The trouble with adding pumpkin puree to cinnamon rolls is that too much of it can make the dough dense and keep it from rising properly. The trick to getting the pumpkin flavor to shine through is not just in the dough, but in adding pumpkin puree and/or spices to the filling and frosting. I also included a plain cream cheese frosting for those of you who prefer a more subtle pumpkin-y flavor.
- 3–4 cups all-purpose flour, may need a bit more
- 1/4 cup coconut/cane sugar or other sweetener of choice
- 1 tablespoon instant rapid rise yeast
- 1 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup warm milk of choice (heated to approx 115ºF. I used almond milk)
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1/3 cup butter or oil of choice (I like avocado oil, olive oil, etc. Can also use dairy-free butter.)
- 1/3–1/2 cup butter, softened not melted (can use dairy-free)
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice)
Cream Cheese Frosting: (pumpkin version below)
- 4 oz. cream cheese or mascarpone (can use dairy-free)
- 1 tablespoon softened butter, room temperature (can use dairy-free)
- 1–3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 3–4 tablespoons maple syrup or coconut sugar, use more or less to taste
- 1/2–3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (can also use cinnamon if you don’t have pumpkin pie spice) can use more or less to taste
- 4 oz. cream cheese (if using dairy-free, drain liquid first)
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- Combine 2 cups of flour, sugar, instant yeast, spices, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add warm milk, pumpkin puree, and oil, blending until mixture is combined and smooth.
- Knead in extra flour, a little at a time, until it forms a soft dough. Careful not to add too much flour or the rolls will be dry and hard. Will also add more as you roll it out.
- Cover and let dough rest in a warm place for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine coconut sugar with spices and set aside.
- Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a large rectangle.
- Spread softened butter generously over the surface of the dough and top with the sugar/spice mixture.
- Beginning at the long edge of the rectangle, tightly roll dough into a log.
- You can use a sharp knife, but I prefer to cut each roll with dental floss, which doesn’t flatten them.
- To use floss, place long string of floss under the rolled dough and criss cross the ends to cleanly slice the roll into equal slices.
- Divide roll in half and then each half into six–seven equal portions, about 1 to 1-1/2 inch slices. Depending on how big your rolled out your rectangle, you may get more or less slices. Place slices into a 13×9 pan greased with butter or lined with parchment lined.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until rolls have almost doubled in size. If your kitchen is cold you can turn your oven on for a few minutes and then turn it off so that it is slightly warm inside. Should be warm and not too hot to touch. Place pan into the oven to rise (make sure it’s turned off!) Close to the end of the rising time, remove pan and preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- Place pan onto the middle rack and bake for 20–25 minutes, or just until rolls are lightly golden around the edges and centers are puffed. Don’t overbake.
- Remove and let cool slightly before topping with frosting. Makes 12–15 rolls.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Blend together cream cheese, softened butter, maple syrup, and vanilla until creamy. Add a splash of milk if frosting is too thick. Spread frosting over warm rolls.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Combine pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice in a small saucepan and cook over medium–low heat until puree is smooth and thick, like pumpkin butter. Should only take a few minutes. Remove and let cool.
- In a separate bowl, blend together the cream cheese and softened butter. Beat in cooled pumpkin mixture a spoonful at a time until frosting reaches desired taste and consistency. Add additional spices and/or sweetener as necessary. Due to the pumpkin addition, this frosting will be easily spreadable and not too thick. Slather frosting on warm pumpkin rolls.
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Category: Dessert, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free