The holidays are finally upon us! This year has seriously been the most monotonous and eventless years of my life thanks to Covid, but it’s also flown by insanely fast. I honestly could only name like 5 specific events that have happened since March; the rest are all hard to remember–my memories blur together and sometimes I have a hard time differentiating between each one. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a rough time for all of us. I feel like that’s why Christmas decorations and drinking hot cocoa are giving me so much extra happiness lately. I really can’t wait to spend time buying gifts, wrapping presents, and bundling up to watch season 4 of Attack on Titan!
Even though Thanksgiving is over, it’s not December yet, which means pumpkin season is still in full swing for me. I’ve missed baking so much (it’s been like 2 months since I last posted…oops), and I’m back with these bomb pumpkin cinnamon rolls!! These rolls are insanely soft, sweet, and perfect to enjoy alongside a hot cup of coffee. With a slight kick of spice, they’re not overpoweringly pumpkin. Just a subtle addition to a classic recipe that will leave you in the mood to change into your PJs and infuse you with the holiday spirit.
How to make the pumpkin cinnamon rolls
- When activating the yeast, make sure that it’s nice and frothy; if not, it’s probably because the milk was too hot or the yeast is expired. Make sure that there are bubbles and a nice and foamy top to ensure that the dough will rise!
- Depending on how humid your environment is, it’s a good idea to start off with 4 cups of flour and add the remaining 1/2 as needed. You don’t want the dough to be too dry, but it also can’t be a sticky, runny mess. It should be slightly tacky, but not as firm as a bread dough.
- The pumpkin gives these cinnamon rolls such a pretty orange hue; I’ve seen people warn against using pumpkin pie filling, but honestly I don’t see why not if you have some on hand! Just use 1/2 tsp of cinnamon instead.
- Make sure the dough has doubled in size before punching it down. If it hasn’t risen properly, transfer it to a warmer environment (I like preheating my oven to 115 degrees and letting it rise with the door slightly ajar). Otherwise, your yeast might be dead and you might have to start over :(
- When you spread the filling onto the dough, make sure you leave a slight border! You don’t want it spilling out the sides when you roll it up.
- When cutting the log, I like to cut off the ends before slicing it into 12 even pieces. Don’t worry, I bake them separately and eat them dipped in the cream cheese frosting!
- You can store your rolls in the fridge for up to 16 hours; the benefit to this is that you can just bake them off in the morning and have warm cinnamon rolls to enjoy for breakfast!
- I like to add a little pumpkin in the cream cheese frosting as well, just for the subtle orange tint. You can barely taste the pumpkin (and you can also add more than a tablespoon if you really like the pumpkin flavor).
- The pecans are the perfect crunchy addition to an otherwise soft/fluffy treat, which is something that takes it to a whole other level, imo. If you don’t like nuts, you don’t have to… but I 10/10 recommend!
This recipe is based off of the one I made 3 years ago (this one), and, despite making some minor adjustments, it’s still my go-to cinnamon roll recipe that never fails to disappoint! I don’t know why I called them cinnamon roll muffins–they’re just regular cinnamon rolls baked in a muffin tin–but it’s kind of crazy to think that I still use something I made soooo long ago, haha.
I hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving and are getting excited for the upcoming new year (!!2021 is so crazy to think about!)
Oh, and as always, you make any of my recipes, make sure to tag me on Instagram @mysouthernsweettooth and post on Pinterest as well! :)
- 2¼ tsp yeast (1 package)
- 1 cup milk, lukewarm (about 90ºF)
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 4½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 egg, room temp
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
- ⅔ cup pumpkin puree
- 3 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cloves
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 tbsp milk (depending on how thick/thin you like your frosting)
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp pumpkin puree (optional)
- ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
- In a small bowl, whisk together lukewarm milk, yeast, and granulated sugar. Set aside for about 5 minutes, until the yeast has proofed and is nice and frothy.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon (you could do this in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, but I prefer doing this by hand). Make a well in the center and pour in the milk/yeast mixture, along with the room temperature egg, melted butter, and pumpkin puree. Mix until well incorporated.
- Once a rough dough has been formed, place on a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple minutes, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking, until the dough is slightly tacky but mostly smooth. Place into a well-oiled bowl (I just use the same bowl I made the dough in because I'm lazy), cover with a damp dish towel, and let it rise for an hour, until doubled in size. I like to preheat my oven to about 115 degrees and let it rise in there, with the oven door slightly ajar.
- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove, then set aside for later. Punch down the dough, then remove from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough into about 20 inch by 18 inch rectangle.
- Spread the melted butter over the entire surface with a pastry brush, leaving a slight ½ inch border around the edges. Then, evenly sprinkle over the brown sugar mixture. Starting from the longer side, carefully roll the dough into a log. Pinch the seam of the dough to seal, then roll and face seam side down.
- Using a knife (OR dental floss... I just use a knife because I'm lazy), cut the log into 12 equally sized pieces. Arrange the cinnamon rolls in a well-buttered 9x13 inch baking dish, and cover tightly with cling wrap. Refrigerate for up to 14 hours.
- Remove rolls from the fridge, remove cling wrap, and allow to rise in a warm environment for about 30 minutes (again, I recommend preheating the oven to about 115 degrees with the door ajar). Then, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30-35 minutes.
- While the cinnamon roll muffins are baking, make the frosting. In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add 2 tbsp milk, whisking until combined. Add powdered sugar, whisking again until combined. You may add a little more milk if you like your icing to be a little more runny.
- Serve the cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven with a heaping spoonful of the frosting, topped with some pecans if desired. Enjoy!!!