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Friday, November 9, 2012

Pumpkin-spice Cinnamon Buns

It really looked like November yesterday. The skies were gray with clouds, fog in the morning, just a few colorful leaves clinging to branches, and the air has turned quite cool. All of this outdoors, and then indoors, a cozy fire in the fireplace. It was a perfect day to bake something with a traditional fall flavor -- Pumpkin-Spice Cinnamon Buns.

These are a mildly sweet yeast bread, just as is, but a favorite of my kids when iced. The dough also makes a delicious crescent roll, without the added filling or icing, for the holiday table.

Pumpkin-Spice Cinnamon Buns

1/4 cup warm water
1  3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup warm milk
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
6 tablespoons (3/8 cup) canned pumpkin puree (if using homemade, strain in a mesh strainer for 30 minutes to thicken)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2  1/4 cups flour (adding more as needed)

In a medium-size bowl, soften yeast in the warm water. Add sugar and salt.

While yeast is softening, heat the milk in microwave. Stir in butter and pumpkin. When this is just lukewarm, add to yeast mixture.

Stir in spices and flour (1 cup at a time, until a nice dough forms, one that doesn't stick to a surface. Additional flour, as needed).  Knead dough 7-8 minutes. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk (about 1 hour at 68 degrees F).

Punch down. Roll out into a rectangle, on a floured surface, until about 14 inches by 8 inches. Spread with soft butter (about 2 tablespoons). Sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Roll the dough up along the long edge, to make a roll 14 inches long. Pinch the seam. Cut into 16 mini cinnamon rolls.

Place on a buttered baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Cover and allow to rise until double, about 1 hour. Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes (until tops are golden). Ice with a buttercream or cream cheese frosting, if desired.

These freeze well, unfrosted. When we want some, I thaw, heat briefly, then add icing.


  1. I'm trying to think about how to do these in the bread machine. It looks like you put in more yeast than for standard bread. I assume this is because the spices and/or pumpkin prohibit some of the yeast growth. I'll have to think about this for a while. Of course, the butter cream frosting sounds the best to me.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      There is more yeast than just sandwich bread might have. The recipe is based off of my plain dinner roll recipe, which also has a bit more yeast. I remember reading that milk, and butter (any fat) inhibits yeast development. Pumpkin might as well. I would guess this would also work in a machine to bake a loaf of pumpkin yeast bread, just without the cinnamon swirled through it. But the icing might just make up for that!

      You could always use your machine to do the kneading, then form into buns by hand.If so, soften the yeast in the warm water before adding to the rest of the ingredients. I think it would all mix and knead just fine.

    2. My bread machine has a cycle that kneads and let's the bread rise. Then you take it out,form it however you want, and then bake it.. When I have tried this cycle in the past, it didn't work so well. However, that was ages ago, so I think it's time to try again. Maybe with something like this.

  2. I have lots of pumpkin in my freezer.
    I'll be sure to try this recipe.
    Thanks so much for sharing it.

    1. Hi frugal spinster,
      I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. I'm thinking of making another batch tomorrow for Sunday's breakfast. Sweet rolls and me have a thing! :)

  3. Yum! Do you think it would bake as "larger" cinnamon rolls just as well? I think these would be a hit with hubby's office crowd, but would need to either double or triple the recipe and make them larger.

    1. Hi Shara,
      oh, absolutely. I make them small (about the size of mini-Cinnabons) so I don't overdo it. This recipe would make 8-10 large rolls. So if you doubled it you would yield about 16-20 good-sized rolls. Add about 5 minutes or so to the baking time.

  4. Oooh, I'm salivating. This sounds wayyyyyyyyyyyy too good. Not sure my waistline can afford to make them! ;)

    1. Hi Kris,
      I know what you mean. That's why I make them small. I like them unfrosted as well. Not so much sugar that way. But I do tend to feel like I've got to go jog them off afterward!


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