These breakfast rolls will fill your house with wonderful aromas of cinnamon and vanilla. They may take a bit of time to prepare but they are more than worth the wait. Leave out the pecans or swap them for raisins if you prefer.
To make the dough, melt the butter in a saucepan. Pour directly into a jug, adding the milk and eggs. Whisk together.
Put the flour, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a dough hook. Tip in the yeast. Pour in the jug of liquid and mix well until the dough is soft but not sticky. (You may not need all of the liquid.)
Knead by hand for 10-12 minutes or in the mixer for 8 minutes, until the dough looks smooth, soft and elastic. Tip into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled clingfilm or a clean tea towel, and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Place the cinnamon, vanilla, sugar and pecans (if using) in a food processor, and whizz until the nuts are finely ground.
When the dough is proved, knead to knock out the air, then roll out onto a sheet of nonstick baking paper until you have a rectangle about 30 x 40cm (12 x 16in). Brush all over with the melted butter and scatter the filling on top. Roll over with a rolling pin to press the filling into the dough.
Roll up from the longest side, using the paper to help you get it really tight. Seal the ends with some of the melted butter to help them stick. Cut into 9 rolls, trimming off the ends.
Take a large, deep roasting tray and grease really well. Put in the buns, cut-sides up. Cover with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour or until they have doubled in size.
Put an empty baking tray on the bottom of the oven, and heat to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Remove the clingfilm from the tray of rolls, and put in the oven. Pour cold water from a jug into the empty tray to create steam and keep the buns soft.
Bake for 22-25 minutes, until the buns are lightly browned, risen and firm to the touch. Allow to cool a little in the tin, then remove to a wire rack.
While they cool, make the icing. Beat together the cream cheese, vanilla, icing sugar and maple syrup until smooth. Brush on the warm buns and scatter with the chopped pecans, if using.
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