Guys, these caramel pecan cinnamon rolls could not be easier! And you could be enjoying these warm from the oven in under 30 minutes. This recipe is part of my Friday shortcut, quick, and easy series. Refrigerated pizza dough is the secret to getting these caramel-y good rolls put together in a hurry so you can chow down ASAP. No mixing and raising dough (although that’s not difficult-just takes some time), or waiting for frozen bread dough to thaw. Just open the can and you’re halfway there. Let’s get right to it-I know you want to eat these!
I used a 13.8 ounce can of pizza dough and part of a jar of regular ice cream topping. Don’t use the caramel topping in the squeeze bottle because nice and thick is what we need here, and the bottled stuff is too runny. There will be enough ice cream topping to make a second batch of rolls, or you can save it for your ice cream.
Grease (or spray) 9 muffin cups. You can spray the area between the muffin cups, to, to make clean-up easier. The caramel has a tendency to bubble out during baking. Side note: a couple years ago I replaced my muffin pans with fairly heavy, non-stick pans and I could not be happier. They are soooo much easier to clean (I’m always trying out something messy in mine and the old ones were a bear) than the regular ones. While I’m not a huge fan of non-stick pots and pans, I’ve been very pleased with these and I feel like they’ve saved me a lot of time. Okay, back to our story. Divide the nuts among the 9 cups. Whisking just 1 tablespoon of butter in with our caramel topping gives it a more natural, buttery caramel taste and helps it coat the rolls.
This picture of sugar and cinnamon on the dough is just hideous, but I think you can see what to do anyway. Roll the dough up from the short side-the 9-inch side-so you’ll have a little 9-inch log. I’m terrible at guessing inches, diameters, etc., so I have a ruler I keep in the kitchen and I use it to measure everything from where to cut dough to the depth of baking pans, to the diameter of skillets. I scored the dough every inch using my ruler, then I cut the rolls.
See why you need a baking sheet underneath? Yeah, this gets a little messy (but it’s so yummy-it’s worth it!). I tried this once without the baking sheet. My heartfelt thanks to the person who invented self-cleaning ovens. After baking, find a big pan, or a big heat-proof tray, and put it on top of the muffin pan. Wear some oven mitts, and carefully flip the the whole thing-the muffin pan and the tray on top of it, not the baking sheet the muffin pan sat on in the oven, just leave that on the cooling rack-over so the muffin pan is on top (upside down). Lift off the muffin pan. Most likely, some nuts and a little caramel will still be stuck to the muffin cups. Just scrape it out with a spoon and add it to whatever roll seems lacking.
If you’re wondering why I don’t just put the caramel-y goo in the bottom of, say, an 8-inch pan and just set the rolls on top to keep the mess to a minimum-been there, done that. I didn’t find that the dough baked as well-I like that barely crusty outside, tender (not raw) middle. I was only able to produce that in a muffin pan, where all of the outside of the roll was surrounded by nice, hot metal. Here’s how you can make these pretty fast if you’re fixing these in the morning for breakfast, or maybe to surprise your co-workers: prep what you can the night before. Have the pans out, chop the nuts and keep them in a baggie ready to go, mix the sugar and cinnamon, have the tablespoon of butter in a bowl in the fridge ready to pop in the microwave. Turn the oven on to pre-heat as soon as you get up. If you have everything prepped as much as possible ahead of time, you’ll probably have it ready to bake as soon as (or before) the oven is at temperature. These take me about 10 minutes to get together.
Although pretty much everything made from refrigerated dough tastes best right when you make it, these actually reheat pretty well. I hope you enjoy these whenever the ooey-gooey, sticky, caramel-y urge strikes.
Quick Caramel Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
- 1/3 c. coarsely chopped pecans
- ½ c. caramel ice cream topping
- I Tbs. butter, melted
- 1 13.8 oz. can refrigerated pizza dough
- 3 Tbs. sugar
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Step 2 Grease or spray with non-stick spray 9 muffin cups of a 12-cup muffin pan. Place the muffin pan on a large baking sheet.
- Step 3 Divide the pecans evenly among the 9 muffin cups.
- Step 4 In a small bowl, whisk together the ice cream topping and melted butter. Pour 1 tablespoon over the pecans in each of the muffin cups. (If you have a little bit left over just divide it evenly.)
- Step 5 On a very lightly floured board, roll out the pizza dough to a 9” X 13” rectangle.
- Step 6 Mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the dough.
- Step 7 Beginning with the 9” side, roll the dough into a log.
- Step 8 Cut the dough log every inch until you have 9 individual rolls. Put one roll in each muffin cup on top of the caramel.
- Step 9 With the muffin tin on a baking sheet (to catch any caramel overflow), bake 15-18 minutes until golden brown.
- Step 10 Place on cooling rack. Put a large cake pan (such as a jelly roll pan) or a heatproof tray on top of the muffin tin. Using oven mitts, invert the muffin tin onto the pan or tray. Use a spoon or silicone spatula to scrape up any little bits of nuts or caramel left in the pan and put it on the rolls.
- Step 11 Serve warm. These taste best the day they’re made (like all refrigerated dough products), but may be stored in a covered container at room temperature. Gently reheat in microwave.