Note: This picture was from the first time I made these and I didn’t use string so they cut uneven. Also I baked them on a baking sheet but now I use a casserole dish so they look prettier.
For the dough
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk at room temperature
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
3 cups flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
For the filling
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans (small pieces but not ground)
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup melted butter, divided
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3-4 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Time to make the dough. Combine yeast, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and warm water in mixing bowl. Let sit for about 10 minutes until yeast is visibly risen.
Add egg, egg yolk, milk, vanilla, brown sugar and remaining sugar, stir, I used a hand whisk.
Using dough hook, add flour and salt. Mix until combined, about 1 minute. Turn mixer on high and mix for about 4 minutes. Dough should be well combined but still look like a thick batter.
Add softened butter and continue mixing on high for 6 minutes.
Dough will be sticky but pull when you lift dough up.
Remove hook and just cover the bowl with plastic wrap, no need to move dough to another bowl unless you need your mixing bowl. Let dough rise 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in size.
Combine topping ingredients except for butter, and set to side.
With well-floured hands, punch down dough and remove to a well-floured counter or board. Knead dough about 10-12 times, just enough to remove stickiness. Add more flour if needed.
Roll dough out into a rough square about 12 x 12. Spread softened cream cheese over top.
Fold dough, lift bottom up 1/3 to overlap middle, then top down then side to side
Flip dough over so raw folds are on the bottom and roll out to a 10 x 20 rectangle
Time for some goodness. Use half (1/4 cup) of melted butter and spread it over entire dough
Spread filling mixture on top of butter, covering entire dough except 1 inch at far end of dough (from where you will start rolling.)
Lightly press filling into dough, now start rolling dough (I found it easiest to cut dough using a dough cutter.) Slice off ends of dough and then cut into 8 equal slices ( I use string to cut mine for a more even look)
Place in a well greased, buttered, sprayed (used what you want) 9 x 13 pan or large baking sheet if you don’t want rolls to touch. Cover and let rise again till almost doubled or Place in refrigerator overnight to bake in the morning.
If you refrigerated the rolls, let them come back up to room temperature (about 1 hour) then bake in 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Mine were done at 25 minutes.
While rolls are baking, prepare cream cheese icing.
With mixer, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and milk till creamy and smooth. Add milk if necessary to get that perfect thick but pourable consistency.
As soon as you remove rolls from oven, pour remaining 1/4 cup melted butter over hot rolls.
Let sit 5 minutes then ice or serve icing on the side, your choice.