I, like the seeming rest of the internet, have been pulled into the fall pumpkin baking craze.  As I was baking these, my sister starting naming off the pumpkin-based concoctions I’ve made since the weather cooled off and the results laughingly could not be counted on two hands… in the case of extremes, this has been a very tasty one to endure.

While some of the results were good enough to keep in my repertoire for future fall seasons, this recipe will become a year-round staple.  I seriously have never tasted a cinnamon roll I loved more (including these) and although I can’t wait to experiment with other seasonal flavors, I genuinely would eat these all.year.long.  Pumpkin in June? One bite and you will agree… you bet.

Start with a package of instant or rapid rise yeast {may also be called bread machine yeast}…

… and some bread flour.  Bread flour has more gluten (which gives elasticity to dough) than all-purpose, therefore helping your baked goods rise better and retain the desired shape and structure.  All you need to know is more “structure” = prettier cinnamon rolls.

Start your dough by heating some milk and butter over medium heat until the butter has just melted. {the milk will be warm to the touch, but not hot}… Remove from heat and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the pumpkin, sugar, and salt.  Mix for a few seconds to combine, then add the melted butter/milk mixture to the bowl and blend until just combined.  Next add the egg and yeast to the bowl, beating after each addition.

Stir together both your flours in a separate bowl.  Add half the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and beat {still using the paddle attachment} for 5 minutes, stopping the mixer a few times to scrape down the sides.  Next add the remaining flour and beat for 2 more minutes {dough will be super soft and sticky!}

Dump the dough into a lightly greased bowl {grease the top of the dough, too} and cover with a layer of plastic wrap directly touching the dough then a clean kitchen towel covering the whole bowl.

Leave the covered dough in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about one hour.

While the dough rises, make your filling: stir together brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.  Yes, that’s all there is to it… you could also add some chopped pecans in this little combo if your heart desires, but seriously, why mess with perfection?

Now it’s time for the “fun” part… Punch down your dough inside the bowl.  It will still be very soft and sticky… to combat this, use a wooden spoon to stir in all-purpose flour a bit at a time until the dough becomes cohesive and workable.

This took me about 1/3 cup of additional flour, but don’t be afraid to add as much as you need!  This is a problem I’ve had with making cinnamon rolls in the past- I was always afraid to add any drop of flour over what the recipe called for and usually ended up with a sticky mess… this dough is much less finicky and fragile than others, so don’t worry about babying it! Bottom line: if you can roll it into a rectangle, your flour ratio = perfecto.

In effort to keep the wreckage of my kitchen to a minimum, I floured a silpat on top of a cookie sheet and used that to roll out the dough… and it actually worked great and was a perfect guideline for how big to make the dough.  #ingenuity

After you’ve rolled the dough, slather on some melted butter… {and although I hate to keep harping on this flour thing, check for sticky edges now, too  If the edge is sticky, add flour…. you will thank me once you start the next step.}

Sprinkle the cinnamon/brown sugar filling evenly over the dough, leaving atleast a 1″ margin on each of the long sides.

Also waxing wise from previous cinnamon roll attempts, this margin is important for several reasons: aesthetics {the uniform spiral shape} and functionality {if you don’t leave an empty edge, the filling will come sloshing out the edges and infuriate even the most placid of bakers}

Roll the dough tightly and evenly into a long tube, starting with the long side of the rectangle.

I like the score my dough with the knife before cutting it into rolls… Since I have a tendency to get overzealous during this process, this helps eliminate the huge to tiny size gradient that I am prone to create.

After placing the rolls in your greased dish, cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise again, this time around 30 to 45 minutes.  After the rolls are doubled, bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown and cooked through.  {I also suggest covering the entire dish with tin foil after the first 10 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning}

While the rolls are doing their thing, make the obvious best part of this dish: the warm caramel frosting.  Start by melting some butter over medium heat.  Once the butter has fully melted, whisk in the brown sugar and milk, cooking over medium heat for 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt.

Pour the warm mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer and allow to cool briefly.  After 10 minutes, pour in the powdered sugar and blend until homogenous.

After the rolls are out of the oven, let them cool for 5 minutes, then drench them in the frosting… seriously, drench them.  There is no technique here, just pour all the frosting over the rolls and swirl the pan ensuring no nook or cranny goes un-sugared. Let the rolls rest for 5 excruciating more minutes.

The moment of truth: the baking is over, the waiting is over….. finally time to eat some dang cinnamon rolls.

Seriously, one bite and all the effort you put into making these will be eliminated from view… If I were making these to serve for breakfast, I would make the dough and do every step except baking the night before- that way these can go from oven to mouth in well under an hour.

With Thanksgiving coming up, what a perfect time to try these, especially if you’ve never made cinnamon rolls from scratch.  Pour yourself a giant mug of coffee, recruit a partner, and make a fun morning out of it… all while being thankful Holland didn’t have these, otherwise the Pilgrim’s would never have left.  Bon appetit!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Warm Caramel Frosting

for dough
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup canned pumpkin
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 package instant (rapid rise) yeast
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup bread flour

for filling
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

for frosting
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 Tablespoons milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- dash salt
- ½ cup powdered sugar

In a small saucepan, heat butter and milk over medium heat until just warm and the butter is just melted.  Remove from heat and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine pumpkin, sugar and salt.  Add in the milk mixture and beat with the paddle attachment until just combined.  Next add the egg and yeast, beating after each addition.

In a separate bowl, stir together the two flours.  Add half the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture.  Beat the mixture on low (still using the paddle attachment) for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides occasionally. Add the remaining flour and beat for 2 more minutes (dough will be very soft and sticky).  Turn the dough into a lightly greased bowl, then also grease the surface of the dough lightly {I used cooking spray for this}.  Cover with plastic wrap directly touching the surface of the dough then a clean kitchen towel over the entire bowl.  Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.

Once doubled, punch the dough down inside the bowl.  Dough will still be very sticky.  Using a wooden spoon, stir in additional all-purpose flour (approximately one-third cup) gradually until a soft, workable dough forms.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkle another dusting of flour on top.  Roll dough into a large rectangle, about 12-by-10 inches, touching up any “sticky” areas on the top or sides with a little flour.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon.  Pour the melted butter on top of the rolled dough, leaving a 1″ margin on each of the long sides.  Next sprinkle on the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture, also adhering to the 1″ margins.  Let the dough rest for 5 minutes before rolling.

Roll the mixture up jelly roll style, beginning with the long side of dough.  With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 slices. {Be sure to slice in a smooth, unidirectional way- avoid cutting or chopping at the dough!}  Place the rolls in a greased 9×13 dish.  Cover with a dish towel and let the dough rise again, this time about 45 minutes.  Bake rolls at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes until the top is golden, covering with tin foil after the first 10 minutes of baking to prevent excessive browning.

While the rolls are baking, make the frosting.  In a small saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat until melted.  Stir in milk and brown sugar and cook over medium heat for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer to cool.  After about 10 minutes, stir in the powdered sugar and beat with the mixer until well blended.

Remove rolls from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  While still in the pan, pour the frosting over the warm rolls, letting the frosting set for 5 minutes before serving.

{makes 12 cinnamon rolls}

About these ads