‘Tis the season for pumpkin! Well, I think October is peak pumpkin season (what with the annual debut of pumpkin spice EVERYTHING), but November is still fall enough and not quite winter enough to get away with some more pumpkin baking. Don’t worry, darling – I’ve got you covered with these fine pumpkin cinnamon rolls!
Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from the always amazing smitten kitchen.
Yield: Roughly 18 rolls (give or take a couple – see small smooshed one in main photo)
Notes: You can play with the spices for both the dough and the filling. I’m in love with all things cardamom, so keep that in mind when considering my proportions. Same goes for molasses.
If you’re making the dough one day ahead (which you can! see notes within the recipe), you’ll still need up to two hours of prep and rising time on day one.
You’ll need a rolling pin and at least two cake pans (I used two round 9”, but you could get away with two round 8” or square 8”).
- 3 ½ cups flour (plus up to ½ cup extra for rolling)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp cardamom
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup warmed milk
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
- ⅔ cup pumpkin purée
- 1 large egg
- A dash of your preferred unflavoured oil
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cardamom
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- drizzle of molasses (roughly 1 ½ Tbsp)
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
- ½ cup cream cheese at room temperature
- 2 cups confectioner’s (icing) sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Feel free to brown the butter for extra nutty flavour (this means keep it over the heat after it melts until it starts to hiss, darken in colour, and tiny solids form at the bottom. Careful! It is easy to burn once it starts browning, so don’t leave it on the heat once you’re done).
- Combine the 1 tsp sugar with the gently warmed milk (it should not be warmer than 116°F) until sugar is dissolved. I normally put a finger in to test – if it’s too hot for your finger, it’s too hot for the yeast. If it’s colder than your finger, it’s not warm enough.
- Sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. It should start frothing. If not, either: your milk is too cold, too hot, or your yeast has expired and is no longer active. Yeast normally lasts up to six months in an airtight container in the fridge after you first open it.
- Once the yeast begins to get frothy, give it a little mix.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin purée and egg.
- While the yeast is doing its thing, in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, combine the dry dough ingredients. Give them a whisk to evenly incorporate.
- Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer (or regular beater attachment on a hand mixer), set the speed to slow and pour in the melted butter to incorporate, followed by the milk/yeast mixture, and finally the pumpkin purée/egg mixture.
- Switch to the dough hook and mix on low for about 5 minutes.
- While the mixer is running, lightly coat a large bowl in unflavoured oil (like canola, avocado, grapeseed, etc.).
- Dump the dough into the prepared oil bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rest and rise for at least one hour, until it roughly doubles in size.
- While the dough rises, line your baking pans with parchment paper. I used two round 9” cake pans. Alternatively you could use two square 8” cake pans, or even try two round 8” cake pans. Feel free to get creative, just remember you’ll need to squeeze in about 18 cinnamon rolls.
- Melt the butter. Feel free to brown it for extra flavour! Keep this separate until the dough is prepared (next set of instructions).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars and spices.
- Set aside until next section!
- Remove the dough from the oiled bowl and place on a well-floured surface.
- Sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour. If your rolling pin is wood, then rub it with flour.
- Roll out the dough into a rectangle roughly 16×11”.
- Brush the dough with the melted butter.
- Sprinkle the filling evenly all over the dough.
- Lightly drizzle the filling with molasses.
- Tightly roll up the dough starting at one of the longer sides. Don’t worry about filling escaping out the sides, you can use this later.
- Using a serrated bread knife, gently cut the roll into roughly 1” pieces. Knife tip: don’t press down when cutting, gently saw back and forth using only the weight of the knife to cut through the dough. This will help maintain the shape of your rolls.
- Arrange the rolls evenly between your pans. Leave some space between them as they will rise again and expand. I left at least 1” between each roll.
- Sprinkle any extra filling on top of the buns.
- Cover the pans tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 45 minutes to one hour.
- If you’re making these a day ahead, you can put the rolls into the fridge for the night. Warm them up to room temperature and let them rise for up to 45 minutes when you’re ready to bake them.
- During the last 20 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Remove plastic wrap and bake buns for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool in pan for at least 10 minutes before eating. I left mine in the pans until ready to serve a couple hours later, and they were great (just keep in mind the sugar from the buns sticking to the sides of the pan the longer they cool).
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl and using a hand mixer, cream the cream cheese on medium high until light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes.
- Add in the vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.
- Add the confectioner’s sugar, one cup at a time, until evenly incorporated.
- You’re ready to frost the rolls! I kept my frosting separate so people could add as much (or little) as they want. The frosting should keep for about a week in an airtight container in the fridge.