Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

March 29, 2018

These Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls are the perfect addition to your Spring’s sweet treat menu. They are most certainly not your traditional cinnamon rolls and the bold carrot cake flavor won’t disappoint. Super fluffy, thick, sweet, and a bit of a crunch from the pecans tucked away in between each roll; this recipe is one of my favorite cinnamon roll recipes to date. Topped with a light cream cheese glaze, these cinnamon rolls will have you feeling like you’ve cut into a nice, moist slice of carrot cake, indeed.

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

As Easter approaches, I have been prepping for my trip to New Jersey to spend some time with my in-laws. I enjoy traveling, especially with my two guys, and this week’s travel will be a nice experience away from NYC.

Although it’s cold in New Jersey as well, I am excited about the nice scenery and deers and rabbits that you don’t get to see here in the city. Haha.

More importantly, I have been so excited to share this recipe with you guys because it was SO AMAZING!

I’ve only made cinnamon rolls a handful of times and while I do enjoy the traditional recipe, I always enjoy taking things a bit further, especially when it comes to the holidays.

Like the time I made Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls during Christmas time or Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls during the Fall. Both recipes were yummy and definitely not your traditional cinnamon rolls. Anyway, this recipe is the perfect sweet treat for Easter and Spring and especially if you LOVE Carrot Cake.

With these cinnamon rolls, I wanted to convey the FULL idea of eating Carrot Cake, therefore, I added a ton of carrots to the dough, added chopped pecans in between each roll and spices, as well as created a nice cream cheese glaze for the tops of each roll.

Together, everything felt like the closest thing to a good slice of carrot cake. Now thinking things through, I’ve realized that I could have added a bit of raisins to the dough as well (I’ll make a mental note to try this next time, of course!) and walnuts to bring my idea completely to life, but I’ll try it again to see how much better it tastes! Haha.

I’m sure that it’ll be pretty hard to top this recipe because it was really really good.

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

Moving on to the actual recipe, the bake time was a short 25 minutes, but the longest time was in the prep, due to the dough rising a few times.

Once the prep stage is over, you’ll go through the remainder of this recipe in a breeze.

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

Let’s dig right into this recipe, shall we?

Start by combining the yeast and brown sugar in a small bowl and then slowly pouring in the warm water, while stirring everything together. Allow 10 minutes for the mixture to sit and the yeast to activate (It’ll become foamy when done right!).

Meanwhile, melt the butter and milk together over the stovetop on low to medium heat, stirring frequently until the butter has fully melted. NOTE: You don’t want the mixture to get too hot or boil! Set aside and let it cool.

Next, combine the all-purpose flour, brown sugar, sea salt and spices in a large mixer bowl and stir until well combined. Then add eggs and grated carrots and stir again.

Add the dry ingredients and yeast mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, until well incorporated.

Change “mixer head” to kneading accessory and knead dough for 5-10 minutes on medium-high speed until dough ball becomes smooth and elastic and dough springs back when lightly pressed with 2 fingers. NOTE: If dough is too sticky, add 1 Tbsp of flour at a time until texture is achieved!

Once dough ball is perfectly kneaded, add it to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit and rise for 1 hour to an hour + 15 minutes.

In the meantime, you can work on the filling!

For the Filling:

Melt butter and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, and brown sugar and set aside as well. In a separate bowl, add chopped pecans (and/or walnuts) set aside also.

Once the hour has gone by and your dough has risen (almost doubled in size), preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, flour a flat surface and place the dough on it and using a rolling pin, roll it out to a rectangle (approximately 9″x14), trimming the edges if needed. NOTE: Try not to make the dough too thin or else rolling it up will be hard to do!

Then, generously brush melted butter overtop of dough and spoon the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the butter and generously sprinkle nuts atop the cinnamon-sugar mixture. NOTE: I also use a brush to sweep sugar mixture evenly across the dough to ensure that every bite is sweet!

Tightly roll dough (long-ways) and using a pastry cutter, cut dough into 1.5″ rolls, placing each roll into a large baking dish (lined with parchment paper!).

Then place plastic wrap over the baking dish with rolls and let them rise again (for another 20 minutes).

Once the rolls have doubled in size for a second time (or have gotten significantly larger), brush rolls with a little more melted butter and then bake them for approximately 25 minutes in the preheated oven.

While all the baking magic is happening, make the cream cheese glaze (recipe in Notes) and set aside.

Remove the rolls from oven and wait 5 minutes or so, and then drizzle glaze atop everything and garnish with freshly grate carrots and chopped nuts, if desired.

Bon Appetite!

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Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Rise Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 45 mins
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Ingredients

  • 5 cups organic all-purpose flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1 packet dry active yeast (See Notes!)
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw)
  • 1 1/4 cup Almond milk (You can use your fave plant-based milk!)
  • 1/4 cup WARM water
  • 6 Tbsps unsalted butter (I use Land O'Lakes)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 large organic eggs (I use Organic Valley)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups grated organic carrots

For the Filling:

  • 2 Tbsps unsalted butter, melted (I use Land O'Lakes)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped + toasted (See Notes!)

