Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Today we are pretending it is still Christmas time and that it is still cool and totally normal to eat cinnamon buns for breakfast and cook with pumpkin again. Oh December, you are lovely month.


Umm… they disappeared fast!

I actually made these delicious cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning at my dad’s house. I prepared them the night before and popped them in the oven while everyone was opening presents. My step mom made some quick scrambled eggs with all kinds of yummy vegetables and veggie sausage.  We ate blissfully and thought about how great life is and paid no attention to anything else.


That’s how it should be when you eat, isn’t it? Thinking about the food you are eating and the company you are keeping, and not worrying about anything else. I usually find myself sitting in the living room watching tv and chatting with roommates while I eat, which is nice too, but sometimes I long for a nice family dinner.


Anyway. These cinnamon rolls are actually kind of perfect. We ate them right out of the oven, and they were unbelievably soft and gooey. They were super nice and moist, not even a little bit dry. The pumpkin flavour works so well in a cinnamon roll, and it was the perfect extra “something” for a Christmas treat. I topped them with a simple cream cheese frosting, which made them even MORE delicious, somehow. They definitely require a bit of work, but sometimes that bit of extra work is worth it, right? (In this case, YES!) I ended up halving the recipe, because we were leaving for Hawaii soon after. I wasn’t sure whether it would work out, but it totally did! For the full recipe, see the link.


Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls:

Adapted from Pioneer Woman 

Makes 12 


3/4 cup Whole Milk*

1/4 cup Vegetable Oil

1/4 cup White Sugar

1 1/4 tsp Active Dry Yeast

1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree

2 cups All Purpose Flour

1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

1/4 tsp Ground Ginger

1/4 cup (additional) All Purpose Flour

1/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp (heaping) Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Salt


1/4 cup Butter, melted

1/4 cup White Sugar

1/4 cup Brown Sugar

1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg

1/4 tsp Ground Ginger


8 oz Cream Cheese, softened

2 cups Confectioners Sugar

1/4 cup Whole Milk*

2 tbsp Butter, melted

Make the Dough

1. In a large saucepan, combine whole milk, vegetable oil, and sugar. Heat until hot but not boiling, then remove the pan from the stove and allow it to cool until the mixture is warm to the touch but not too hot. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the liquid and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Stir in pumpkin puree until combined.

2. Combine 2 flour with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Sprinkle it into the saucepan and stir until it just comes together. Cover the saucepan with a dish towel and set in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour.

3. After 1 hour, the mixture should be very puffy and at least doubled in size. Stir in 1/4 cup flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt until totally combined

Make the Rolls

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Using a sheet of paper towel over your hand, coat a glass baking dish with softened butter.

2. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and press it into a rectangular shape. If it is overly sticky, sprinkle generously with flour and handle it/flour it until it’s easier to handle. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough into a large rectangle.

3. Drizzle the melted butter over the dough and smear it all over the surface with your fingers. Mix together sugar, brown sugar, and the cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Sprinkle this all over the surface of the dough, covering all the melted butter.

4. Starting at the top, roll the dough toward you into a large log. Roll it tightly as you go so the rolls with be nice and neat. When it’s all rolled, pinch the seam closed and turn the roll over so that the seam is facing down.

5. Slice 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices and place them in the buttered pan(s). Allow them to rise for 20 minutes, then bake for 15-18 minutes or until nice and golden brown around the edges.

Make the Frosting

1. While the rolls are baking, making the frosting by combining all the frosting ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until fluffy, adding more milk if you’d like a thinner icing.

Finish the Rolls

1. Ice the rolls as soon as you take them out of the oven. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving (if you can possibly wait that long).

* I did not have whole milk, so I substituted using skim milk and half and half cream. Add 4 tbsp of half and half to 1 cup of skim milk, mix well, and then measure out 3/4 cup to use for the recipe. In the frosting, I just used skim milk.


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