This post is sponsored by Nielsen-Massey Vanillas. All opinions are the contributor’s own.
Cinnamon rolls are a big deal in our family. This recipe is my grandmother's base recipe that we grew up waking up to every Christmas that we went to their house. When Nielsen-Massey asked us to come up with a chocolate recipe that would pair with their amazing vanilla products I immediately knew that this would be the perfect option!
The base is super basic to whip up and all I changed was adding in cocoa powder to the dough to give it the perfect chocolate flavor without being overwhelming. Then we stuffed them with crunchy pecan bits and chocolate chips. I tried this once with cinnamon in the filling and once without and personally we liked them both ways so it's totally up to you!
I love white glazes, but I hate how painfully sweet they usually are since the base thickener is powdered sugar. So instead we whipped together a delicious cream cheese glaze! It's sweetened only with a few tablespoons of maple syrup which makes it perfectly sweet without giving you a headache.
The glaze is filled with the most amazing Neilson-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste . I personally am a huge vanilla lover, but I always tell people it's so crucial to buy the best vanilla you can find. Imitation vanilla is such a crime; it tastes nothing like the real thing.
The folks over at Nielsen Massey do an incredible job from start to finish with their vanillas, and after meeting them earlier this year at a show I will only be using their products. A few fun facts about why good vanilla really is worth the cost:
Vanilla beans are hand-pollinated on family farms.
The curing process, which involves drying the beans in the sun by day and allowing them to sweat in a box at night, can take three to six months. The beans get hot enough in the sun to actually burn your hand.
Each vanilla flower opens for only one part of one day during the season. If it's not pollinated on that day, no pod will be produced.
The entire vanilla-cultivation process, from planting to market, can take from five to six years.
Isn't that amazing? I love knowing the history behind the products we use.
I hope you make this chocolate pecan cinnamon rolls recipe for your family and track down some of this incredible vanilla bean paste. It truly elevates any dish you make with its flavor.
Chocolate Pecan Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
For the Rolls:
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 tablespoons rapid rise yeast
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 4 tablespoons milk, or half and half
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 2 tablespoons honey
For the Filling:
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened or melted
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
For the Glaze:
- 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened in the microwave until easily stirred - use the plastic container, not a foil wrapped package
- 2-3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, to taste
- 1/2 cup milk, or half and half (or until you reach desired consistency)
- 2 teaspoons nielsen-massey madagascar bourbon pure vanilla bean paste
For the Rolls:
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mix warm water, yeast and sugar together and allow to sit for 3-5 minutes until frothy.
In a stand mixer or large bowl combine flour, salt and cocoa powder until combined. Add milk, butter, eggs and honey to mixer. Using whisk or dough hook attachment or a large spoon by hand, combine dough until it forms a cohesive dough. Do not knead.
Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Stretch two 20-inch-long sheets of plastic wrap out on counter to form one sheet and dust with cocoa powder lightly to prevent sticking.
Press out dough to approximately 18 inches by 10 inches.
Fill the Rolls:
Top with butter evenly. Sprinkle sugar, pecans and chocolate chips. Roll lengthwise to form a spiral.
Cut into 12 even slices. Place in a greased oven safe pan (mine is 12 inches x 8 inches) and allow to rise 15 minutes.
Cook for 25 minutes.
Whip warmed cream cheese with mixer or whisk.
Slowly add maple syrup and milk while whipping until glaze reaches desired consistency. Can be made as a spreadable glaze or pourable based on amount of milk added.
Remove rolls from oven and top with glaze.
Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
KitchenAid Stand Mixer
Cuisinart Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
360 Bakeware Baking Pan