Caramel Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from Mom on Time Out
4 1/2 tsp OR 2 packages of active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
2 teaspoons + 1/3 cup sugar, divided
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup whole wheat pastry)
1/3 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans, optional
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar (try reducing to 2/3 or 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
2. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and cinnamon for the filling. Chop the pecans (if using) and melt the 1/4 cup butter.
3. Once dough has risen, lightly flour a large cutting board or Silpat baking mat. Punch down down and roll out to approximately 12 x 16 inches. Spread on the melted butter and sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Next sprinkle on the pecans, if using. Starting on a long side, roll up the dough up into a cylinder and pinch the edge to close. Cut the cylinder in half and then cut each half into five rolls for a total of ten rolls. (I always do this with thread or unwaxed dental floss- take a long piece, put it under the rolled up cylinder, and bring the two ends together to cut the roll.)
4. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish and place rolls in the dish, leaving a little room around each roll to allow for rising. Let the rolls rise for another hour or so. If baking now, preheat oven to 375 degrees during last 15 minutes of rising time. Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes until golden brown in color. If browning too quickly, cover with foil. Proceed with step 6 for the icing.
5. If preparing for tomorrow, cover rolls with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.Next morning: remove from refrigerator and let rolls come to room temperature in a warm area. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes until golden brown in color.
6. While rolls are baking, prepare the caramel icing: Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the brown sugar and salt and stir until combined. Continue cooking over low heat for another 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly. Add the heavy whipping cream and stir to combine. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Whisk in the powdered sugar until nice and smooth.
7. Remove rolls from oven and pour on icing immediately. Let cool slightly and serve.
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