Pecan Cinnamon Rolls with Mascarpone Icing

On the two weekends before we headed to Maine, we hosted different groups of friends for a casual Sunday brunch on our patio. There’s nothing I love more in the summer than eating outside and cooking good food to share with good friends. We kept the brunch menu simple and easy to prepare. One weekend we did a mushroom, leek, and swiss frittata; the other weekend, soft-scrambled eggs with herbs and goat cheese. Both weekends we grilled up crisp bacon, made a quick salad lightly tossed with homemade vinaigrette, and put out a big bowl of fresh cut fruit.

And because I love sweets for breakfast as much as I love savory (always so hard to decide!), I also made these addictive cinnamon rolls. All of our friends loved them, and I promised the recipe would be shared, so here it is–complete with a super simple dough (no rising time needed), a brown sugar-pecan filling, and rich mascarpone icing. These take some time to prep but are incredibly easy and a must-have recipe in your kitchen–believe me, your friends and family will thank you.

Pecan Cinnamon Rolls with Mascarpone Icing


3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Bun Dough:

1 tablespoon golden flaxmeal
2 tablespoons very hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
9 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and divided (I divided it first, then melted each part)
Cooking spray

Mascarpone Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons buttermilk

To make the filling, combine the brown sugar, pecans, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and melted butter in a medium bowl. The filling will be dry and crumbly.

To make the bun dough, first combine flaxmeal and hot water in a small bowl; stir until mixture becomes a little goopy. Set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in flax slurry, buttermilk and 6 tablespoons melted butter into dry ingredients until blended and dough forms. Transfer bowl with dough to refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.

Spray a 13 x 11-inch piece of parchment paper with cooking spray. Lightly flour a rolling pin. Remove the dough from the fridge. It will still be sticky, so sprinkle with a couple good pinches of flour and lightly knead the flour into the dough. Remove the dough from the bowl and roll out on the parchment paper to a 12 x 10-inch rectangle. Brush rolled dough with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Sprinkle filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1-inch plain border on 1 long side; press the filling to adhere to dough. Begin to roll up the dough jelly-roll style, starting at long end opposite of the plain border (gently lift the parchment to help you roll up the dough). Pinch the border of the dough to seal. Wrap the full roll in the parchment paper, place on a baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes (freezing helps firm the roll so it will be easier to cut).

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°. Cut cold roll into 8 equal slices. Place rolls in a 10-inch spring-form pan or 10-inch cake pan. There should be a good amount of space between all the rolls–they will expand. Brush tops of rolls with remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes.

To make the icing, combine powdered sugar, mascarpone cheese, and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Spread the icing over slightly cooled buns.

*Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

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  • Lena Barclay

    Ommmggg. Why did I not have these for breakfast this morning?!