Dried figs, toasted walnuts, honey and cinnamon combine to produce a gorgeous filling for a fun take on the traditional cinnamon roll in these Fig Walnut Morning Rolls.
These Fig Walnut Morning Rolls make for the perfect weekend bake to serve your family. Drizzle with local honey when serving for an extra special touch of goodness.
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Cinnamon Rolls filled with Figs, Walnuts and Honey
This filling is glorious and such a wonderful alternative to traditional cinnamon rolls. Believe you me, there is nothing wrong with traditional cinnamon rolls! All I'm saying is, if you want to change it up, this is a fantastic recipe to try.
To make this filling, start by toasting walnuts in a 350ºF (177ºC) oven for 8-10 minutes. All you do is spread raw walnuts on a baking sheet and pop in the oven. That's all!
Just watch to make sure they don't burn. Every oven bakes differently, so start checking the walnuts around the 7-8 minute mark to be sure they're not getting too well done. While these are baking, you can also put together some self-rising flour pancakes for a fun variety at breakfast!
Allow the toasted walnuts to cool then crush them up in a ziplock bag with a wooden mallet or rolling pin. You likely won't use all the walnuts for the filling. This is a good thing because toasted walnuts are such a delightful topping for yogurt or ice cream!
With the walnuts all nice and toasty, next you'll process the dried figs, honey, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor until the mixture looks like the photo below.
How to Make Fig Walnut Morning Rolls
It's time to make this soft, delicious sweet dough. I won't go over the full recipe here since it's written out in detail in the recipe card below. However, I do want to make a few important points about preparing this dough that are important for success.
- Be sure your yeast is fresh, otherwise the dough will not rise, creating very dense fig walnut morning rolls. If you're unsure, I'd recommend buying new yeast from the grocery store just to be on the safe side
- When adding the yeast to the warmed milk/butter mixture, use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the milk. Anything over 110ºF (43ºC) will kill the yeast. Sometimes this takes patience to allow the milk to cool down enough. Sometimes it means sticking the milk mixture in the fridge for a few minutes to speed along the cooling down process!
- If you do not have a scale with which to weigh the flour, measure your flour using the spoon and level technique. Spoon the flour from its container/bag into your measuring cup, do not pack it down (ever), and level off the top using a knife or the back of the spoon. Measuring the flour correctly will produce fluffy fig walnut morning rolls rather than overly dense, dry ones
- While not required, chilling the dough overnight not only increases the flavor of the dough, but chilled dough is also much easier to work with when rolling out and filling
- Be sure the butter is very soft, but not melted, when spreading it onto the dough. Trying to spread cold butter onto dough will definitely result in holes and tears to the dough and frustration to the baker. To get it soft, leave it on the counter overnight and place it next to (not on top of) a warm stove. It should be spreadable but not melted
- Unfortunately, fresh figs, while gorgeous and so delicious when in season, will not work in this recipe. Fresh figs contain too much water/moisture which will result in soupy filling vs a thick and sticky filling made up of dried figs, toasted walnuts and honey
- To cut the fig walnut morning rolls, I recommend using a very sharp knife. This will allow you to easily slice through the dough without crushing it or causing it to become misshapen. Alternatively, you can use unflavored dental floss like I recommend in my cinnamon rolls recipe (there's even a video showing how to do this on that page!)
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Looking for more breakfast recipes? Give these a try:
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- 1 cup walnut halves or pieces
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 4 ¼ cup all-purpose flour divided
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 envelope instant yeast approx. 2 ¼ teaspoons
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup honey
- 1 cup roughly chopped dried figs
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter very soft
- 1 large egg lightly beaten mixed with 1 teaspoon water
- honey for drizzling optional
Toast the Walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177ºC). Place the walnuts onto a baking sheet in an even layer and toast in the oven 8-10 minutes until golden brown and fragrant, shaking the pan halfway through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool, place in a sealed ziplock bag and crush into tiny pieces with the flat side of a wooden mallet or rolling pin. Set aside. This step can be completed up to one week prior to using the walnuts in this recipe.
Make the Dough
- In a small saucepan, combine milk and butter. Heat on low and stir until the butter is melted and the milk is warm to the touch. If needed, let the milk mixture sit for a few minutes until it is warm but not hot. (It should be around 110°F / 43ºC).
- In a separate bowl, whisk together 4 cups flour, sugar and salt until combined. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment, add yeast and lukewarm milk mixture and stir by hand to combine. Add the flour mixture and eggs and mix on medium-low speed with the dough hook until combined. If the dough is sticking to the sides of the bowl, add the remaining flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough begins to form a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Continue kneading for 5 minutes on medium-low speed. Remove dough and gently form it into a ball with your hands. Place it in a bowl greased lightly with vegetable oil and cover with plastic wrap.
- Allow the dough to rise 1 - 1 ½ hours in a warm spot in your kitchen then place in the fridge at least 4 hours or up to 12 hours. The dough will eventually double in size in the fridge and it’ll be much easier to work with once it’s cold. Overnight refrigeration also helps develop the flavor of the dough. If you are in a rush, let the dough rise 1 - 1 ½ hours, skipping the chilling overnight piece. The dough may be a bit more difficult to work with when it’s not chilled, as it’ll be softer.
Make the Filling
- Just before you are ready to remove the dough from the fridge, make the filling by placing the figs, honey, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor. Process until the mixture forms a thick, sticky paste. Set aside.
- Butter a 9x13-inch rectangular baking pan. Set aside.
- Remove the chilled dough from the fridge. Flour a clean work surface and carefully dump the dough out. Roll out dough into a large rectangle until the dough is about ¼ inch thick and measures approximately 16” x 12”. Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough using a small offset spatula, getting as close to the edges as possible. Dollop the fig honey mixture evenly over the dough and spread into an even layer using the offset spatula. Lastly, scatter the crushed toasted walnuts evenly over the dough. You likely will not need all the walnuts to sufficiently cover the dough. Save them to sprinkle on your yogurt or ice cream.
- Roll the dough into a cylinder, beginning from the long end, pinching to seal the end to the cylinder once you've reached the end. Using a sharp knife, cut ½ inch off each end. You may discard these ends or squeeze them into the pan to bake with the rest of the rolls. Cut the dough in half in the middle then cut each half in half, repeating once more for each piece until you have 8 evenly sized rolls. Carefully place the rolls in the prepared pan in a 2x4 pattern. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise 40-50 minutes or until doubled in size, in a warm spot (no warmer than 80°F) in your kitchen. Placing the rolls next to a warm stove or in a cold oven with the light on works really well.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC).
Brush with Egg Wash
- Once doubled in size, brush the rolls lightly with beaten egg mixed with a teaspoon of water.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20-22 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top. Allow to cool slightly, then remove from the pan by running a knife around the edges, lifting out with a small offset spatula. Drizzle with honey when serving, if desired.
- These rolls are best when served warm the day they are made. They’ll keep up to 3 days in the fridge. Warm gently in a 350°F (177ºF) oven for 5-10 minutes before serving
- Unbaked rolls can be frozen after step 8 for up to one month. Defrost at room temperature for one hour before baking
- Rolls may be cut smaller to make more than 8. Please note, nutrition information is based on 8 large rolls
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Made these for Christmas morning and they turned out perfect! Such a delicious treat. For the fig filling I didn’t read the recipe closely and ended up mixing the butter directly into the fig paste (whoops) it all came out just fine!
So happy to hear that, Jen! And good to know it works well either way ☺️.