Servings: Serves 12
Ingredients 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast1/4 cup sugar1/4 cup warm water (105° to 115°)3/4 cup whole milk2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter1 large egg3 3/4 to 4 cups all-purpose flour1/2 teaspoon salt3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter , softened1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar1 tablespoon brown sugar1 tablespoon ground cinnamon3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts , optional4 ounces cream cheese , softened1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the sugar over the warm water in a large mixing bowl; let stand until foamy on top, 5 to 7 minutes. In a small bowl, microwave the milk and butter until warm, 40 to 50 seconds (105° to 115°). Add the milk and butter mixture, the remaining sugar, and the egg to the mixing bowl. Add the flour, about 1 cup at a time (adding the last 1/4 cup flour if necessary), and salt and mix (5 minutes if using a dough hook, 10 minutes if kneading by hand) until firm but soft. The dough should gently spring back when poked. Do not over knead. Place the dough in a buttered bowl; cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts until fluffy. On a lightly floured surface, press or roll the dough into a rectangle, about 17"x14". Spread the filling evenly to all edges, leaving a 1/2-inch border along one of the long edges of the dough. Roll up the filling-covered dough, starting with the side opposite the edge with the border. When almost finished rolling, slightly dampen the uncovered edge with water; crimp firmly to seal. (Roll will stretch to 22"x3".) Using a serrated knife, cut crosswise into 12 thick slices.
Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a large jellyroll pan with parchment paper. Transfer the buns to the pan, spacing evenly. Cover lightly with a towel and let stand 30 to 45 minutes, until buns are slightly puffed (not doubled). Bake 25 minutes or until golden.
In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Remove buns from the oven and allow to cool just 5 minutes, then frost.