Sweet and sticky caramel pecan cinnamon rolls are guaranteed to be a crowd favourite!
Combine active dry yeast with warm water and sugar. The water needs to be at a temperature of around 100°F for the yeast to activate so it’s best to use a thermometer. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes. It should double in size and be foamy at the top.
Meanwhile, melt your coconut oil or butter over low heat. Ensure it's also not heated above 100°F.
If you're using quick rise yeast, add the yeast and sugar in with the flour and sea salt and stir to combine. In this instance you will need water between 120°F and 130°F. Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add 1 tablespoon of oil and the water.
In both instances, once everything is in the bowl, fold the dough gently to combine it with a spatula until it comes together to form a ball that is slightly sticky. Flour your surface and hands and place the dough on the surface. Press with your fingers and wrists and fold onto itself, kneading 10 to 15 times until the dough is slightly sticky.
Again, if you've used a different flour you might need to add up to 1 cup of extra flour if your dough is too sticky. However, only add a small amount at a time as you don't want to add too much flour or it will make the dough tough. If it starts sticking to you hands, lightly flour them and your surface as you knead.
Lightly oil the mixing bowl with 1 teaspoon of oil or vegan butter. It's fine if there are remnants in the bowl from mixing. Lightly flour the outside of the ball of dough and place it in the bowl. If you used active yeast, you will need to proof it for 1 to 2 hours in a warm dark place. Cover it with a damp towel and place somewhere like the top of the fridge or in the oven or microwave, away from any cool drafts. The dough will double in size.
If you used quick rise yeast, let the dough rest for 10 to 20 minutes with a damp towel over the bowl. Then proceed with making the filling and shaping the rolls.
Meanwhile, combine sugar and cinnamon for the filling and set aside.
Place the rolls in the greased pan leaving space between the rolls and the edge of the pan. Cover the pan in plastic wrap and a tea towel and allow the rolls to proof in a warm dark place for another 2 hours. I've also left them overnight in the warm dark place and they're fine. Bake them the following morning as soon as possible. NOTE: do not put these in the fridge to rise. While I have done it once and it worked, it seems to be an unreliable method.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes.
To make the caramel, combine the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk occasionally for 7 to 8 minutes as it thickens. Remove from the heat. It will thicken as it cools slightly.
When ready to serve the cinnamon rolls, drizzle the caramel on top of warm rolls and sprinkle with chopped pecans. Serve immediately.