I forgot how much I love making and eating cinnamon rolls until I made these for a work potluck, and now I kind of want to make them all the time. Maybe it’s time for Cinnamon Roll Sunday to go along with Muffin Monday? And then Sugar Coma Tuesday… And then a trip to the dentist on Wednesday. Sounds like my kind of week!

No, I didn’t add noise in Photoshop – they’re sprinkled with ground coarse sugar

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Browned Butter Glaze

  • 2/3 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (if using canned pumpkin puree, add 1/4 cup of water)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 8 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted and browned
  • 3 tsp milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Splash of vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Microwave (or heat over a double broiler) the pumpkin puree so it’s warm to the touch. Stir in the butter until it’s melted.
  3. Add the sugar and salt. Let the mixture cool for 5-10 minutes so that the egg doesn’t curdle. Beat in the egg and stir until mixture is uniform.
  4. Mix the dry yeast with 1 cup of the flour mixture and mix into the pumpkin mixture. Mix in the rest of the cinnamon and the rest of the flour and knead with a dough hook or by hand. Let rise until double in bulk.
  5. Divide dough in half – place one half back in the bowl and cover with a tea towel. Place the other half on a generously floured cutting board and roll into a rectangle.
  6. Combine softened butter with brown sugar and cinnamon and mix until thoroughly combined – mixture will be a thick paste. Spread cinnamon-butter mixture over the dough and roll into a log.
  7. Cut rolls with a dough scraper and place into greased pan. Let rise until double in bulk.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until rolls are just beginning to turn golden in color.
  9. While the rolls are cooling, combine confectioner’s sugar, butter, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla and mix together to form a thick glaze. Spread over the rolls while they’re still warm.

The dough is my grandmother’s recipe but I swapped out the mashed potatoes for pumpkin and almost felt like I was destroying something sacred. It’s a fine line between making a family recipe your own and bastardizing it completely. But this is definitely the former, and the results are delicious and totally worth it. Just make sure that to add water if you’re using canned pumpkin – fresh pumpkin puree isn’t as dense as canned pumpkin, so the extra water will help keep the dough light and fluffy. And you didn’t hear this from me, but…I might recommend that you actually use canned pumpkin instead of fresh. The flavor is much more concentrated from the can, so my rolls weren’t quite as pumpkiny as I would have liked. This will probably be the only time I will ever recommend the canned version over fresh.

But regardless of where you get your pumpkin, these rolls are amazing, AMAZING. Fluffy and pillowy soft, and I mean that sincerely – if I had a bed made out of this dough, I would never leave it, ever. Am I the only one who dreams about taking a nap on bread dough? But enough about the dough, let’s talk about the filling. THE FILLING. There’s a lot of debate about whether to use melted butter or softened – I’ve used both before and I prefer softened butter so that you can make a cinnamon-butter paste that doesn’t leak out quite so much when the rolls bake. And then, if you happen to have some of the filling leftover, you can freeze it into a log and then slather it over warm pancakes or waffles. Cinnamon rolls – the gift that keeps on giving.

Thank god for gas ovens – making proofing dough so much faster

All tucked in

I made this separate set of four and them promptly ate all of them in one sitting