Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Just the title is enough, really, but then LOOK at that photo.  Who doesn’t want to enjoy these decadent, fall sweet warm gooey breakfast treats?  Growing up, my sister and I made a lot of these, out of a can, and even though I will always treasure those memories, nothing is better than the real thing- ever.  Cinnamon is one of those smells that brings fall and winter to a beautiful place…  it’s HOME, it’s love and it’s aroma baking something delicious in the oven is enough to bring everyone to the table eager to see what you’ve created.  The pumpkin is very subtle and has just enough hint of flavor to know these aren’t ordinary but extraordinary.  These rolls are made from simple pantry ingredients, and made the night before, they are very easy to make.  This is the second time this kitchen has made them, the first time they turned out just a bit drier then I would prefer, so this time I’ve tweaked the recipe to make them gooey ooey tender light and perfect.  I found the dough very easy to work with, I didn’t even need a rolling pin this time, the dough was so tender and pliable that I just stretched it to the size needed on a very well floured surface.  Here’s the thing- this isn’t going to be a quick recipe, it takes time to rise and time to assembled and more time to rise, but it IS easy and the ingredients are easy so do not be intimidated.  I made these last night and when indicated, stored them in the fridge to make today AND tomorrow for our sleepover guests!  It serves 10 people total, or 6-8 very hungry people… heheheehee  Now, go bake!!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Baked Elements

Dough
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, to be divided
2/3 cup whole milk, warmed (but not over 116 degrees)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from 1 .25-ounce or 7 gram envelope yeast)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
1/4 cup (packed) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cups pumpkin puree, canned
1 large egg
Butter for coating rising bowl

Filling
3/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Glaze
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make your dough: Melt your butter in a little saucepan, lightly brown it for extra flavor: when the butter has melted, keep cooking it over medium heat for a few additional minutes. It will become hissy and sizzle a lot, then take on a nutty flavor as golden bits form at the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and pour in to a clean small bowl- 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, you might have some bad yeast and should start again with a newer packet.

In the bottom of the bowl of an electric mixer combine flour, sugars, salt and spices. Add just 1/4 cup of your browned butter and stir to combine. Add yeast-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 buttered 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 (8-inch round should work too, as does an 8-inch square) with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan and the paper.

Assemble buns: 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. Starting on a longer side, roll the dough into a tight spiral. It’s going to make a mess because the dough is crazy soft and some stuff spills off the ends; don’t sweat it. It will all be delicious in the end.

Here’s how to cut cinnamon rolls without squishing their pretty spirals: 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.

15 minutes before you’re ready to bake them, heat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, you can make the glaze. 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.

Finish your buns: Remove the plastic and bake buns for 25 minutes, until puffed and golden and the aroma is intoxicating transfer pans to wire cooling racks and drizzle/schmear with cream cheese glaze, and ENJOY every sticky finger licking bite.

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