Thursday, November 5, 2015

fall cinnamon rolls

I mean, can anyone really ingest enough pumpkin in the fall? Pumpkin muffins, pumpkin spice chai, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin cookies...I feel as though I'm not really enjoying fall unless I have inhaled a daily consumption of some pumpkin-type food.
So when I came across the recipe for these pumpkin cinnamon rolls with cream cheese I had a feeling that this would become another fall favorite, and boy was I right!
The cinnamon/butter/sugar filling slightly caramelizes while baking, so when you're eating the fresh-from-the-oven cinnamon roll, the roll itself is soft and chewy while the filling is a bit crispy. And that cream cheese tang beautifully complements pumpkin every time. It's like eating the whole season in one (not so) perfectly shaped pinwheel.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Glaze
Recipe barely adapted from here
Makes 20-24 cinnamon rolls

Recipe Notes-
- I didn’t make too many alterations with this recipe, just cut down the sugar in the dough from ¼ cup down to 2 tablespoons, since there’s also sugar in the filling and glaze. I also used a whole stick of butter in the filling, instead of just 6 tablespoons because…it’s butter.
- Plain, un-waxed dental floss is a favorite for slicing (not smooshing) the rolls in their dough form. If you’re unable to find some floss (or like me, bought it but now cannot remember where you put it!) then using a serrated knife is fine, as long as you don’t press down while slicing…just gently saw back and forth with the knife and you’ll get a clean cut.
- In step 7 I detail how to freeze the rolls and also how to make overnight rolls.

For the dough:
3 ¼ Cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
2 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice
2 ¼ tsp. instant dry yeast (one ¼ -ounce packet)
½ Cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
½ Cup buttermilk
½ Cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg, lightly whisked
½ tsp. salt

For the filling:
1 stick (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Cup light brown sugar
3 Tbs. cinnamon

For the Cream Cheese Glaze:
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 Cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 to 4 Tbs. heavy cream or half-and-half

For the dough:
1. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook add the flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and yeast.
2. In a microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, and then add the buttermilk and pumpkin. Whisk the mixture until smooth and still warm (depending on your yeast, some will require warmer temperatures. Heat the mixture according to the manufacturer's recommendations on the packaging. Use a digital thermometer to take the temperature, but if you don’t have one just make sure the mixture isn’t too hot.
3. Add the warmed mixture to the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Add whisked egg and the salt and turn the mixer on low speed, letting the dough knead for 7 to 10 minutes (if the dough is too wet, add a bit more flour. If it’s too dry, add a bit of buttermilk. The dough should be sticky though).
4. Once the dough is kneaded, spray a large bowl with cooking spray, place the dough in the bowl and flip it over once so it's lightly oiled on both top and bottom. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place bowl in a warm, draft-free place to rise for about 2 to 2 ½ hours, or doubled in size (My oven has a “proofing” setting so I can set it for 85° F and it’s the perfect temperature to let the dough rise).
5. After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and place it on a floured work surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough roughly into a 26x13” rectangle.
6. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the filling together: the softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Using an off-set spatula will help spread the filling evenly all over the dough (leave about a ½-inch of the border bare). 
7. Once the filling is spread out, start to roll up the dough by starting with the long side and tightly winding it up into a long log, with the seam side down. Use a knife to make hash marks along the dough, about 1 ½-inches apart should yield 20 to 24 rolls. Use a serrated knife to gently cut through the hash marks (see Recipe Note above, or use un-waxed plain dental floss). Place the rolls in a greased 9x13-inch pan, it’s ok if they’re crowded (I only wanted to make a half batch so I froze my rolls at this point and covered them tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. When I’m ready to bake them I’ll let them thaw in the fridge the night before and then rise until doubled, following the rest of the recipe). If you want to make overnight rolls, follow all the steps through 7, just don’t let the rolls rise after they’ve been sliced. Instead, cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 16 hours. Before baking, let the rolls rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
8. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to let rise for one hour, or until doubled in size
9. In a preheated oven at 375°F bake the rolls for 15 to 17 minutes, or until lightly golden on top (they’re better slightly under baked).
10. While the rolls are baking make the cream cheese glaze. In a medium-size bowl use either a whisk or a hand mixer to mix the cream cheese, sifted confectioners’ sugar and cream until smooth. The glaze should be a pourable consistency, if it’s too thick add a teaspoon more of cream at a time.
11. Pour the glaze over the warm rolls and spread with an offset spatula until all the rolls are covered evenly with the glaze. Serve immediately and are best when warm and fresh. Rolls will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature (the refrigerator will dry them out, but reheated for 7 seconds in the microwave does wonders for them).

You might also like: 
Baked Pumpkin Cheesecake French Toast 
Cinnamon Apple Pecan Twist Bread
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with Coconut Pecan Topping
Pumpkin Cheesecake Turnovers


  1. Another thing that makes this great is that anything with glaze is good. Looks delicious!