Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I found this recipe on a blog I follow. I have N-E-V-E-R been able to get my dough of any kind to rise. I have tried countless times over the last several years to make bread, rolls, pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, etc and I can't get it to rise. I've tried hot water, cold water, new yeast, new flour, different climates....UGH! I found this recipe though and since I am nesting AND since it is fall AND since I love anything with pumpkin in it, I had to try this. It was my first SUCCESS! Booya! SO happy. They are delish! Now if only I can make them last a week, rather than scarfing them down in 3 days....uhh I mean give them away :)

Here are the top 5 tips for baking with yeast that I found with the recipe and I have no doubt they are what helped me this time around.

1.Don’t stick to the rising times listed in the recipe. Those are just guidelines. What you’re really concerned with is: Has the dough doubled in bulk? (This was the most important one for me. My dough took almost twice as long as the recipe suggested, but it was worth being patient. And setting my oven to the "warm" setting and letting it rise in there helped.)

2.So I know I want the dough to double in bulk, but how do I know that’s happened? The easiest way I’ve learned is to dust your finger in flour and stick it into the dough (when you get near the recipe rising time listed). The whole will close up if it’s not ready or if it is ready – try again in 5-10 minutes. When it’s ready, the dough will retain the indentation from your finger.

3.Always start with fresh, newly bought yeast. Using old yeast that’s been in your fridge or pantry for months (or years?) on end is always iffy. I like to buy a few new packets at the start of fall when I know I’ll be baking and replenish as needed.

4.You can bake bread without a bread machine, a stand mixer or a food processor. Really, it’s not that hard. I started out with a hand-me-down bread machine just to get comfortable with things and would run it on the dough cycle, but I quickly found it unnecessary (and a large appliance to store). If you have a stand mixer, by all means: USE IT. But don’t let the lack fancy equipment keep you from making bread. It just takes a little elbow grease, which is actually quite satisfying.

5.Try, try again. Everyone has flops. I’ve had rolls that didn’t quite rise enough and turned out like rocks. I’ve had dry bread. But I’ve also had some really good ones. Don’t let failure keep you from giving it another go.
Now for the good stuff!
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Makes approximately 15-16 rolls

Roll Dough:
1/4 cup warm water (not hot, about 110 degrees)
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm milk
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup pumpkin puree, either fresh or canned
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 cups (approximately) All-Purpose Flour
1 1 /4 cup Whole Wheat Flour (I used more white flour since that's what I had)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 stick butter
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each of allspice and ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves

Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese
1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
2-3 cups powdered sugar


*In a large bowl, stir yeast into water to soften. Let rest for 5 minutes before stirring. Add milk, eggs, pumpkin, butter, 2 cups flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom to yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

*Gradually add remaining flour, a little at a time, until you have a dough stiff enough to knead. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead, adding flour as necessary, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.

*Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

*Combine the white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in a small bowl, set aside. Transfer the risen dough to a lightly greased work surface, and pat or roll it into a 16" x 12" rectangle. Spread softened butter over dough and then sprinkle with the sugar mixture.

*Roll the dough into a log the long way; it'll stretch to about 20" long as you roll. Using a very sharp knife, slice the log into 15 slices. In order to cut down on drag, it helps to rinse the blade in hot water, and wipe it off, between slices. (My Mom always used a piece of thread so that's the method I use. You slide the thread under the roll and over about 1/4" then crisscross and cut the dough.) Place slices in a greased 9x13 inch baking pan (or in two 8 or 9 inch round cake or pie pans). Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

*Bake in a preheated 375°F oven. Bake the rolls till they're brown around the edges and beginning to turn golden brown across the center, about 20-30 minutes.

*While rolls bake, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Add the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and lemon juice to a small food processor. Blend until smooth and combined. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, blending in between, until well mixed and desired consistency is reached. (I used 2 cups powdered sugar)

*Frost warm rolls with the cream cheese frosting and serve immediately.

For night before prep: Prepare the rolls up to the point where you roll and place in the pan. Then, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, remove the pan from the fridge and proceed with the instructions where you left off. Rising time may be slightly longer than noted in the recipe due to the dough being cold vs room temp.


  1. These look delicious!! I am definately going to try this recipe out.

    By the way, I freeze my yeast rather than just refrigerate it and I wonder if that helps it keep longer? Just a though... :)

    I also love the color thing for your baby room. That is kinda how Ava's room was decorated. I just picked colors I liked and went with whatever I found. Cute window project! I hope you guys are doing great! We miss you guys!


  2. Fun blog, Lissa! The pumpkin cinnamon rolls are rising in my oven right now, so here's crossing my fingers. If you want to see our blog its

    I really like the blue paint on the window. I vote keep it!


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