Around Halloween (I told you I was behind in my posts), I decided to make a sweet treat that fit in with the pumpkin theme. While persuing my usual blogs, I kept stumbling upon recipes for cinnamon rolls. I’ve always been pretty hesitant about making anything involving yeast, but I’ve had some recent success with pizza dough, so I decided now was the time. Plus, Stu and his family are cinnamon roll fanatics, and I was trying to impress. I found a few different recipes, but I liked the one posted on Naturally Ella the best. It had whole wheat flour and lots of brown sugar in it’s ingredient list, so I figured it would be slightly healthier than the regular buttery cinnamon rolls. I also referenced a recipe posted on The Kitchn, and used a sort of combination of the two. Unfortunately this was weeks ago, so I’ll link both recipes and do the best that I can do remember what exactly I did for mine.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Pumpkin and Brown Sugar Glaze
from Naturally Ella and The Kitchn

For the rolls:
3/4 cup milk
2 and  1/2 teaspoons yeast
1/3 cup natural sugar
1 cup pumpkin
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
4- 4  and 1/2 cups Unbleached all purpose flour (I used half white/ half wheat)

For the filling:

1/4 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup natural sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

For the glaze:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup brown sugar
pinch salt
2  and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup pumpkin

Heat milk (either in a sauce pan or microwave) until milk begins to simmer- add butter. Let cool until a warm temperature (about 120˚).

In a stand mixer bowl, at milk mixture, yeast, and sugar. Let sit for five minutes. Add 3 cups of flour, salt, pumpkin, eggs and start mixer with dough hook. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time continuing until the dough pulls together. Continue kneading the dough until smooth and elastic- at least eight minutes.

Either in the mixer bowl or a separate bowl, lightly spray the dough with cooking oil and place in a warm draft free spot until dough has doubled in size (around an hour and a half.)

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out into a 10 by 14 rectangle. Rub butter over entire surface and cover with sucanat mixture. Roll the dough into a log, squeeze slightly and adjust to form. Cut into 12 pieces (cut in half, the cut each half into half then each piece is cut into three pieces.) Place in a sprayed 9 by 13 pan.

Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight. (or if you want to continue on, cover and let rise for another hour and follow with remaining instructions.)

The next morning, preheat the oven to 350˚ and remove cinnamon rolls from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for a half hour. Bake for 25-30 minutes until cinnamon rolls are a nice golden brown color. Let cool slightly.

While they are baking, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and butter. When the butter has melted, add the brown sugar and salt. Stir until the brown sugar has melted. Remove from heat and strain into a mixing bowl to remove any sugar clumps. Stir in the powdered sugar. This should form a thick but pourable glaze.

Let the baked rolls cool for about five minutes and then pour the glaze on top. Sprinkle the remaining cup of pecans over the top, if more nuttiness is desired. Eat them immediately. Leftovers will keep for several days and are best reheated for a minute in the microwave.

This was an incredibly lengthy process. Although I was pretty pleased with how they turned out, I wouldn’t ever say that they were easy to make. I was pretty time consuming and required a lot of patience. I also ran out of pumpkin so my glaze ended up being more brown-sugar based than pumpkin. The whole process was definitely an exciting one, however. I was really impressed with how nicely the end result mirrored the pictures from both recipes. It was pretty incredible to assemble these guys and watch them rise and then bake into the actual rolls, looking almost like what you’d buy from the store!

Taste-wise, they lacked a little sweetness that I think everyone expects from a cinnamon roll. I thought they were pretty great, but Stu’s sweet tooth disagreed. I am sure this had a lot to do with the natural sugar and brown sugar, as opposed to white sugar and lots and lots of butter. I congratulated myself for taking the healthier route, but I suppose that if I’m going to be making these again for more people, I’ll probably use a recipe that has all of the sweet stuff, as opposed to all of the kind-of-good-for-you stuff.

Either way, this was a pretty big feat for me, and I’m rather proud of my accomplishment. It’s nice to know that this will be a breakfast option over the upcoming winter months. Next time I will probably make them when I know I’ll have something coming up where lots of people can enjoy them. I accidentally ate a whole bunch of cinnamon rolls for about a week and a half. Oops.