If you’re anything like me, you’re probably about ready to move on from the pumpkin-themed blog blow-out of the past month. I think that bloggers the world over have exhausted every possible use for canned pumpkin. I have definitely contributed my fair share. Therefore, I can see how you might be tempted to click away from this post which is about one more pumpkin-themed dish. But, I promise you – if you stick around, you won’t regret it. Because these sweet pumpkin rolls…they are worth one more round of pumpkin baking before Thanksgiving is upon us and we start throwing it all into pies.
This post is not simply a result of the fact that I have a lot of pumpkin. Although, for the record, I DO have a lot of pumpkin – in my fridge, in my pantry, and a few of the candied sort in my stomach as I write this. No, this post had to be shared because this really may be one of the best sweet roll recipes I have ever come across. It’s not just that the bread itself requires no kneading, is tender, flaky, and has the perfect ever-so-sweet yeasty flavor (although it is those things), but the spiced filling is destined to be twisted and rolled into these perfect wheels.
Every bite of these is more delicious than the one before. But the warm, comforting smell of the sweet, nutty rolls baking is reason enough to make them this weekend.
My other favorite thing about this recipe? The beautiful, bright orange hue of the dough. Have you ever seen anything like it?
- ¼ cup water
- 1 scant tablespoon yeast (1 package)
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 5½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups pecans – toasted, chopped, and divided (the second cup is optional)
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup milk
- 1 cup brown sugar
- pinch salt
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
- Make the dough. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let rest at room temperature for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, warm milk and butter in a small saucepan on the stove top until the butter is melted. Combine the milk and melted butter with sugar in a large heat-proof mixing bowl and whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Let the milk mixture cool until it is just warm to the touch – NOT HOT. Add yeast and pumpkin, stirring to combine. Add the salt and five cups of the flour all at once, stirring until all the flour has been absorbed. Squish it between your hands if you’re having trouble incorporating the last of the flour. The dough will be sticky, but should come together in a shaggy ball. If it’s still more the consistency of cookie batter, work in an additional ½ cup of flour.
- Cover the dough and let it rise for 1-3 hours. During this time, it should double in bulk. At this point, you can punch the dough down and refrigerate it overnight or continue shaping the rolls.
- Shape the rolls. To shape the rolls, sprinkle your work surface with a little flour and dump the dough on top. Pat it down into a rough rectangle and then use a floured rolling pin to roll it into a rectangular shape about a half an inch thick, longer than it is wide. If the dough gets sticky, sprinkle a little more flour on the dough’s surface and on your hands.
- Make the filling. Melt the butter in the microwave and stir in the brown sugar and the spices. Spread this over the rectangle of dough, leaving an inch of bare dough at the top. Sprinkle one cup of the toasted pecans over the dough, if using. Starting at the edge closest to you, roll the dough into a cylinder and pinch it closed at the top.
- One more brief rise and bake. Rub a tablespoon of soft butter into the bottom of two 9×13 baking dishes, two 9-inch cake pans, or a combination. Using a bench cutter or a sharp knife, cut the cylinder into individual rolls 1 – 1½ inches thick. Place them into your baking dishes so they have a little wiggle room on all sides to rise. Cover them with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise until they fill the pan and look puffy, 30 minutes for already-warm dough and 1 hour for dough that’s been refrigerated.
- About 20 minutes before baking, begin heating the oven to 375°. When the rolls are risen, bake them for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden and starting to look toasted around the edges. Rotate the pans halfway through cooking.
- Make the glaze. While the rolls are baking, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and butter. When the butter has melted, add the brown sugar and salt. Stir until the brown sugar has melted. Remove from heat and strain into a mixing bowl to remove any sugar clumps. Stir in the powdered sugar. This should form a thick but pourable glaze.
- Top and serve. Let the baked rolls cool for about five minutes and pour the glaze on top. Sprinkle the remaining cup of pecans over the top (if desired). Serve immediately.