Give It Up For Spiced Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls get extra delicious with the addition of pumpkin in the dough.
Cinnamon rolls get extra delicious with the addition of pumpkin in the dough.

Now’s the time for a boatload of cinnamon rolls warm from the oven.

Not just any ol’ kind, but ones made moister and more golden in color with pureed pumpkin, and even more delectable with pumpkin pie-like spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

That’s exactly what you’ll get with this recipe for “Spiced Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls,” which makes 20 — yes! — palm-sized, swirly cinnamon rolls slathered with fluffy cream cheese icing.

Get your mixing bowls out now, and thank me later for turning you on to this recipe that’s simply made for this time of year.

It’s from the new cookbook, “The Shared Kitchen” (Smith Street Books), of which I received a review copy.

Written by Clare Scrine, an Australian food writer, it features 80 vegetarian and vegan recipes that by no means will leave you feeling deprived in any way.

Not when the selection includes the likes of “Luxe Potato, Apple & Fennel Bake,” “Spicy Capsicum & Artichoke Pesto with Hand-Rolled Pasta,” “A Big Moussaka,” and “Lemon & Rosemary Cake with Mascarpone Cream.”

The chapters are divided by highlighted ingredient, from “Apple” to “Zucchini,” making it easy to hone in on just what to make for a particular season or for what you’ve scored at the farmers market that week.

The pumpkin cinnamon rolls take a little time to make, but it’s well worth the effort. Fortified with milk, butter, and mashed pumpkin, the dough is soft and easy to work with. I cheated and used canned pumpkin instead of roasting a pumpkin just for this, which worked just fine. I added that option to the recipe below.

Half the dough rolled out with half the filling spread on.
Half the dough rolled out with half the filling spread on.

You can make the dough and bake the rolls the same day; or let the dough rise in the fridge overnight, which is what I did. If you choose to do the latter, too, just be sure to bring the dough to room temperature before proceeding, which will take about 2 to 3 hours to do. I added that to the recipe, too.

It’s a lot of dough, so I took Scrine’s suggestion to divide it into two to make rolling up more manageable. For the filling, cream together softened butter plus those warm baking spices, along with brown sugar, vanilla extract, and a touch of maple syrup. Roll out half the dough into a rectangle, then spread half the filling all over it. Roll up the dough, jelly roll-style, then cut into thick slices. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

Sliced and arranged on the baking sheet.
Sliced and arranged on the baking sheet.
And just out of the oven.
And just out of the oven.

Arrange the dough slices in a parchment-lined baking pan. You might need to use two pans, given the quantity of rolls this recipe makes. I managed to fit them all on one half sheet pan. However, if you go that route, just be sure to place another larger tray in the oven on the rack directly underneath — or at the very least a larger-sized sheet of aluminum foil — because the sugary filling will bubble up and likely overflow the shorter sides of the sheet pan, potentially burning and setting off your smoke detector.

The rolls bake at a high temperature, giving them a beautifully bronzed exterior.

For the icing, whip together cream cheese, more butter, confectioners’ sugar, and a splash of maple syrup, then slather on while the rolls are still a little warm.

The perfect breakfast, brunch or snack treat at this time of year.
The perfect breakfast, brunch or snack treat at this time of year.

These cinnamon rolls are fluffy and puffy, shot through and through with the autumnal taste of cinnamon, and made extra decadent with the slathering of sweet-tangy cream cheese frosting all over the top.

Yes, this recipe makes a lot of ’em. But they freeze well after baking. And my neighbors’ faces definitely lit up when I brought some to their doorsteps.

Put it this way: Once you sink your teeth happily into the first one, I guarantee you won’t have any trouble figuring out what to do with the rest.

A taste of pure heaven.
A taste of pure heaven.

Spiced Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

(Makes 16 to 20)

1 3/4 cups warm milk

1 teaspoon instant dried yeast

5 1/2 ounces unsalted butter, melted

2 teaspoons salt

10 1/2 ounces roasted pumpkin (from 1 pound raw), mashed or blended until smooth OR canned pumpkin

1 egg

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

6 cups (900 grams) plain all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

For spiced sugar filling:

7 ounces salted butter, softened

1 firmly packed cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (ideally freshly grated)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

1 to 2 tablespoons warm water

For cream cheese icing:

2 3/4 ounces salted butter, softened

5 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup icing (confectioners’) sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Whisk the warm milk and yeast together in a very large bowl. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes for the yeast to activate.

Add the remaining ingredients except the flour to the yeast mixture and stir well to combine. Fold in the flour and bring the mixture together to form a shaggy dough. Using lightly floured hands, knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes by lifting it up and pressing it onto itself, until it is stretchy and smooth. Add a little extra flour if the dough is too sticky to work with, but try to avoid adding too much as the wet dough makes for a nicer scroll. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and set aside to rise in a warm spot until doubled in size. This will take anywhere between 1 and 3 hours on your kitchen bench, or 12-24 hours in the fridge if you’re making it a day ahead. (If you do refrigerate the dough overnight, let it come to room temperature for about 3 hours before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.)

When the dough is almost ready, combine the filling ingredients in a bowl, adding enough warm water to create a spreadable paste. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use.

Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and use your hands or a rolling pin to stretch it out to a large rectangle, about 1/2-inch thick. You can do this in two batches if it’s easier. with a long edge facing you, spread the filling across the surface of the dough, then gently roll it into a long log. Cut the log into 16 to 20 pieces, about 3/4-inch wide.

Line a large deep baking tray with baking paper and add the scrolls, spaced 1/4 inch apart so they have room to rise. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm spot for 15 to 30 minutes, until slightly risen.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees convection or 425 degrees conventional.

Transfer the scrolls to the oven and bake for 24 to 35 minutes, until risen and turning dark brown. Set aside to cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

To make the cream cheese icing, use electric beaters to beat the butter and cream cheese together in a bowl until smooth and silky. Add the icing sugar, maple syrup and a pinch of salt, and beat until soft and light. Set aside at room temperature until ready to use.

Once the scrolls have cooled a little, spread the icing over the top, and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, warming them for 20 seconds in the microwave before eating.

Note: If you have an active sourdough starter, you can substitute 3 1/2 ounces for the yeast, reduce the milk by a few tablespoons, use 1.05kg/7 cups bread flour, and leave the dough overnight in the fridge (or on your kitchen bench if the weather is cool) to ferment.

Adapted from “The Shared Kitchen” by Clare Scrine

More Sweet Treats with Pumpkin: Chocolate, Pumpkin or Matcha Mug Cake

And: Pumpkin Almond Cake with Almond Butter Frosting

And: Pumpkin Spice Minis

And: Pumpkin, Sage, and Browned Butter Cake

And: Really Good Pumpkin Bread

And: Pumpkin Brownies with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

And: Creamy Pumpkin Custard

And: Apple-Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

And: Apple Pumpkin Galette

And: Pumpkin Swirl Ice-Cream Pie with Chocolate Almond Bark and Toffee Sauce

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