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How do you make the best cinnamon rolls ever? By adding maple and pecans! This secret bakery recipe combines three amazing flavors into one bakery-style, maple-pecan cinnamon roll that everyone will love. Buttery maple glaze melts into the dough and crunchy pecans add a delightful texture contrast to the soft, pillowy inside of these yummy rolls. They are sure to make your house smell amazing and turn heads when you bring them to the office or the family Christmas brunch.
Classic Cinnamon Rolls vs. Maple Pecan
By now you may have tried my Soft and Gooey Bakery-Style Cinnamon Rolls recipe—one of my most popular recipes from Amycakes Bakery. While that recipe is the “classic” cinnamon roll variety (and I highly recommend you try them), these maple pecan variety are my personal favorite. Classic cinnamon rolls were one of our top sellers, but I found that once a customer tried these maple pecan cinnamon rolls, they were often converted to maple pecan lovers for life.
In Case I Haven’t Convinced You to Try This Recipe Yet…
I recently mentioned this on my Facebook and Instagram, but if I could convince you to try any ONE bakery recipe on this website, it would be one of my cinnamon roll recipes. Both cinnamon roll recipes have the perfect soft and fluffy texture with an extra gooey center–They melt in your mouth in every bite and are soft all the way to the very edge. It’s due to the Instant Clearjel in the soft yeast dough, the extra brown sugar cinnamon filling, and the way we bake the rolls so that they stay soft to the very edge.
The Secret Bakery Ingredient in this Recipe
This bakery recipe uses Instant ClearJel, a type of cornstarch that serves as both a thickener and a binder. It’s tasteless and has no artificial ingredients. It’s often used by professional bakers because it produces a smoother and glossier consistency than cornstarch, tapioca, or other starches. Even better, it enhances moisture and texture in cakes and thickens and stabilizes frostings.
Although it’s not often available in grocery stores, it’s sold in a variety of online stores. I use Hoosier Hill Farm Instant Clearjel. When using Instant Clearjel in baking, please make sure it is labeled as “INSTANT,” and always thoroughly whisk it with dry ingredients as described within the recipe.
How to Make Soft and Gooey Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
Be sure to check out my Soft and Gooey Bakery Style Cinnamon Rolls recipe for a more detailed post and video about every step that makes the dough so delicious. Here’s a quick recap:
- Use Instant Clearjel in the dough and filling, which makes an incredibly soft dough and gooey center.
- Don’t knead the dough or add extra flour. A soft dough makes a soft roll!
- Make the dough the day before you want to serve your cinnamon rolls, then allow the risen dough to rest in the fridge overnight. This creates the best dough texture. In the morning it will be ready to roll!
- Place the cinnamon rolls close together so that they press against each other as they rise, creating soft edges throughout. This recipe makes six cinnamon rolls that fit in one 9x13x2 cake pan. Double the recipe by pressing “2x” in the recipe card to make one dozen cinnamon rolls that fit perfectly in an 11x15x2 cake pan (or two 9x13x2 pans),
- These cinnamon rolls have the best soft and fluffy texture when eaten the same day they are baked.
Let me know, what’s your favorite– Classic or Maple Pecan? I can’t wait to hear what you think of this recipe!
Thanks for Reading. ❤️
Maple Pecan Bakery-Style Cinnamon Rolls
Watch the Recipe Video (I’m making a 2x batch):
Cinnamon Roll Dough Ingredients
- 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons Instant Clearjel (for a softer dough. It's a bakery ingredient you can use at home, see Notes section)
- 1 Tablespoon(s) Instant Yeast I use (SAF Instant Yeast)
- 1 large Egg(s)
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 3 Tablespoons Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- 1 cup(s) Hot Water around 120 degrees
Cinnamon Roll Filling Ingredients
- 1 cup(s) packed Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon + 1 ½ teaspoons Cinnamon (I use McCormick brand)
- 1 ½ teaspoons Instant Clearjel (for gooier cinnamon rolls. It's a bakery ingredient you can use at home, see Notes section)
- 1 ½ teaspoons All-Purpose Flour
- ½ stick (2 ounces) Salted Butter softened but not melted
- ½ cup chopped Pecans I use a nut chopper to chop them into small even pieces.
- ¼ stick (1 oz) salted butter, melted
- ¼ cup to ½ cup flour, for dusting only use what you need
Maple Glaze Ingredients
- ½ stick (2 ounces) Salted Butter
- 1 ½ cups Powdered Sugar
- 1 teaspoon(s) Maple Extract
- ¾ teaspoon(s) Vanilla Extract
- 1 ½ Tablespoons Very Hot Water
Day One: Make Cinnamon Rolls Dough
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the Flour, Instant Clearjel, and Instant Yeast together until well blended. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, stir the egg(s), salt, sugar, and oil together until well blended.
- Make sure your water is hot, around 120 degrees. (If you don't have a culinary thermometer, this temperature should feel uncomfortable to the touch but not painful). Pour the hot water on top of the egg mixture, but don't stir it together yet. (We want to allow our flour and instant yeast to activate when being mixed with the hot water).
- Immediately add the flour mixture on top of the hot water, and use a sturdy spatula to stir all of the ingredients together until a dough is formed and the ingredients are well blended. The dough will get firmer, stickier, and more difficult to stir as it thickens.
- There's no kneading of this dough, as we don't want to incorporate any additional flour, but we want to stir it until it gets stretchy. Leave the dough in the bowl, and continue to scrape the sides and stir the dough with your heavy-duty spatula for around 2-3 minutes, or until the dough is stretchy and uniform. It will be a very sticky dough.
