Do you smell that?
That is the smell of a thousand chai spice and pumpkin spice flavored confections, signaling that fall is here and programming your taste buds to crave all things cinnamon-enhanced. It’s not official until you have some kind of Starbucks chia-something-or-the-other in your mitten-covered hand. Someone should start capitalizing on some Starbucks IVs …or even better, enemas! (That’s right. I just went there.)
Let’s all admit that not everything needs to be or, more importantly, should be prefixed or sufficed with “pumpkin spice”. (Just stay away from my meat!)
HOWEVER, pumpkin spice can turn some things into superlatives with a dash of sweet orange squash pixie dust.
You know what I think needs a high-five from the pumpkin spice fairy?
They need to get pumpkin’d up.
Don’t mind if I do.
My sister-in-law, Julie, makes the most fluffy and mouth-melting cinnamon rolls. (Truth be told, she makes the most mouth-melting everything. She’s just mad-talented like that.)
Don’t you know that I just had to wave the magic pumpkin spice wand over those rolls STAT.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Prep Time: 2 1/2 to 3 hours
Bake Time: 15 to 18 minutes
Makes: 3 pans of rolls
1 Tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup room temperature buttermilk
3/4 cup pumpkin
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup + 1 T sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening, melted
2 room temperature eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided for rolling out
1 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup pumpkin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup butter, melted to brush on rolls
3 oz cream cheese
1 to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2-3 Tablespoons coffee creamer (could substitute cream or milk)
3 Tablespoons whole milk (or more to thin)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
- Proof the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water with 1 tablespoon sugar; let stand for 5 minutes.
- Combine 4 1/2 cups flour, remaining sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add melted shortening, eggs, yeast mixture, remaining 1 cup of flour, buttermilk, pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Mix until well-blended (dough will be very sticky). Cover with plastic wrap and a towel; let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Grease 3 9″ cake pans with butter and set aside. Mix 1 cup melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, 1/4 cup pumpkin, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
- Sift 1/2 cup flour over work surface. Turn out half of risen dough over the flour. Sift 1/4 cup flour over the dough and gently roll it into a large rectangle. (approximately 30″ x 20″ – or a little smaller for a thicker layer of dough)
- Brush off excess flour, then gently spread half of the pumpkin-cinnamon-sugar butter over the dough. Roll the dough in jelly role fashion from the left-hand side until you reach the middle.
- Repeat the procedure, rolling the dough from the right-hand side until you reach the middle. Cut the dough rolls apart with a knife or dough scraper. Repeat the entire procedure with the second half of dough and the remaining pumpkin-cinnamon-sugar mixture.
- Cut each roll of dough into slices about 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 inches thick. Place 12 to 16 slices, cut-sides down, in each prepared pan, leaving at least 1/4 inch between each slice.
- Brush with the remaining 1/4 cup melted butter. Cover the pans with plastic wrap and a towel and let the rolls rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake the rolls, uncovered, for 15 to 18 minutes or until they are lightly browned, rotating halfway through. (If the rolls start to look too brown, cover with foil.)
- Cool rolls on wire racks.
- Make frosting by mixing the cream cheese, powdered sugar, coffee creamer, vanilla milk and pinch of salt until smooth. (Add more powdered sugar or milk to get it as thick or as thin as you like it.) Drizzle or smear on the warm (not hot) rolls and serve.
- Dig in while those babies are warm!
Add some toasted pecans on top for a nutty crunch.