Feeling emboldened after my successful adventure with yeast when making a King Cake, I decided that it was finally time to make some homemade cinnamon rolls. We got some snow and freezing rain on Saturday, and given how poorly they handle winter weather in Maryland, we were effectively snowed in. I seized that opportunity to spend the morning in the kitchen, making these cinnamon rolls.
They’re pretty time-intensive, but worth it. Trust me. Plus, if you look at the end of this post, there’s also a tip on how to save yourself a little time by doing some of the work ahead.
This recipe comes from the cookbook Cooking with Pumpkin.
For the dough
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 2 tbs granulated sugar
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 1 tbs plus 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tbs unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 1 tbs vegetable/canola oil
- 1 egg
For the filling
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 2 tbs unsalted butter, melted
For the icing
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2 tbs unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ~2 cups powdered sugar
Start out by adding the flour, yeast, sugars, and spices to the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk it all together so that things are well-combined.
In a microwave safe bowl, heat the buttermilk, pumpkin, butter, and oil for 1 minute. Whisk it all together until well-combined.
Fold the warm pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients and add the egg. On low speed, knead the dough for 5-7 minutes. If things look too soft, and things haven’t combined well enough, add up to 1/2 cup of additional flour. The dough will be pretty shaggy, and this is okay. Just make sure that there are no pockets of flour hiding under the ball of dough, especially at the bottom of the bowl. Mix those in with a spatula.
Scoop the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper. Spray the bowl of the stand mixer with cooking spray. Return the ball of dough to the now lubricated bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and cover the plastic wrap with a clean kitchen towel. Put the bowl in a warm, draft-free place, and let it rise until doubled in bulk (about 2 hours).
When the dough is nearly done rising, line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray it with cooking spray, and set it aside.
Mix all of the filling ingredients together in a small bowl, melt the butter in another bowl, and set them both aside.
After it has risen, punch the dough down, and turn it out onto a floured surface. I used a silicone baking sheet with a little bit of flour. Knead it lightly for about 1 minute.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12×10-inch rectangle. Drizzle the butter evenly over the dough, and use a pastry brush to help spread it around. Sprinkle the filling over the dough in an even layer.
Starting on one of the long edges, roll the dough into a long cylinder, as tightly as possible. Using a sharp knife, cut the cylinder of dough into 12 evenly-sized rolls.
Place the 12 rolls into the prepared pan. Cover the pan with a piece of foil and let it rest in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour. The rolls should approximately double in size.
After 45 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Allow the rolls to cool in the pan a bit before serving. If you’re going to frost them, you should frost the rolls while they’re still pretty warm.
To make the frosting, cream the cream cheese, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract together until smooth. Add 1 cup of the powdered sugar and beat until combined. Add as much of the 2nd cup of powdered sugar as you’d like, until the frosting reaches the desired consistency.
Slather the rolls with the frosting.
The author notes that the rolls are best eaten fresh, but will keep for 4 days if kept in an airtight container.
Also, if you want to get a head start on these cinnamon rolls and make them ahead of time, you can, after placing the sliced rolls into the prepared pan, cover them and put them in the fridge for up to 18 hours. Then, when you’re ready to bake them, allow them to rise in a warm, draft-free area for about 90 minutes before baking as directed.