Holiday Recipe | Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Hello & happy Wednesday!

Like I am assuming some of you have been doing, I have been getting myself and our NYC apartment ready for a Thanksgiving Feast. While I will not be posting any of my Thanksgiving recipes this year (aside from my flan recipe that I posted earlier this year and will be featured as one of my desserts), I was skimming through The Pioneer Woman's blog and found this fantastic pumpkin cinnamon roll recipe. 

While it's not for Thanksgiving, I made it and froze it to heat up for the morning after. Because after the craziness of Thanksgiving, I just wanted something simple and delicious - and what's better than homemade cinnamon rolls that were made ahead of time?

I have followed the recipe almost exactly, except for some minor adaptations :)

And so as not to confuse you with pictures and the recipe written in between, the full recipe is at the end of the post - but you are more than welcome to use the pictures as reference - they were posted in the order of the recipe!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 24 rolls

Don't let the long list of ingredients scare you - most of the ingredients are repeats within the different components of the cinnamon roll making process. They are also ingredients that you will (most likely) have on hand.

Ingredient List
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 package (or 2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (from the can is great)
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup (additional) all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (heaping - so overflowing the teaspoon) of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 (hefty) cup of chopped pecans
  • 8 ounces (one package) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 pound powdered (confectioner's) sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk 
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • dash of salt
*extra flour, for rolling out the dough
*extra milk, for thinning the frosting
*extra butter, for lining the baking pans

*extra 1/4 cup chopped pecans to sprinkle on top of the finished cinnamon rolls

The Dough:
  • Combine the 1 1/2 cup whole milk, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, and 1/2 sugar in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat. You will be using this pan to mix all of the ingredients for the cinnamon rolls so you want to be sure that it is large enough to hold everything.
  • When the mixture is hot (but not boiling), remove the pan from the stovetop and let it cool until the mixture is warm to the touch but not hot. 
  • Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the warm mixture; wait 5 minutes and stir in the pumpkin puree so that it's well-combined.
  • Mix together the 4 cups of flour with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon of ginger; combine this mixture with the pumpkin mixture in the saucepan until it just comes together. Cover it with a kitchen towel and set it in a warm spot in your kitchen where there is no draft for 1 hour.
  • After the hour, the dough should have doubled in size. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, salt and 1/2 cup of flour until it is totally combined. Set aside to get started on the filling.
Making the Rolls:
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F,
  • Drizzle some of the melted butter on to 2 9-inch cake pans and spread so that the sides of the pans are well-coated. I only had to use 2 9-inch cake pans but you can expand it to 3 9-inch cake pans (which is what the Pioneer Woman originally suggested) to give the cinnamon rolls some space in between... I just like them snug and pretty close together.
  • Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and press into a rectangle shape. Make sure you flour your rolling pin and the top of the dough, as well, with the flour. This will help prevent the dough from sticking.
  • Roll out to approximately 10 inches x 30 inches.
  • Once rolled out, drizzle the stick of melted butter along the surface of the dough. You can also help spread it out easily by using your fingers to make sure it is spread evenly.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar and the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Once well-combined, sprinkle the mixture evenly along the top of the rolled out dough.
  • Then sprinkle the cup of finely chopped pecans along the surface (evenly) and lightly press it down into the dough.
  • Using a light hand in a typewriter method, slowly roll the dough onto itself in classic cinnamon roll fashion, towards you, until it is completely rolled up. I also pinch together the ends with the rest of the dough and roll it so the seam is down (makes it easier to cut). You can see my video on Instagram for an in-depth look at how I rolled it, here.
  • Slice 1/2-3/4 inch slices and place them in the buttered pan,  Cover with the kitchen towel and allow the rolls to rise in the pan for 20 minutes.
  • Place the rolls (uncovered, of course) in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes or until the rolls have a light golden brown color.
Making the Frosting:
  • Simply combine all of the frosting ingredients and whisk until there are no lumps and you have created a light, fluffy mixture. IF you feel like your frosting is too thin, add a teaspoon of milk at a time until you have reached your desired consistency.
  • Once the cinnamon rolls are cooked and out of the oven, ice them with the frosting mixture while they are still hot. Make sure to split the frosting mixture evenly among the pans you have used. 
  • Sprinkle with the remaining chopped pecans and  you are done :)
Since I cooked mine ahead of time, I let them cool down completely (after I placed the icing and pecans on top) and then covered it in plastic wrap with toothpicks sticking up to prevent the plastic from sticking to the icing, and froze it.

I will be serving the pumpkin cinnamon rolls the day after Thanksgiving as a sweet breakfast treat so I will just place it in a 350 F oven uncovered for approximately 30 minutes until they are heated through (I'm not trying to cook them here, just warm them through).

I hope you enjoyed my Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll adaptation - I baked one roll on the side to taste it and oh man is it delicious. Let me know if you will be cooking anything special on Thanksgiving or the day after!

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Until next time-


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