Daily Recipe: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

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Happy Halloween! To celebrate, our daily recipe is one part Fall, one part indulgence. It seems fair that on a holiday revolving around candy and trick-or-treating, we give you a recipe to match.

These cinnamon rolls come from Smitten Kitchen, a goddess of the food blog world. This is a woman who seems to have endless cakes, cookies and decadent recipes up her sleeve.

As previously mentioned, this is recipe for when you feel like indulging your inner child, the one who craves sweets in the morning. This recipe has quite a few steps, but you can prepare the dough and assemble the buns the night before, letting them rise in the fridge.

These will take a bit of time, but let’s be honest, there is nothing quite like waking up to the smell of fresh baked cinnamon rolls. Happy eating!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 16 to 18 buns


  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, to be divided
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, warmed (not over 116 degrees)
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2/3 cups pumpkin puree (1 pie pumpkin)
  • 1 large egg
  • oil for coating rising bowl


  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon


  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk

First, make your pumpkin puree. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet. Halve a sugar pumpkin and scoop out the seeds. Place the pumpkin halves cut-side down on your baking sheet and roast the pumpkin until it’s completely tender inside, about 45-50 minutes. Scrape the pumpkin flesh off the skin with a large spoon and puree in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Now move on to making your dough. Melt the butter and keep it cooking over medium heat for a few additional minutes. It will become hissy and sizzle a lot, then take on a nutty flavor. Remove from heat and 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.

In the bottom of the bowl of an electric mixer combine flour, sugars, salt and spices. Add just 1/4 cup of your melted/browned butter and stir to combine. Add yeast-milk mixture, pumpkin and egg and mix to combine. If you do have a dough hook, switch to that and run it for five minutes on low. If you don’t, you can just use your muscles and a wood spoon and stir and stir and stir.

Then, scrape mixture in a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for one hour in a draft-free place; it should just about double.

While it’s 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.

Next step is to assemble the 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 the reserved melted butter over the 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 will be a giant mess. The dough is soft and some stuff spills off the ends, don’t freak out. It will all be delicious in the end.

Here’s how you want to cut the cinnamon rolls without squishing the spirals. With a sharp serrated knife, using absolutely no pressure whatsoever, 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 you’ll have the option to either make more buns, or just cut them a little larger.

Divide buns between two prepared pans. You can sprinkle them with any sugar that fell off of the counter over them. Cover each pan 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 degrees F. Meanwhile, you can make the glaze. Combine powdered sugar and milk, whisk until you have the consistency you are looking for. You can either smear it on the buns, or drizzle.

To finish the buns, bake them for about 25 minutes until puffed and golden and your kitchen smells like a snickerdoodle. Transfer pans to wire cooling racks and drizzle/schmear with the glaze.

Breakfast is served.

Written by cscdavis

October 31, 2012 at 9:08 am

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