I think working with yeast is just one of those things that start to go more smoothly with practice. So don’t let the daunting prospect of yeast deter you! Just think of it as a learning experience. Also a less-than-perfection-can-still-be-exceptional experience. A spicy cinnamon, warm, soft dough, melty cream cheese frosting experience. An “mmm, delicious” experience.
I think you can tell what a hit these Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls were by how few were left by the time we’d cleared the breakfast table.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls Before:
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls After:
Unlike some other “Pumpkin Spice” cinnamon roll recipes, the pumpkin flavor in these Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll is not shy – and thank goodness. The pumpkin is stirred right into the dough, resulting in a undeniably pumpkin-y roll, set off by the classic cinnamon roll accoutrements of a generous cinnamon sugar filling and gooey cream cheese frosting. The stickier your hands and face are after you’re done downing your second roll, the better.
I think a lot of people are intimidated by homemade cinnamon rolls, due to the whole yeasting/rising thing and the general time commitment. If these were regular old cinnamon rolls, I’d say save yourself the trouble and just go Pillsbury. But you’re not going to find the unique flavor of these Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls in any grocery store just-bake-and-serve package. In this case, the trouble and time investment is more than worth it, yeasting disasters included. I promise.
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup whole milk, warmed
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 2/3 cups pumpkin puree
- 1 large egg
- Oil for coating rising bowl
- 3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon table salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- Melt your butter in a saucepan, browning if that's your jam. 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. If it’s not, your yeast might be old. Start over with a new packet.
- 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 and 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; it should just about double. While it is rising, line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan and the paper.
- 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. It will look like a lot. Just go with it.
- Starting on a longer side, roll the dough into a tight spiral. Don't worry if it makes a mess. Just keep rolling.
- 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.
- 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.
- 15 minutes before you’re ready to bake them, heat the oven to 350°F.
- 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 smear with cream cheese glaze, then dig in!!