- Allow the dough to rise at room temperature until double in size, around one hour.
- Loosely wrap the bowl in plastic wrap, and place the risen dough in the fridge overnight, for at least 4 hours but no more than 24 hours.
Day One: Prepare Filling Ingredients
- Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Use your fingers to break apart any large brown sugar pieces, and to make sure the cinnamon is thoroughly mixed in. Wrap this mixture or place it in an air-tight container until Day Two.
- Whisk the Instant Clearjel and Flour together until well blended. Wrap or place in an air-tight container until Day Two.
- If you'd like, you may take your salted butter out of the fridge so that it is softened and ready to roll in the morning.
Day Two: Prepare Pan
- The 1 oz of melted butter for brushing will be used three times. First, brush the cake pan(s) generously with melted butter on the bottom, sides, and inner corners. 6 cinnamon rolls fit in a 9x13x2 pan, and 12 cinnamon rolls fit in an 11x15x2 pan.
Day Two: Roll Out Cinnamon Rolls
- Generously dust your counter with about 1/4 cup of flour.
- Scrape the risen refrigerated cinnamon roll dough on top of the dusted flour. Use your fingers to scrape out any stuck to the bowl and add it to the dough. The dough will be sticky. Avoid pressing the dough into itself or turning it into a ball–this will overwork the dough. We want to roll it out with very little shaping of the dough. Instead, just lightly dust any sticky portions of the dough, and press any sticky edges into the floured counter. Lightly press the dough into a rectangular shape before rolling (I recommend watching the classic cinnamon roll recipe video for a step by step video).
- Roll out the dough into an 9-inch horizontal by 16-inch vertical rectangle. (A 1x batch will be tall and skinny. A 2x batch will be wider than it is tall as seen in the recipe video). Using extra flour only as needed, dust any parts of the dough with flour that sticks to the table or rolling pin.
- If your butter is firm, microwave it for a few seconds until softened but not melted. Mix your softened butter thoroughly with the prepared Instant Clearjel mixture. Immediately spread it onto the rolled-out dough. We mix this right before spreading so that it doesn't have time to thicken before spreading. Spread it evenly all the way to the very edge of the dough.
- Pour the prepared Brown Sugar/Cinnamon mixture on top of the butter and spread it evenly all the way to the very edge of the dough. Evenly sprinkle the chopped pecans all over the cinnamon mixture.
- Roll up the cinnamon dough tightly, curving the edges in slightly as you roll (watch the recipe video). This helps maintain a nice roll on the edges and prevents the cinnamon mixture from escaping. When you are left with one inch of dough, pull it up and pinch it tightly against the rolled dough, creating a pinched seam.
- Dust the seam with flour, and turn your dough so it is seam side down against the floured counter. Shape the roll of dough with your hands if needed so that it is even in thickness. Score the dough with a bench scraper, pastry divider, or knife into 6 rolls, then cut the rolls with a bench scraper or sharp knife.
- Place the cinnamon rolls into your prepared pan, with little room between each roll and 1/2 inch from the edge of the pan. Lightly press down on each roll so that the edges of each roll barely touch each other, and improve their round form if needed. (The cinnamon rolls will rise into whatever shape they are in now. So if you have some oval or misshapen rolls, use your hands to form the edges into a circle before they rise.)
- Brush the cinnamon rolls with melted salted butter, then allow to rise at room temperature until double in size, around one hour.
Day Two: Bake the Cinnamon Rolls
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake the risen cinnamon rolls in the preheated 350-degree oven on the middle or top rack for 12 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325 degrees. Bake for an additional 6-8 minutes for six cinnamon rolls in a 9×13 pan, or an additional 12-16 minutes for twelve cinnamon rolls in an 11×15 pan. The cinnamon rolls are done when they are golden brown, and the dough bounces back when you tap it lightly with your finger. Check several areas of the rolls for doneness.
Make Maple Glaze
- While the rolls bake, make the glaze. Melt the butter in the microwave in a large microwave safe bowl. Whisk in the maple extract, pure vanilla extract and powdered sugar. As you whisk, the glaze will get very thick. Slowly add the very hot water and whisk the glaze until it is smooth with no lumps. The glaze will thicken as it cools, so if it is too thick to drizzle when the cinnamon rolls are done, microwave the glaze in 20-30 second increments until it reaches a drizzling consistency.
- Brush the cinnamon rolls one last time with melted butter. Using a small whisk, drizzle the glaze onto each hot cinnamon roll.
- These cinnamon rolls are best served warm and have the best soft texture when eaten the same day they are baked. Enjoy!
3 tsp= 1 Tbsp
4 Tbsp = 1/4 cup Notes about Instant Clearjel: Read my article Instant Clearjel: a Magical Bakery Ingredient to see why I think this ingredient is worth having in your pantry. Instant Clearjel must always be whisked thoroughly with other dry ingredients before being added to wet ingredients to avoid clumping. I have tested this recipe with the following Instant Clearjel brands: Hoosier Hill Farm, Prepared Pantry, and Ingredion (Make sure what you purchase is labeled as “Instant.” Cooktyle Clearjel is a different product that does not work the same in baked goods). RECIPE UPDATES:
9-16-21: The original recipe was for 12 cinnamon rolls. All my recipes now start with small batches, so it now makes 6 cinnamon rolls. Press the “2x” if you’d like to double the recipe to make 12 cinnamon rolls.