One Hour Chocolate Pecan Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
My favorite one hour cinnamon rolls recipe turned into Chocolate Pecan Cinnamon Rolls. Loaded with swirls of pecan pieces, chocolate chunks, and cinnamon. Topped with cream cheese frosting. They don’t taste like Cinnabon, they’re actually better!
One Hour! That’s all it takes to make these chocolate pecan cinnamon rolls. These bad boys are topped with cream cheese frosting and are sooooo good. They’re perfect with swirls of pecans and chocolate chunks built right into the centers. I promise hugs and smiles all around with these delicious one hour cinnamon rolls.
But before we get to these cinnamon rolls, how was your Thanksgiving? Did you eat a bunch of food and lay around for a couple of hours? Any great steals or deals on Black Friday? I wouldn’t say mine was a steal of anything, but since Nov.26 was the 2nd anniversary of our little blog, we went out and bought the blog a well deserved computer! I had been using my personal laptop the last two years and the poor guy couldn’t hand all the software I run behind the scenes of LSJ anymore. I like how it worked out just in time for a milestone!
So about these cinnamon rolls. They’re actually the first thing i’ve made in the new oven. *yay* And I have to tell you, I did sweat it a little. It’s not the recipe I was worried about because it’s my standard cinnamon rolls recipe that’s foolproof, it’s the oven. I was on top of that thing watching it like a hawk to make sure I had even browning all over without any burnt spots. I gotta say, it did a great job!
If you’ve been reading the blog for at least a year now, you know that I was deathly afraid of yeasty breads for, oh I don’t know, the first quarter century of my life. Yes, I’m serious. So if I can learn to get over the fear of bread baking, so can you. Baby steps, right? That’s what it’s all about.
The dough for today’s recipe is a quick one. It’s a recipe i’ve standardized and pretty much use whenever I make cinnamon rolls. In fact, I even adapted it to mak one hour dinner rolls with a couple of extra ingredients (shh… potato flakes).
This recipe will make about 12 rolls. You can fit them all in a 9×13 pan. I wanted to make sure the recipe tested as individual cinnamon roll muffins and Ahhh! It was beautiful! I wish we had snapped a few pictures before devouring them, but the truth is it didn’t really hit me till just now.. Oooops. You can fit 8 rolls into a 9 inch round pie pan and use the rest to make cinnamon roll muffins or turn them all into muffins! The individual muffins would be perfect for family brunches.
With the exception of 1 ingredient. You should have all of these on hand. The one ingredient that I use in my cinnamon rolls recipe that makes it the BEST is powdered milk. Just 2 tablespoons of it helps not only to give it a nicer texture but also to help taste more like bakery style cinnamon roll. Watch out Cinnabon, you’ve got major competition.
The swirls in between the cinnamon rolls contain simple ingredients. A little brown sugar, some cinnamon, pieces of pecans, a little unsweetened cocoa, and chocolate chunks. Spread it all out on the buttered dough and just sit back and let your whole house smell amazing. You know those home scents posts on Pinterest? The ones that tell you to throw rosemary, oranges, and cloves, and cranberries into a pot of water and to let simmer for a few hours until your house smells beautiful? Well this is BETTER. This takes just one hour and at the end of it all you get hot, fresh, and fluffy cinnamon rolls.
- ½ cup (8 tablespoons) salted butter, room temperature divided
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup water
- 3 ¼ - 3 ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons powdered milk
- 1 envelope 'rapid rise' yeast (approx. 2 ¼ teaspoons)
- 1 egg, room temperature
chocolate pecan filling:
- ⅔ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 ½ tablespoons cinnamon
- ¾ cup pecans
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder (optional - see note)
- ½ cup chopped chocolate
cream cheese frosting:
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the cinnamon roll dough:
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the milk, water, and 4 tablespoons butter. Heat on high for 1 minute, remove and stir. Continue to heat in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until the butter melts and the milk is warm. If the milk is hot, allow the mixture to sit on the counter for a few minutes. You want it to be warm to the touch before you proceed.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add 3 cups of flour, sugar, salt, powdered milk, and the yeast. Add the warm milk mixture and the egg. Beat on low-medium speed to combine. If the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl, add the remaining flour, ¼ cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides and form a ball. I needed the entire ¾ cup for my dough. Continue running the dough in the machine for another 5 minutes on the medium-low speed setting. Remove dough from hook and cover the dough (just the doughs surface) with plastic wrap. Let dough rest in the oven for 10-15 minutes. (Make sure the oven is turned OFF.)
For the chocolate pecan filling:
- Combine the light brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans, cocoa powder, and espresso powder in a small food processor and pulse a few times until the pecans break down into small pieces. I pulsed it about 3 times.
- When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 14x10 inch rectangle. (you can trim the edges with a pizza cutter if you want the dough to be a perfect rectangle). Using a small spatula, spread the remaining 4 tablespoons of softened butter out evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Sprinkle evenly with the pecan mixture and sprinkle the chocolate chunks evenly over the surface. Roll up the dough tightly, cut into 12 even pieces and place in a lightly greased 9-inch round or 13 x 9 rectangle pan (see note). I used dental floss to cut my cinnamon rolls, it's easier than using a knife.
- Heat the oven to 200ºF. Turn the oven off, loosely cover the rolls with a towel and allow to rise in the oven for 20-25 minutes. If you have the time, allow them to sit for 35 minutes, that's even better.
- When dough has risen, remove from the oven. Place a rack near the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the towel from the rolls, and bake the cinnamon rolls for 16-19 minutes or until the rolls are golden and cooked through. Remove and let cool on a wire cooling rack for 5 minutes. Prepare the cream cheese frosting while they cool.
To make the frosting:
- Combine the butter and cream cheese in a medium bowl and using beaters, beat them together until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and the vanilla extract and continue to beat until the frosting is smooth.
- Spread the frosting on the cinnamon rolls while still warm.
- The espresso powder used in this recipe helps intensify the flavor of the chocolate. It doesn't make these rolls taste like coffee.
- 8 cinnamon rolls will fit in a 9-inch pie pan. all 12 will fit in a 9x13 pan. You can even bake individual cinnamon rolls by placing them in a greased cupcake pans.
- Powdered milk is usually found in the baking aisle right next to where they keep the evaporated milk.
- Recipe adapted from: My Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls.