal for three days.  I've had to come to grips that in this stage of life right now, I JUST CAN'T.  Someone doesn't want to go down for nap, is ill because they are tired, demands a snack...and don't even get me started on the kids.  Then there is cooking the normal meals and all of the regular housework to keep going.  So maybe when the twins are three of four (or 18), I will be able to perfect my breads and rolls.  Until then, this cinnamon roll recipe is the perfect quick treat.

I got the idea for this recipe from Joanna Gaines's Magnolia Table cookbook (shout out thanks to cousin Callie for the gift!).  They are adapted from the Quick Orange-Walnut Sweet rolls.  I have begun to get braver with my substitutions - taking recipes and making them my own. Because I have SO MUCH TIME on my hands to test recipes and everything...honestly I'm surprised I remember what I did.  (Cook at your own risk!) Really though, it's fun to get a little creative in the kitchen - especially since I'm pretty sure I SLEEP IN THERE - might as well make the best of it and keep things interesting.

Two cans of crescent rolls or crescent roll dough sheets
1 1/2 sticks of salted butter (if you don't have salted, just add a pinch of salt)
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 cup of chopped pecans

2 T of butter softened
1/3 cup of cream cheese softened
1.5-2 cups of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1-2 T of whole milk


  • Preheat oven to 375, no need to spray the pans
  • In a medium bowl, place the softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and use a spoon or spatula to mix until smooth
  • Open one can of crescent dough and unroll the dough onto your counter-top.  If using the rolls, press all of the perforations closed to make a single rectangle. Spread half of the butter mixture over the dough - get as close as you can to the edges!  Then scatter half of the chopped pecans on top.  
  • Starting with the short side, roll up the dough to make a log.  Cut in half and cut each half into thirds.  Place the six pieces cut side up into a round cake pan.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough, butter mixture and pecans
  • Bake until deep golden brown on top - between 20-30 minutes
  • When done, let stand for one minute or so and then invert the rolls onto a serving place and let stand for 5 minutes.  
  • While the rolls are cooking, make the frosting:
    • With an electric mixer or a good ole wooden spoon, stir together the butter and cream cheese
    • Once combined, add 1 cup of the powdered sugar.  
    • Add the vanilla and 1 T of whole milk
    • Then stir in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until the frosting has reached the desired consistency.  If it gets too dry, just add a drop of milk.  Don't add too much milk or you'll have to go to the store for more powdered sugar!
  • I like to serve the frosting on the side so that each person can add their desired amount.  If (unlikely, but IF) you have leftovers, you can store or freeze both the rolls and frosting separately and just reheat the rolls in the oven and let the frosting come to room temp.
  • Special Notes:  Rolls are best in a metal pan cooked immediately after preparing.  I have tried freezing or refrigerating overnight before cooking and they don't turn out as good.  I've also tried baking them in a aluminum pan, and they are soggy.  

Rolls inverted on a plate. 
I'll have a cinnamon roll with my frosting please. 


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