I am still firmly in the fall. It is still November and therefore, not time for Christmas yet. That being said, these pumpkin cinnamon rolls would be an amazing breakfast on Christmas morning. They were a great Thanksgiving morning treat in my house this year.
You know you want to eat that.
I saw this recipe online a while ago and immediately resolved to make it for my sister, who loves pumpkin things. They were a big hit with children and adults alike. My sister ate several before we saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (our Thanksgiving tradition is to go to the movies. It stems from before the days when I could cook). She also stole my camera and took some pictures of herself making funny faces. Here's one now!
Be warned, these take a while to make. But it's not difficult. You can do it!
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls - adapted from the Kitchen
For the dough:
1/4 cup water
1 scant tablespoon yeast (1 package)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
For the glaze:
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar - I used way less than this. Maybe half a cup. But I'm not sure.
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit a few minutes until the yeast is dissolved. My mom was super impressed that I was using yeast to make bread. Your mom will be impressed as well.
Meanwhile, warm the milk and butter in a small saucepan on the stove top until the butter is melted. Combine this with the sugar in a large heat-proof mixing bowl and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Let the milk mixture cool until it is just warm to the touch - NOT HOT. Then stir in the yeast and the pumpkin. Add the salt and five cups of the flour all at once, stirring until all the flour has been absorbed. Squish it between your hands if you’re having trouble incorporating the last of the flour. The dough will be sticky, but should come together in a shaggy ball. If it's still more the consistency of cookie batter, work in an additional 1/2 cup of flower. Mine was fine, so I just went on.
Cover the dough and let it rise for 1-3 hours. It has to be in a warm place, or it won't rise. I put mine in the warming drawer of the oven. You can also turn on the oven to 150 degrees for a few minutes and then turn it off and put them in there. During this time, it should double in bulk. Here's mine!
At this point, you can punch the dough down and refrigerate it overnight or continue shaping the rolls. I put mine in the fridge so that I could wake up early and everyone could have freshly baked rolls. I'm nice that way.
Okay, now it's the next morning. I am so excited for Thanksgiving that I wake up at 6:40am without an alarm and get up right away. My family thinks I am crazy, but they appreciate how excited I am and go with it (once they wake up, that is). Here's the dough now!
To shape the rolls (either immediately or with the refrigerated dough), sprinkle your work surface with a little flour and dump the dough on top. Pat it down into a rough rectangle and then use a floured rolling pin to roll it into a rectangular shape about a half an inch thick, longer than it is wide. If the dough gets sticky, sprinkle a little more flour on the dough’s surface and on your hands.
Melt the butter in the microwave and stir in the brown sugar and the spices. I wouldn't melt it completely - just soften it so that it doesn't squirt everywhere when you roll it up. Spread this over the rectangle of dough, leaving an inch of bare dough at the top.
Starting at the edge closest to you, roll the dough into a cylinder and pinch it closed at the top.
Rub a tablespoon of soft butter into the bottom of two 9x13 baking dishes, two 9-inch cake pans, or a combination (I used many many pans). Using a bench cutter or a sharp knife, cut the cylinder into individual rolls 1 - 1 1/2 inches thick. Place them into your baking dishes so they have a little wiggle room on all sides to rise.
Cover them with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise until they fill the pan and look puffy, 30 minutes for already-warm dough and 1 hour for dough that’s been refrigerated. It's amazing to actually have clean kitchen towels. And an oven that works. And pretty lighting in the kitchen. Sometimes I think my brother had the right idea, living with my parents. But my house is okay too! I have DVR. That's something.
About 20 minutes before baking, begin heating the oven to 375°. When the rolls are ready, bake them for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden and starting to look toasted around the edges. Rotate the pans halfway through cooking.
While they are baking, prepare the glaze. Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Or, you know, just use a spoon and some upper arm muscles and do it by hand. That's what I did.
Let the baked rolls cool for about two minutes and then brush the glaze on top. Eat them immediately.
Don't they look professional? You should be really impressed now.
Leftovers will keep for several days and are best reheated for a minute in the microwave. These are incredibly good and you should make them for your family. Or for yourself. The pumpkin flavor is really subtle but adds some great dimension to a basic breakfast. The only problem is now my sister says I have to make them every Thanksgiving. Argh!