in the kitchen: pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls

 About a month ago, I came across this recipe for cinnamon rolls that had squash in them.  I was intrigued so I decided to give it a go.  And wouldn't you know it, the things were actually really tasty.  The squash was a great substitute for butter or oil, and they didn't affect the taste of the rolls at all.  However, I wasn't as impressed with the "glaze" the recipe called for to go on top.  Call me old-fashioned, but all cinnamon rolls require icing of some kind.  I hope you agree.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve.  I decided to try this recipe again, only using pumpkin instead of squash and making an icing to go on top instead.  The result:  deliciousness.  My husband and in-laws loved eating these on Christmas morning (though strangely enough, my toddler wasn't interested in partaking in gooey, cinnamon goodness so his opinion is unavailable at this time...weirdo!).

Here's my updated recipe.  I used my bread machine to knead the dough, so if you don't have one of these wonderful appliances I'd suggest looking at the original recipe and follow the directions to knead it by hand.  Either way, you can do most of the work the night before and then bake them off in the morning, so that's a bonus.  Who wants to get up at the buttcrack of dawn to make cinnamon rolls?  Not me.

A friendly word of caution...this dough is REALLY sticky.  Make sure you really flour your hands, your rolling pin, your counter, EVERYTHING.  I might try adding another 1/2 cup of flour to the dough next time to see if that does anything.  Either way, it'll roll out okay as long as you make sure all your surfaces are floured (if that's even a word...okay, it is now).  Okay, on to the recipe.

Anne's Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls
(adapted from Cooking Light and Money-Saving Mom)

The Rolls.
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of ground cloves
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon canola oil

Combine first 3 ingredients in your bread machine's baking pan and let sit for 10 minutes.  In a separate bowl, combine both flours, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, stirring with a whisk.  Once the 10 minutes are up, add the pumpkin puree and the oil to the baking pan, followed by the flour mixture.  Put the baking pan in the machine and choose the "dough" setting.  {At one point while the machine was kneading the dough, I realized it was really sticky and not really incorporating well.  So I added about 1/2 cup all-purpose flour to the pan and helped the dough along with a spoon.  Still experimenting with this part!}

The Filling.
3-4 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Once the dough has finished rising in the machine, take the pan out and punch the dough down.  Let it sit for five minutes then turn it out onto a floured surface.  Use a rolling pin coated in flour to roll the dough into a rectangle (roughly 12 X 20 inches, doesn't have to be exact or anything).  Combine the 3 ingredients listed above in a small bowl and then rub all over the dough rectangle, leaving a 1/4 inch border on all sides.  {In hindsight, it may have been easier to brush the melted butter on the dough first, then sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar and rub it in that way.  Just a thought.}  Roll the dough up, starting with one of the long sides.

Now you're ready to cut.  I used the tutorial found here.  It's the easiest, cleanest, and fastest way to do it.  Dental floss, who knew??  :o)  Anyway, first I used the floss to make little hash-marks in the dough to divide it into about 16 rolls, then followed the directions on the tutorial to cut the rolls out.

Place the rolls cut-side-down in a 13 X 9 glass or ceramic baking dish coated with nonstick spray.

Now, if you've done all this the night before, all you have to do now is cover the dish with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.  I did leave mine out for about half an hour just to let them rise a little more before going in the fridge, but I really don't know if it made a difference or not since they were still even bigger by the next morning.

Anyway, whenever you want to eat them, bake them at 350 degrees for around 20 to 25 minutes.  Just watch them and once they look golden brown, take them out and IMMEDIATELY spread the following ooey gooey goodness all over them.

The Icing.
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice coffee creamer (or milk with a little cinnamon mixed in if that's easier)
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all ingredients in a bowl using a whisk or handheld electric mixer.  Spread evenly on freshly baked cinnamon rolls.  Enjoy!

YUM.  These rolls are softer than traditional cinnamon rolls but are just as delicious.  I used the coffee creamer in the icing on a whim since I had it on hand, and I'm so glad I did.  Since you just use a teaspoon, it's not overkill at all.  Just enough flavor to complement the pumpkin and spices in the rolls.

Obviously this recipe is still somewhat of a work in progress (hence all the sidenotes and stuff).  But this preliminary version has already exceeded my expectations so I don't think I'll tweak it all that much.  I'm just thrilled and amazed that this instance of recipe-morphing actually worked!  :o)

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