1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing bowls and pans
1 cup half and half
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast*
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg plus 1 yolk, beaten
3 cups all-purpose flour, as needed
FOR THE PECAN TOPPING
3/4 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup pecans, chopped
FOR THE CINNAMON FILLING
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon, ground
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
To make the dough, in a small saucepan over low heat, melt 1/2 cup butter.
Pour in half and half and granulated sugar, stirring until dissolved.
Remove from heat, pour into a stand up mixer bowl, and cool slightly to lukewarm. *Make note of your yeast. If you have active dry yeast, stir it into the liquid now and allow to proof for 10 minutes. If you have instant yeast, stir it into the liquid, but you do not have to activate.
Stir in the salt and beaten egg and yolk. Using the dough hook, add flour, 1 cup at a time, until a sticky dough forms.
Continue to allow the mixer to knead the dough until smooth.
While the dough is kneading, grease a large bowl with butter or cooking spray.
Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap, move to a warm place, and allow to rise until doubled in size; about 2 hours.
While the dough is rising, grease two 9-inch circular cake pans with butter or cooking spray. Set aside.
To prepare the pecan topping, in a small saucepan, melt 3/4 cup butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup.
Stir in chopped pecans and remove from heat.
Divide the mixture in half and spread it into the bottom of each cake pan. Set aside.
After the dough has risen, punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
Roll dough into a 15x12-inch rectangle.
Prepare the cinnamon filling by mixing together 1 cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon in a small bowl.
Brush melted butter all over the dough. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Roll up the dough along the 15-inch side, forming a log.
Slice the log into 1-inch slices, making 18 rolls.
Arrange rolls into the cake pans, 1 roll in the center of each pan and 8 rolls along the outer edge. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for an additional 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Remove plastic wrap from the cake pans. Bake cinnamon rolls for about 35 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Turn the rolls out of the pans onto a serving platter. Serve warm.