Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Syrup Frosting

We can all admit it. Cinnamon rolls are heaven. The combination of frosting, cinnamon, and warm bread is something sent from the gods. And I don't care if the Brits turn up their noses at the prospect of eating one of these for breakfast. If it's so good, why start your day with anything else?

I stumbled onto this recipe from, and although I am frequently overwhelmed by the "oreo-stuffed brownie bars baked into a deep fried three-layer cake" recipes that seem to populate many baking blogs, these seemed to have just the right touch of "over the top-ness". Especially since I had finally sourced some canned pumpkin (thank you, Waitrose), I was eager to try putting pumpkin flavoring in, well, just about anything.

As I've said before, pumpkin is never a bad decision. And neither is maple syrup. This recipe is all about putting American tastes on a plate. And I salute them for it.

I was worried the recipe was too vague for the delicacies of roll-making with yeast. But, once again, my worries were unfounded. The original recipe insists that this is a "throw everything into a bowl" situation, one I didn't exactly test out, but even with my simplified baking techniques, the rolls came out fluffy and soft, not too dense. Indeed, perfection.


For the Dough
1 cup canned pumpkin or squash
2 large eggs (beaten)
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup soft unsalted butter
4 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
3 tablespoons brown sugar, light or dark
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons instant yeast

Crushed/Chopped Pecans

For the Filling
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup chopped pecans

For the Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


Add the yeast to the warm water and wait 5 minutes. The yeast and water mixture should be foaming (or bubbling) softly. Add in the pumpkin, eggs, butter and combine.

In a separate bowl, add together the flour, milk, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, and salt. When combined add to the wet ingredients.
Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients together — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until you've made a soft, fairly smooth dough.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise for about 1 1/2 hours, until it's almost doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface. Roll it into a 14" x 22" rectangle; the dough will be pretty thin.

Use a pastry brush to brush the melted butter onto the top of the dough. In a medium bowl, mix together the filling ingredients and sprinkle them onto the butter creating an even layer, leaving one short edge free of filling (about 1 inch).

Starting with the short end that's covered with filling, roll the dough into a log.
Cut the log into 12 rolls.
Place the rolls into a lightly greased 9" x 9" pan that's at least 2" deep. Set aside, covered, to rise for 1 hour, or until the rolls look puffy.

Bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes, until they're lightly browned and feel set. Remove them from the oven, and set them on a rack. Turn them out of the pan, and allow them to cool for about 15 minutes. Towards the end of the cooling time, make the glaze.

To make the frosting: 

In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, butter, maple syrup, confectioners' sugar and pumpkin pie spice.

Mix on low speed until thoroughly combined and creamy.

Feel free to adjust the frosting to meet your needs. If you like a thinner frosting, add in a little milk (start with 1 teaspoon) and slowly increase until you reach the desired consistency.

If you want it to be thicker, add in a little more confectioners' sugar.

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