In true Ohio fashion, it went from beautiful fall to “WHY IS IT SNOWING ALREADY?” in the course of about a week. No major snowfall or anything, but I was still upset to have to brush even a little snow off my car before work in the morning. This is supposed to be prime hoodie and sweater weather, not break out the thick winter scarf and reluctantly turn on the heat time. Luckily we’re smack in the middle of warm cinnamon spice season, so it’s perfectly acceptable to warm myself up from the inside out.
I’ve made pumpkin cinnamon rolls before. And they were quite easy and delicious. For the past month, those rolls have been popping up all over my Pinterest, as more and more people seek out all things pumpkin. But looking at that picture day after day… Well, it started to get to me. In the back of my mind I kept thinking, “good Lord that’s some terrible photography. I’ve got to remake those.”
So here you go. A new recipe, merely because I’m vain. And embarrassed at my lack of skills.
They’re soft and tender, perfectly spiced, and not overly pumpkin-y, so even pumpkin haters can enjoy them.
They take some time to prep and proof (about 3 hours total time), so plan ahead if you want to serve them for breakfast or brunch. To save yourself a lot of early morning kitchen stress, prepare them, following the recipe until the second rise, the night before, then cover and refrigerate the rolls in the pan overnight. The next morning, about 2 hours before you want to serve them, remove them from the fridge and allow them to finish their second rise in a warm place, for about an hour, before baking them. Allow them to cool slightly, ice them up, and be the hero of breakfast.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
From Inspired by Charm
Makes about 12 rolls
¼ ounce package yeast
½ cup warm water (about 110F)
½ cup milk
¼ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
4 to 5 cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, dissolve yeast in warm water, about 5 minutes; set aside.
2. While yeast is dissolving, heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbles start to form around the edges and milk is warm to the touch; set aside to cool slightly.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine milk, granulated sugar, melted butter, pumpkin puree, salt, spices, and egg. Whisk together until well combined. Fit mixer with dough hook attachment. With mixer on low, add 2 cups of flour, mixing until combined. Add yeast mixture, mixing until incorporated. Add 2 remaining cups of flour and mix until combined. Raise mixer speed to medium and knead 5 minutes, until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, but is still slightly sticky to the touch. Add additional flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, if necessary to reach right consistency.
4. Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the bowl and turn to coat with the cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.
5. While dough is rising, make filling: In a small bowl, mix together granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined; set aside. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
6. When dough has doubled in size, pull edges away from the sides of the bowl to deflate. (Or go ahead and punch it down. You know you want to.) Divide dough in half; setting half aside, covered in plastic wrap to keep from drying out. On a floured work surface, roll the other half of the dough out into a 12X8 inch rectangle. Spread 4 tablespoons of butter over the dough in an even layer. Sprinkle half of the filling mixture evenly over the butter.
7. Starting with the 12-inch side, roll dough up, pinching the edge to seal. Using a serrated knife, cut roll into six 2 inch pieces. Place pieces, cut side down into prepared baking pan, leaving about ¾-inch of room in between each piece. Repeat with remaining half of dough.* Allow dough to rise in pan in a warm place until doubled in size once more, about 45 minutes more.
8. Preheat oven to 350F. Once the rolls have doubled in size, bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before icing.
*Note: I didn't do a very good job at measuring while I was rolling out and ended up with 15 rolls instead of 12. I put the remaining rolls in a loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray rather than squishing them into the same pan so they all had room to rise.
Maple Cream Cheese Icing
From Inspired by Charm
Makes enough to ice 1 batch of cinnamon rolls
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon maple extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon heavy cream (optional)
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix cream cheese and butter until well combined. Add vanilla extract, maple extract, and salt, mixing until combined. Add confectioners’ sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. If icing is too thick, add a tablespoon of heavy cream and beat until icing reaches desired consistency. Spread icing generously over slightly cooled rolls. Serve rolls warm or at room temperature.