Instructions

  • Start by combining the yeast and brown sugar in a small bowl and then slowly pouring in the warm water, while stirring everything together. Allow 10 minutes for the mixture to sit and the yeast to activate (It'll become foamy when done right!).
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter and milk together over the stovetop on low to medium heat, stirring frequently until the butter has fully melted. NOTE: You don't want the mixture to get too hot or boil! Set aside and let it cool.
  • Next, combine the all-purpose flour, brown sugar, sea salt and spices in a large mixer bowl and stir until well combined. Then add eggs and grated carrots and stir again.
  • Add the dry ingredients and yeast mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, until well incorporated.
  • Change "mixer head" to kneading accessory and knead dough for 5-10 minutes on medium-high speed until dough ball becomes smooth and elastic and dough springs back when lightly pressed with 2 fingers. NOTE: If dough is too sticky, add 1 Tbsp of flour at a time until texture is achieved!
  • Once dough ball is perfectly kneaded, add it to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit and rise for 1 hour to an hour + 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime, you can work on the filling!

For the Filling:

  • Melt butter and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, and brown sugar and set aside as well. In a separate bowl, add chopped pecans (and/or walnuts) set aside also.
  • Once the hour has gone by and your dough has risen (almost doubled in size), preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, flour a flat surface and place the dough on it and using a rolling pin, roll it out to a rectangle (approximately 9"x14), trimming the edges if needed. NOTE: Try not to make the dough too thin or else rolling it up will be hard to do!
  • Then, generously brush melted butter overtop of dough and spoon the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the butter and generously sprinkle nuts atop the cinnamon-sugar mixture. NOTE: I also use a brush to sweep sugar mixture evenly across the dough to ensure that every bite is sweet!
  • Tightly roll dough (long-ways) and using a pastry cutter, cut dough into 1.5" rolls, placing each roll into a large baking dish (lined with parchment paper!).
  • Then place plastic wrap over the baking dish with rolls and let them rise again (for another 20 minutes).
  • Once the rolls have doubled in size for a second time (or have gotten significantly larger), brush rolls with a little more melted butter and then bake them for approximately 25 minutes in the preheated oven.
  • While all the baking magic is happening, make the cream cheese glaze (recipe in Notes) and set aside.
  • Remove the rolls from oven and wait 5 minutes or so, and then drizzle glaze atop everything and garnish with freshly grate carrots and chopped nuts, if desired.
  • Bon Appetite!

Tips & Tricks

CREAM CHEESE GLAZE: 
  •   4 oz cream cheese, at room temp
  •   1 tsp vanilla extract
  •   3 cups powdered sugar
  •   2-4 Tbsps of coconut milk
  •   3 Tbsps butter, softened
***Directions: Simply combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer & beat together on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and coconut milk, and continue to mix on medium speed until you reach the desired consistency. **Add more milk (1 Tbsp at a time if too thick).
RAPID (INSTANT) RISE YEAST VS. ACTIVE DRY YEAST: If you’re not using the Rapid Rise Yeast for this recipe, please know that the rise time will be twice as long (about 3 hours) since regular Active Yeast doesn’t work as quickly.
OVERNIGHT OPTION: If you don’t want to make your Cinnamon Rolls on the same day, you can simply follow all steps (including the initial 1+ hour rise) and after cutting rolls and placing them into your baking pan, just cover them tightly (using foil paper of plastic wrap) and refrigerate them overnight or for 8-12 hours instead. The following day, remove from refrigerator and keeping them covered, let cinnamon rolls rise at room temp 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
TO STORE: Cinnamon Rolls can be kept fresh at room temperature when tightly wrapped or sealed for up to 3 days. Fresh for up to 1 week in the Refrigerator. Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2 months.
TOASTED PECANS: Add chopped pecans to a baking sheet and toasting them in the oven (400 degrees Fahrenheit) for 5-10 minutes, tossing them halfway to avoid browning on one side.
 

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Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls.

ORCHIDS + SWEET TEA

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  1. This is a good recipe! I’ll be making it again since it combines my two favorite desserts.

    I have a few suggestions and alterations: after heating the milk and butter, no other mention of that piece is made. I added it when I added the yeast to the dry ingredients. Then, to make these instructions more accessible, I recommend including kneading instructions if you don’t have a mixer (I don’t, so I kneaded the dough lightly for about 8 minutes). Lastly, my dough rolled out to closer to 16×24 inches, so I recommend almost doubling the filling.

    • Hi Renren! I’m so glad that you enjoyed these! It’s one of my favorites! I truly appreciate your recommendations—I’ll definitely make tweaks to the recipe to cover those points! 🙂