Last year we started a Thanksgiving morning tradition. We eat a Pomegranate.

It just so happened that we had one lying on the counter as Gabe and I were discussing traditions we want to start with our young family. Suddenly a simple and delicious tradition was born.

Last night Gabe ran to the store to grab our annual Pomegranate and this morning the boys had devoured the ruby jewels before Gabe was out of bed.

This year I started another tradition. Cranberry Pecan Rolls. With the help of flour, yeast and water I was well on my way to creating an aromatic welcome to this day devoted to thanks and eating.

I started the dough last night and in the morning all I had to do was roll, stuff and bake.


This is one sweet tradition that is sure to last – besides, it helps stretch your stomach for the big meal waiting later in the day.

Cranberry Pecan Rolls

These rolls are a seasonal sibling to the traditional cinnamon roll. I love the tartness from the cranberries – but of course the best part is the cream cheese frosting – tangy and not too sweet. Perfect.

1 recipe sweet bread dough (I use Rhulman’s Ratio for bread – 3 cups water, 5 cups flour, salt, little sugar and yeast. I also added 3 tbl melted butter).

1 1/2 cups toasted pecans

2 cups dried cranberries

1 tsp vanilla

juice and zest from one orange

1 stick butter, softened

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

I like to make the dough the night before and give it time to slowly proof in the fridge. In the morning I take it out 30 minutes before I plan to roll it so it has a chance for the chill to subside.

Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/2″ thick.

In a small bowl combine the softened butter, dark brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Spread this mixture all over the dough. Then sprinkle with the toasted pecans.

In another small bowl combine the dried cranberries, vanilla, juice and zest. Microwave for one minute. Stir and let the cranberries soak up all those wonderful flavors.

Sprinkle the cranberries over the dough.

Tightly roll up the dough starting from the bottom. Slice 1″ round and place in a greased baking dish. Do not overcrowd as they will grow quite a bit. Cover the rolls with a clean cloth and let rise for 30 minutes while you pre-heat the oven to 350*.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until light golden in color. Remove from the oven and let cool while you make the frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. Cream Cheese (softened)

1 tbl. Sour Cream

4 oz. Butter (softened)

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 tsp Vanilla

1/2 vanilla bean (optional but highly recommended)

1 cup Powdered Sugar

Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth. To avoid lumps make sure the butter and cream cheese are very soft.

Let the rolls cool slightly before slathering on the frosting.



8 Responses to “Cranberry Pecan Rolls”

  1. Sara

    what a fun tradition. I want to be one of those mom’s who have a recipe my kids remember…. seems to me you’ll have a whole arsenal for your boys! Hope you had a nice holiday ~

  2. D. @ Outside Oslo

    Happy (belated) Thanksgiving. All those special little memories we create are something extraordinary to be thankful for. Last year my grandma and I started a tradition of making lefse–a Norwegian flatbread often served with butter and sugar. In the past, the annual holiday tradition was hers, I just ate the delicious treats. But she’s passing her skills, techniques, and recipe down to me, and it’s so special to be creating those memories with her.

  3. Katy

    I love unique family traditions, and these cranberry pecan rolls look like quite a delicious one. I’ll have to give the recipe a try, maybe over Christmas. Thanks Ashley!

  4. grace

    i haven’t tried a touch of sour cream in my cream cheese frosting, but i like its potential! these are gorgeous rolls, and not just because of the lovely cranberries. nicely done!


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