Sometimes I have epiphanies. Often, these epiphanies involve food.
A lot of the time actually. Like, 99.998% of the time. The .002% percent that aren’t about food are typically about how I could shave my dog to get around the “no pets with fur” rule at my school, or some clever excuse as to why I don’t need to go to math. Quality thoughts running through my head. Betcha wish you had mind-reading skills now, dontcha?
Back to epiphanies about food though. This weekend I was feelin’ pumpkin. I bought a can at Whole Foods. For no good reason. Naturally, this sparked my creative juices and VOILA:
PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLLS.
I’m a genius. I just created a masterpiece. I will become a culinary legend!
No…apparently not. Who knew someone had thought of this before me?! Stealing my thunder. Whatever. I stick to my guns. It’s a damn good idea.
Despite my disappointment as to not have been the original genius behind the idea, I still made ‘em. It was a good decision. One of the better one’s that I’ve made.
Definitely a better decision than the decision to stay up late last night reading a Tucker Max book that essentially ruins my faith in today’s society (But it’s really funny, you should read it). Sleeping in and missing breakfast as I rushed to Econ wasn’t my best idea either. Econ at 9 A.M.: another bad idea.
So, pumpkin cinnamon rolls are definitely ranked pretty highly. As in, top 10 things I’ve ever made. Yeah, I’m going there.
They’ll make you feel wonderful and fall-y and whoever you share them with will love you forever and ever.
Slather them with cream cheese frosting too. Like, major amounts. This will increase the love for 100% to 1000000%. Cause who doesn’t like cream cheese frosting?! (I didn’t…until a year ago, but that’s besides the point because I was weird).
These cinnamon rolls will make your life more complete. They’ll make you smile on a rainy day. They’ll make your family look as happy as the kids on the Toaster Strudel commercials. They’ll make your house smell like fall. Don’t make me give you more reasons.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
(adapted from Cooking Light)
- 1 package dry active yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
- 3 1/2 cups flour (plus more if needed)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup fat-free or 2-percent milk
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 Tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
In large mixing bowl, combine the package of dry active yeast with the 1/4 cup of warm water (100 to 110 degrees) and 1/2 cup of sugar. Let it sit for about 5 minutes or until foamy. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer, add the 3 cups of flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Then add in the 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin.
Add in the 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg. Mix to combine. Slowly pour in the 1/2 cup of milk and the 1/4 cup of melted unsalted butter.
At this point, you may need more flour. I needed abut 1/4 of a cup more. Add until it’s no longer incredibly sticky. Tacky is okay, you just don’t want it completely gluey.
Switch to a dough hook and mix the dough for about 8 minutes on low speed. If you need to add more flour still, add a little bit more.
Once the dough is done mixing, sprinkle some flour on the counter and knead the dough for about 2 minutes.
Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover it with a damp towl or plastic warm. Place the bowl in a draft free warm area and allow to rise for about 1 hour, until it’s doubled in size. At this point, you could also transfer the dough to the refrigerator and let it rise overnight. This will also make the dough easier to work with when you roll it out.
When dough has risen, sprinkle some flour on the counter and roll the dough out into a 16 by 14 rectangle. Over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup of butter and let it brown slightly, until it smells nutty and has small browned bits lurk at the bottom of the pan. Let cool slightly and spread evenly over rolled out dough. Mix together the brown sugar and pumpkin pie spices and spread the mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 inch border.
Begin rolling the dough away from you, keeping the dough as tightly rolled as possible. Once it’s rolled up, pinch the seams together to ensure that the filling stays inside and the rolls don’t fall apart.
Using a string or sharp knife, cut the log into 12 rolls. I do this by slicing off the ends first. Then, cut the log in half, then each half into thirds, and then each third into halves. You’ll end up with 12 rolls.
Place the rolls into a lightly greased 9 by 13 baking pan and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Place in a draft free warm area and allow the rolls to rise for 45 minutes to an hour. Mine didn’t do much in this time, so don’t worry if they haven’t risen yet, they will in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake the pumpkin cinnamon rolls for 20-25 minutes, until they’re golden brown.
Take the pumpkin cinnamon rolls out of the oven and slather with a thick layer of my cream cheese frosting while they’re still warm (recipe below). Enjoy!
Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
- 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Set aside 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar.
Combine the softened cream cheese and unsalted butter in a large mixing bowl using a paddle attachment or you can use a hand held mixer. You want to combine the two ingredients but not overmix. Then add in the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and pumpkin pie spice.
Slowly add in the powdered sugar on low speed. Once it starts to combine, increase the speed. Use your spatula to scrap down the sides in order to ensure that all of the ingredients are mixed well together.
Spread on top of pumpkin rolls. Note: this frosting will make more than you need. However, I recommend making it all and adding more frosting to each bite. The middle bites get a little frosting-light when only the top is frosted.
Yields 12 rolls.