Welcome Autumn with Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls!

  • By Kim
  • 1 October, 2013
  • Comments Off


After a long, hot summer, the temperature is finally cooling off across the US. I finally feel like it’s Fall! I don’t know about you, but when it’s still over 70 degrees outside everyday, I can’t really enjoy my pumpkin bread properly. It’s too Autumn-y. In hot weather I want refreshing strawberry lemonade and ice cream sandwiches, not hearty spiced pumpkin bread. But as soon as scarf weather appears, I’m totally on-board the Fall bandwagon.

So, this is the time of year when all things turn to pumpkin. Remember Cinderella? It’s just like that but in reverse … the fairy godmother comes around and replaces everything with pumpkins. Glittery pumpkins for your mantle. Pumpkin spice in yo’ coffee drink. Pumpkins invading your vodka. (NO!) As much as I love pumpkin-flavored things, even I have to draw the line somewhere. (It’s next to the pumpkin vodka.) There are so many other go0d things that we can use to represent the taste of Fall. Apples? Butternut squash? Maybe we should try getting marketers to give the sweet potato a little love…

Anyway, it’s time to get back on track with this pumpkin thing. We need to put it in appropriate places where it belongs:  pastries and baked goods. Seriously. That’s where pumpkin goes, and it’s only going to taste better combined with things like brown sugar and butter. So let’s treat pumpkin right and consume it in it’s most glorious form. In my opinion that would be in the form of a gooey cinnamon roll. Unless you absolutely hate cinnamon, I don’t know anyone who could resist a fresh cinnamon roll. There is something about the combination of soft bread, and sticky cinnamon sugar that appeals to our baser instincts of carbs, sugar and fats. MMMMMMM! Cinnabon’s knows exactly what I’m talking about. (Sup’ baby.)


Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
From: The Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 16 to 18 buns

6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, to be divided
1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk, warmed (but not over 116 degrees)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from 1 .25-ounce or 7 gram envelope yeast)
3 1/2 cups (440 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
1/4 cup (packed) (50 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (6 grams) table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cups (160 grams) pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
1 large egg
Oil for coating rising bowl

3/4 cup (packed, 145 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons (5 grams) ground cinnamon

4 ounces (115 grams) cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk or buttermilk
2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
Few drops vanilla extract (optional)

Make your dough: Melt your butter in a small saucepan. (Deb at SK recommends browning the butter for extra flavoring). Once the butter has melted, keep cooking it over medium heat for a few additional minutes. It will become hissy and sizzle a lot, then take on a nutty flavor as golden bits form at the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Combine your warmed milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. After five to seven minutes, it should be a bit foamy.

In the bottom of the bowl of an electric mixer combine flour, sugars, salt and spices. Add just 1/4 cup (or two-thirds of; leave the rest for assembly) of your melted/browned butter and stir to combine. Add yeast-milk mixture, pumpkin and egg and mix combined. Switch mixer to a dough hook and run it for 5 minutes on low.

Scrape mixture into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 1 hour in a draft-free place; the dough should double in size.

While the dough is rising, line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans (8-inch round should work too, as does an 8-inch square) with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan and the paper.

Assemble buns: Scoop dough onto a very well floured surface and flour the top of it well. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to an approximately 16×11-inch rectangle. Brush reserved melted/browned butter over dough. Stir together remaining filling ingredients and sprinkle mixture evenly over dough. Starting on a longer side, roll the dough into a tight spiral. It’s going to make a mess because the dough is soft and some stuff spills off the ends.

Here’s how to cut cinnamon rolls without squishing their pretty spirals: With a sharp serrated knife, using absolutely no pressure whatsoever (only the weight of the blade should land on the dough) gently saw your log with a back-forth motion into approximately 1-inch sections. When a soft dough like this is rolled, it tends to grow longer, which means that you’ll have the option to either make more buns (say, 18 instead of 16) or just cut them a little larger (in generous inches).

Divide buns between two prepared pans. You can sprinkle any sugar that fell off onto the counter over them. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes.

If you’re doing this ahead of time, you can now put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, leave them out for an hour to warm up and finish rising.

15 minutes before you’re ready to bake them, heat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, you can make the glaze. Beat your cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Drizzle in milk until you get the consistency you’re looking for, either thick enough to ice or thin enough to drizzle.

Finish your buns: Remove the plastic and bake buns for 25 minutes, until puffed and golden and the aroma is like a snickerdoodle. Transfer pans to wire cooling racks and drizzle/schmear with cream cheese glaze, then have at them.


Pumpkin Patch image from Kam’s World, Flickr

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls image from Deb Perelman, Smitten Kitchen

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