Fat Kid Friday: Maple-Glazed Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
I apologize that this is what you will see on a Friday morning, when you almost certainly will not have access to your own kitchen to give this recipe a whirl.
But I had to make these rolls. It’s October, and the cooler weather tantalizes us each morning with the promise of fall… I was pulled to the can of pumpkin in my cupboard by some mystical, invisible force… hearing it’s squash-like siren call…
Well, that can of pumpkin will taunt me no longer, because it’s in these rolls. And the rolls in the freezer. And the rolls in my tummy.
I couldn’t have parted with it to a recipe less fabulous than this one… although it is a distinct possibility that pumpkin monkey bread is in The Fat Kid’s future.
Much as I love pumpkin pie, and pumpkin muffins, and even pumpkin cookies, traditional pumpkin recipes weren’t cutting it in my orange daydreams. I wanted something with all those flavors, but a totally different texture. Something warm that wasn’t a pudding. Something breakfast worthy.
And then it hit me. Pumpkin would be the perfect addition to cinnamon rolls! I couldn’t get into the kitchen fast enough.
This recipe is adapted from the one I found on the King Arthur website because I don’t keep things like dry milk in my pantry. Truth be told, I didn’t even have wet milk on hand today, so I decided to pinch-hit with the greek yogurt. And may I just say… yum! It adds a little bit of tang to the dough that is completely delightful. Feel free to use regular ol’ milk, of course– start with the two tablespoons and go from there. It’s easier to add milk than remove it!
One of the things I love about this recipe is that it’s “dump & mix”– seriously. It’s surprisingly unfussy for a yeast recipe. Just be sure to separate the yeast and the salt by a layer of flour so that you don’t kill the yeast before it has a chance to make its little CO2 bubbles. I put in all the wet ingredients, sprinkled the yeast over those, added 3 cups of the flour to start, and then added the salt and spices.
Once I got mixing I added the last 1 1/4 cups of flour, about 1/2 cup at a time. When properly mixed this dough will be smooth and just slightly sticky (I oiled my hands to make working with it easier). Once it has risen you will find that it is a joy to work with– soft, pliable, and best of all ORANGE! The pumpkin adds a beautiful golden color to the dough.
I kept the filling simple, but you can feel free to add anything you like: dried cranberries, crystallized ginger, chopped pecans, or pumpkin seeds would all be fine choices. I would stick to two add-ins though, because these rolls already have a pretty distinctive flavor profile and you want everything to be harmonious. Alternatively, you could scatter a handful of one of those ingredients over the tops of your rolls either before or after icing (you may NOT, however, omit the icing. I have decreed it so!)
I wish I could describe to you how these rolls smelled during the whole process– the sweetness of the pumpkin, the warmth of the cinnamon and ginger, the richness of the yeast. I was almost crawling the walls while they were baking because I couldn’t wait to eat one!
Luckily they only take about 25 minutes to bake, so the walls made it through the experience unscathed.
I made enough so that I could bake one batch and freeze one batch… and in a few weekends when I want more of these rolls all I will have to do is take them out of the freezer and leave them in the fridge overnight to thaw. After a quick rise on the counter the next morning (30 minutes please) I’ll be able to just pop them in the oven and go. If you’re going to freeze them go ahead and complete all the step up through slicing the rolls. Arrange them in the pan you will bake them in, wrap them up as tightly as you can, and stash them in the freezer! You won’t regret it.
What filling/topping combos ring your chimes? What is your perfect cinnamon roll made of?
Maple-Glazed Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- 1 cup canned pumpkin or squash
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup Greek yogurt at room temp OR lukewarm milk
- 1/4 cup soft butter OR shortening
- 4 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, optional
- 2 tablespoons sorghum or molasses
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, light or dark
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/2 cup brown sugar or more
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1-2 Tbs. maple syrup
- 3/4 tsp. vanilla OR maple extract
- Milk to thin to drizzling consistency, if necessary
- Break out your stand mixer! Dump all the ingredients into the bowl, making sure the yeast and salt don’t touch. Start with 3 cups of flour and the lesser amount of milk/yogurt and add more only as necessary (up to 4 1/4 cups flour and 1/4 cup milk).
- Mix to combine with the paddle, then switch to the dough hook and knead till smooth. The dough may be fairly sticky; that’s OK. So long as it holds its shape, you’re good.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or other container; Cover, and let rise for 1 1/2 hours, until it’s puffy, though not necessarily doubled in bulk.
- Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle about 14″ by 22″.
- Mix up your filling and adjust to taste. Spread the rectangle of dough with a little bit of melted butter or just brush with water before you evenly sprinkle your filling (leave one short edge free of filling by at least 1/4″).
- Beginning at the edge without filling roll the dough into a tube, keeping it fairly tight. Slice into as many buns as you want. Arrange buns in a glass or ceramic pie pan that has been greased and dusted with cinnamon sugar.
- Cover and let them rise for 1 hour, or until they look puffy. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Dust the rolls with more cinnamon sugar and Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until they’re lightly browned and feel set. Let cool slightly, glaze, and enjoy!