These walnut cinnamon rolls are perfect for brunch and combine a sweet and salty touch. These gooey and soft cinnamon rolls have maple walnuts rolled in. They are topped with maple cream cheese frosting and more maple nuts.
The BEST Snack Walnuts
I usually find cinnamon rolls to be super sweet, the addition of the sweet maple walnuts really complements the rolls!
First, you need quality nuts. Diamond is known for their quality nuts. Their sweet maple nuts are no exception. These snack nuts have a sweet maple flavor, which is perfect for baking.
Normally, when I add nuts to baking, they are a plain nut. These sweet maple walnuts however, have this sweet maple coating and they taste delicious! They really helped make these cinnamon rolls special. You can find these snack nuts at Walmart.
I added these walnuts in the filling mixed with the brown sugar and cinnamon. There is a maple crunch in every bite! These rolls are also topped with more of the nuts to pair well with the maple cream cheese frosting.
How To Make The Dough
I prefer to make the dough using a stand mixer fit with a dough hook, but I will include making by hand instructions later.
- Use warm milk- The milk has to be heated to 110F. Any hotter or colder will kill the yeast and the dough won't rise. Grab a thermometer to make sure it is at the right temperature.
- Slightly cool melted butter- The butter should be melted in the microwave. Then, let it sit on the counter for a few minutes so it isn't super hot.
- Knead in the flour- Once all wet ingredients are added together, mix in all of the flour with the dough hook attachment. Mix in on low until a dough starts to form. Switch to medium and knead for 5 minutes.
- Add more flour if dough is too sticky- This all depends on your location, altitude, etc. The dough should be tacky, but not super stuck to your fingers. If it is too sticky, add in ⅛ cup of flour at a time. Let mix in thoroughly to decide if you need more.
- Place in a greased bowl- Spray a large bowl with a non-stick spray. Then, cover with a dish towel. The spray is to prevent the dough from sticking to the bowl.
Next, the dough will double in size as it rises for 1 hour. It will get huge!
Mixing Dough By Hand
If you don't have a stand mixer, that is okay! You can make this dough by hand.
First, mix all of the wet ingredients together in a large bowl. Then, add in the flour. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour. Once the dough starts to form, transfer to a lightly floured surface.
Next, knead the dough for 10 straight minutes. Set a timer. It needs enough time to activate the gluten.
After the dough is kneaded, follow the rest of the instructions.
Easy Cinnamon Roll Filling
This cinnamon roll filling has the traditional brown sugar and cinnamon. I actually add extra cinnamon for it to have a stronger flavor. The more cinnamon the better!
Once the dough has risen, roll the dough to a 15X24 inch rectangle. It is a large rectangle, so there will be a lot of swirls.
Next, spread melted butter all over the dough by using a pastry brush. Use every last drop of melted butter.
Then, sprinkle the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture over the butter. To evenly spread the mixture around, use your hands to brush it around.
Now it is time for the sweet maple walnuts. Place them in a blender/ food processor. Blend until they are the size of a pea or mini chocolate chip. We want small enough pieces to easily roll the dough. Don't crush them into dust though!
Next, roll up the walnut cinnamon rolls. It needs to be rolled very tightly. If you roll it loosely, there is a chance it could rise straight up while it bakes. (I'm talking about cinnamon roll cones!)
To cut the dough, use a pastry cutter, sharp knife, or unscented dental floss. If you use a pastry cutter or sharp knife, the roll could be squished while cutting. To fix this, use your hands to form it back into a circle vs an oval.
Why Does The Dough Need 2 Rises?
This is actually very important. The first rise is for the yeast to activate with the gluten. This will help create a soft dough.
The second rise is to help the dough after you messed with it while you rolled it. Let the dough rise again for 35 minutes. The cinnamon rolls will grow a lot!
The result will leave you with fluffy rolls! Don't skip that second rise.
Baking The Rolls With Heavy Cream
Okay, I know this may sound odd. This is actually my best cinnamon roll hack! Pouring heavy cream in between the rolls in the pan, guarantees a gooey roll.
The heavy cream bakes right into the bottom of the cinnamon roll. It protects the roll from overbaking on the bottom. The biggest question I get is, "Don't the rolls get soggy?"
NO! I was worried at first too. However, it creates a gooey cinnamon roll in every bite.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
This cream cheese icing is super easy to make. The tangy frosting is always perfect with cinnamon rolls. Also, this frosting has real maple syrup to pair well with the sweet maple walnuts.
