Pecan Eggnog Cinnamon Rolls with a sweet and savoury Maple Cream Cheese Frosting perfect for the holiday season! These rolls are light and fluffy with an eggnog spiced dough, a candied pecan and cinnamon sugar filling with a cream cheese frosting to tie it all together. They have just the right amount of holiday flair for a nice seasonal twist. The candied pecan filling creates a beautiful sticky bottom, there’s nothing not to love in every bite.
You’ve got eggnog, pecans, maple syrup all combined as a cinnamon roll that just screams holiday season. These are melt in your mouth delicious and can be served as a make-ahead breakfast dish for Christmas morning or really any morning throughout December. There’s a ton of beautiful elements that all come together- the sticky, the sweet and the savoury it’s all a match made in heaven.
This is probably the time of year where I make the most cinnamon rolls. Fall through the Holiday season, there’s a ton of seasonal ingredients that make them all warm and gooey and super comforting. It’s the warm spices, like cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and nutmeg that pair beautifully with heavier savoury ingredients like pumpkin, apples, and nuts and you can pair with a cream cheese frosting that’s not overpowering with sweetness. I quite enjoy eggnog lattes this time of year and find it so fitting as a milk substitute in baking recipes. Eggnog is thick and creamy, it’s rich and spiced cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Eggnog is typically made from milk, cream, sugar, fluffed egg whites and egg yolks which give it a frothy texture and a small yellow tinge. These are some common ice cream making ingredients as well and sometimes eggnog is compared to drinking melted ice cream. The point is it’s friggen delicious and you should take advantage of using it.
Start off by combining the active dry yeast with warmed eggnog and sugar. I like to use the traditional active dry yeast and let yeast active in the warm milk until bubbly and frothy for roughly 5-10 minutes. I find seeing the bubbles and checking to make sure the yeast is good is so helpful because then i’ll know that the rolls will turn out good rather then mixing it straight into the bowl with all the other ingredients. It’s definitely happened where the yeast was off and never activated but I didn’t know because I probably used the rapid rise and went through all the resting and rising and cooking process just to throw them out. So I don’t like to make the same mistake twice which is why I stick to traditional. I’ve found that another important step is to oil the bowl a little bit so that the dough can really get a good first rise. It helps to keep the dough moist and keep from drying out. I always get a better rise with oil in the bowl and plastic wrap instead of a kitchen towel. Sometimes it just comes down to the little things and preparation that really make the difference.
This step is definitely an added kitchen task but the sticky bottoms are so good it’s worth it. I make the pecans as soon as the dough is done and set aside to rise. I first crush the pecans or smash them into smaller pieces- not dust, just chopped so that way there isn’t whole pecans through the layers but smaller pieces. To candy the nuts, start by heating sugar and water over the stovetop and stirring in the crushed pecans. Let the mixture simmer for roughly 20 minutes. The pecans should be soft and taste sweet. Transfer them to a baking tray with parchment and line them up in a single layer so they can cool and harden a bit. Once on the tray I sprinkle them with a good amount of cinnamon sugar from the filling to give them a nice dust of sugar and spice overtop.
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