FOR THE ROLLS
- 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
- ½ cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 – 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 ¼ teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE FILLING
- ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts, optional
- ¼ cup finely chopped pecans, optional
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened and divided (3 tablespoons set aside for the icing)
FOR THE ICING
- remaining 3 tablespoons of softened cream cheese
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar or glazing sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons milk, at room temperature
- To make the dough, place all of the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low until the dough begins to come together. You may want to speed up the process by first mixing all of the ingredients together by hand with a spatula before putting the bowl on the stand mixer. This will help the dough hook with its work. The dough will come together into a soft, though not too sticky dough ball after several minutes of hand mixing and stand mixer mixing.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and lightly dust the top of the dough with flour. Let rise for 20 minutes while you prepare the filling and icing.
- To make the filling: Combine the nuts in one bowl, and the butter, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon in another. Set aside.
- To make icing, whisk together the remaining cream cheese and sugar. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Place in a small bowl and refrigerate,
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 14 x 12 inch rectangle. Spread the softened cream cheese evenly over the surface and fold the bottom and top edges of the dough over 1 inch.
- Fold one short end into the center. Fold the other short end over the first, like you were folding a letter. Allow to rest, lightly covered, for 10 minutes.
- Carefully roll the dough into a 18 x 12 inch rectangle again, being careful not to tear the dough and reveal the cream cheese.
- Spread the cinnamon filling evenly over the dough, followed by the nuts.
- Beginning with one long edge, roll the dough into a log. Cut the log into 8 or 10 equal slices. Place the slices in a greased 9×13-inch baking pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next morning, remove the rolls and icing from the refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature for 30-40 minutes until the chill has come off the rolls and they’ve started to come to room temperature. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Bake the rolls for 30 to 35 minutes, until they’re golden brown and bubbling. Remove the rolls from the oven.
- Drizzle icing over the warm buns, and enjoy! Happy holidays, friends!