There was a pumpkin recipe contest at a local festival this past week, so I threw in my hat with some delicious pumpkin cinnamon rolls.
Here’s a tip about cinnamon rolls. They are almost always softer right out of the oven. The main reason is the sugar in the cinnamon filling. Sugar is hygroscopic, so it sucks moisture out of the dough. My favorite way to combat that is just covering them in more butter and sugar (icing), or popping them in a microwave for 10-15 seconds. Yum! If you’re looking for a lower calorie way to combat hard rolls, just use plain cinnamon and butter for the filling. The rolls will still be good, but less sweet.
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ⅔ cups milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg
- 1 package yeast
- 2-3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 stick melted butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ⅔ cup white sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon (sometimes I use more, I like cinnamon)
- Cream Cheese Icing
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1 stick of melted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
- 1-3 tablespoons milk
- Carmel Glaze
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat over to 350 degrees.
- Heat pumpkin, milk, salt and butter on stove until all are warm and butter is melted. It should be warm to the touch, but not hot (lukewarm)
- Add pumpkin mixture, yeast, egg, pumpkin pie spice and 2 cups of flour to mixer bowl. You can use a stand mixer or bread machine or just do it the old fashioned way. I use a stand mixer. Adjust flour until you get a dough that is smooth and somewhat sticky. Knead that dough for about 6 minutes (with a dough hook or bread machine, this is easy).
- Cover dough and let rest until it doubles in size (about 1 hour). Prepare filling while you wait.
- To prepare filling, just mix the melted butter and sugar together in a bowl and mix well.
- After dough has rested, roll out into a 15 by 10 inch rectangle.
- Spoon or brush filling on the rectangle.
- Roll the dough (this is for smaller rolls)
- Roll the rectangle up tightly. If you prefer more, smaller cinnamon rolls, roll along the 15 inch end. If you prefer larger, thicker cinnamon rolls, roll on the 10 inch end. Along the 15 inch should make 12 rolls.
- Cut the cinnamon rolls, the width depends on your tastes. I normally make mine 3 fingers wide. Use a serrated knife for best results (some people use dental floss or string, but being careful and not exerting too much pressure with a serrated knife works).
- Place either on a baking sheet or Pyrex dish. Some people like to bake their cinnamon rolls so they touch (like in a Pyrex dish). Personally, I like mine to be separate and round. I normally bake them on a baking sheet and spread them apart while they rise and when they bake.
- Let the rolls rise for 1 hour, until doubled. At this point, you can also put them in the fridge and let them rise overnight.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the center of the cinnamon roll reaches 190 degrees and the tops are golden brown.
- While they cook, you can make the icing. I used two icings (one is just an accent drizzle).
- Cream cheese icing: mix cream cheese, butter, vanilla, lemon, milk and 2 cups powdered sugar in a food processor and mix until creamy. You can add more milk if it’s too thick and more sugar if it’s too thin. I like my icing drippy.
- Caramel drizzle icing: Heat butter, sugar, milk, vanilla and powdered sugar on stove. Cook for about 8 minutes, until the sauce is a caramel like consistency (about 235 degrees or so).
- When cinnamon rolls are finished baking, let them cool a little bit before icing. They should still be warm when you ice them. I poured the cream cheese icing all over first, then drizzled with the caramel.
I mentioned “touching” and “not touching” means of prep in the recipe. This is what I mean. The first image has distinct rolls, each side crisps up and forms an individual, circular roll. The second, each of the rolls is touching in the pan, so the rolls don’t get the crispy browning on the sides and are softer. They’re not as round.
These rolls seem pretty nutritionally void. They are, but they aren’t as bad as fast food. A Cinnabon is 730 calories and 114 grams of carbs. Those Pillsbury canned cinnamon rolls are better. They are 145 calories and 23 grams of carb. A McDonalds cinnamon roll is 340 calories and 52 grams of carbs.
You could cut the calories considerably by limiting the icing. With no icing, it’s just 304 calories, 18 grams of fat, 32 grams of carbs (7.5 sugar and 1.4 grams of fiber). Since it’s still not healthy, where’s the fun in that?