Stuffed Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing
Makes 12 rolls
One of the questions I often get is where my recipe ideas come from. With this one, I was thinking about a new breakfast recipe and thought about cinnamon rolls – one of those iconic breakfast dishes. I knew that I wanted to add my signature to that recipe, but I wasn’t sure what that would be. It came to me in the middle of the night, to add bacon, Mexican chocolate and pecans. After doing some research on what makes the best cinnamon roll, I based my recipe on one that I found in the Cook’s Illustrated book on baking. This recipe uses a yeast dough, but it’s very easy to work with and the results are well worth the effort.
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened plus 2 tablespoons for baking dish
1 envelope (2 1/4 teaspoons) rapid rise yeast
1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus extra (bench flour) for the work surface
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon (Mexican, if available)
6 slices (5 ounces) crispy bacon, crumbled
4 ounces (1 cup) chopped pecans
3 ounces chopped Mexican chocolate (we prefer Ibarra)
10 ounces softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (we prefer Mexican vanilla)
Heat the buttermilk and 1 1/2 sticks of butter in a small microwave safe bowl for about 1 1/2 minutes on high or until the butter is melted. Let cool slightly until lukewarm. Mix in the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
Set up an electric mixer with the paddle attachment and combine the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, the yeast mixture and eggs. Add half of the flour and mix until smooth. Change to the dough hook and add the remaining flour and knead on low speed for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. You can add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time, if necessary during the kneading. Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured counter and shape into a round. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover the surface of the dough with plastic wrap. Take a second piece of plastic wrap and cover the bowl. Let rise for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in volume.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Keep the bacon, chocolate and pecans separate since you'll sprinkle them on individually to make sure that you get even distribution over the surface of the dough.
Next, prepare the icing by combining all the ingredients using an electric mixer. Blend until smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Refrigerate until ready to use.
After the dough has doubled, gently turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and roll into a 12 x 16 inch rectangle. With the long end, sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the top of the dough leaving a 1-inch border at the top. Repeat this procedure with the bacon, chocolate and pecans. Start at the edge closest to you and tightly roll up into a log shape. You should have a uniform 16-inch log. Using a serrated knife, cut the log into 12 equal pieces. Place the rolls cut side up, into the prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack set in the center position. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the cinnamon rolls until golden brown about 25 to 30 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Transfer the cinnamon rolls to a serving plate and spread on the icing.