- Room temperature cream cheese and butter- Pull these out 2 hours before decorating the cinnamon rolls. Room temperature ingredients makes it easier to blend until smooth and light.
- Sift the powdered sugar- To prevent a gritty/grainy icing, make sure you sift the powdered sugar.
- Use a hand mixer- I actually prefer to use a hand mixer when making icing. It gives a much better control in beating the cream cheese. A stand mixer is just too big! Although you can use it if that is all you have.
- Ice the rolls 10 minutes after done baking- Allow the cinnamon rolls to cool for 10 minutes before applying the icing. Otherwise it will melt. For easy spreading, use the back of a spoon
Once you ice the walnut cinnamon rolls, make sure to top with more sweet maple walnuts. Use a blender/food processor again to chop up the nuts into slightly smaller pieces. They shouldn't be too small.
Storing The Cinnamon Rolls
These walnut cinnamon rolls are best served warm. However, if you make these ahead of time or simply have extras, store covered in the fridge. They will last up to 5 days in the fridge.
To reheat the rolls, heat them in the microwave for 15-30 seconds until the rolls are hot.
Other Breakfast Recipes To Try
Walnut Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 cup Milk warm 110°F
- ½ cup Unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
- 2 Large eggs room temperature and slightly beaten
- 2 ¼ tsp Fast rise yeast 1 packet
- 1 ½ tsp Salt
- ⅓ cup White granulated sugar
- 4 ½ cups All-purpose flour sifted. may need an extra ⅛-1/2 cup of flour
- ½ cup Unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup Brown sugar packed light or dark
- 2 TBSP Ground cinnamon
- 1 cup Diamond of California Sweet Maple Snack Walnuts crushed very finely
- ½ cup Heavy cream room temperature
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz Cream cheese room temperature
- 4 TBSP Unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 ½ cup Powdered sugar sifted
- ¼ cup Maple syrup real maple syrup
- ½ tsp Pure vanilla extract
- 1 TBSP Milk
- Diamond of California Sweet Maple Snack Walnuts chopped for decoration
- Using a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix the yeast, sugar, salt, and eggs together. In a separate large bowl, sift the flour. Set aside.
- Melt the butter, and allow to cool while you heat the milk. Heat milk in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave for 1 minute. Use a thermometer to make sure it is around 110°F. Too hot milk can kill the yeast. If too hot, let it cool until right temperature. Pour milk and butter in the mixing bowl and mix until combined.
- Add in all of the flour. Mix on low until a dough forms, then switch to medium. Knead dough for 5 minutes. Halfway through, check to see if the dough is sticky. The dough should be slightly tacky. If too sticky, add ⅛ cup flour to dough at a time. Let it mix thoroughly before adding more if it is too sticky still.
- Spray a large mixing bowl with non-stick spray. Place dough in the bowl and cover with a dish towel. Let it rise for 1 hour until doubled in size.
- When the dough is almost done rising, prepare the filling. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Use a blender/ food processor to ground up the sweet maple nuts until the size of a pea. Melt the butter in the microwave, then allow to cool slightly.
- Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll into 15X24 inch rectangle. Spread all melted butter over the dough. Spread using a pastry brush.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture over the butter. Use your hands to spread it evenly throughout the entire dough. Sprinkle the crushed maple nuts on top. Roll dough from the bottom very tightly to get the most swirls in the roll.
- Measure out 12 rolls evenly using a ruler. Cut the rolls using a knife, pastry cutter, or unscented floss. If using a knife or pastry cutter, make sure to form rolls back into a circle if they get squished.
- Spray a 9X13 inch pan with baking non-stick spray. Place rolls in the pan and cover with a dish towel. Let it rise for 35 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F
- Pour heavy cream in the holes between the rolls. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The rolls are done baking when they are lightly golden brown on top. The heavy cream will keep the bottom of the rolls moist as it bakes. Place pan on a cooling rack
Maple Cream Cheese Icing
- As cinnamon rolls start to cool, start the icing. In a small bowl, use a hand mixer and beat the cream cheese for on medium for 1 minute. Add in the butter and beat for another minute. In a separate bowl, sift the powdered sugar.
- Add in the sifted powdered sugar. Mix on low until combined. Turn to medium-high and beat for 1 minute until smooth. Add vanilla, maple syrup, and milk. Mix on low until combined.
- Spread icing on top of the cinnamon rolls by using a spoon. Chop up the sweet maple nuts. Top the cinnamon rolls with the extra nuts. Serve immediately.