Prior to Thanksgiving weekend, it had been many, many months since I made something yeasted. Fortunately yeast doesn’t intimidate me as much as it used to, but I still don’t make a regular practice of utilizing it in my recipes. I think that’s the impatient side of me coming out — why wait hours for bread to rise when I can wait only one hour and have a tasty quick bread ready for immediate consumption?
The answer, obviously, is that the two are not the same — not in taste, texture, or purpose. But it’s still hard for me to find the patience and motivation that yeast takes, so I tend to save it for times when my schedule allows. Over Thanksgiving, I made these amazing Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns, drenched in a Maple Cream Cheese frosting. They’re fairly straight forward as far as breakfast buns go, and you can make them the night ahead which is always a huge plus in my book.
Also… when was anything drenched in maple and/or cream cheese frosting a bad thing?!
I also tried my hand at making clover rolls, and those came out wonderfully — post coming soon! Thanksgiving brought a baking frenzy, and it’s no small miracle that I only gained a few pounds, instead of 10.
For now, I’ll leave you with this recipe. I like to think I made these a teensy bit healthier by subbing white whole wheat flour for all-purpose (though you certainly could use all-purpose), but then I remembered that you smear the insides with a stick of butter… and the healthy theory went out the window. Oh well!
Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- 3 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce packet)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 large egg, lightly whisked
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- Cinnamon, to taste (I used about a tablespoon)
- 3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (toasted, if you’d like)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- Pinch salt
- 3-4 tablespoons cream, or as needed to reach desired consistency
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add 3 1/4 cups flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, yeast and salt. Set aside.
- In a large glass measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter.
- Add buttermilk and pumpkin to melted butter and warm to appropriate temperature to activate yeast, about 105-115 degrees F (though check your particular brand’s packaging for specifics). If the milk separates or gets a little funny looking after being warmed, whisk it to smooth it out.
- Add buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients in mixing bowl. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg, then add to dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. With mixer on low speed, allow dough to knead for about 7 minutes, until a cohesive ball of dough has formed and is pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If you need to add flour, do so only a couple tablespoons at a time. Conversely – if the dough is dry, add a touch of buttermilk.
- Coat a large bowl with oil or cooking spray, and place the dough in the bowl, flipping once so both sides are oiled. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and place in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 2-2 ½ hours, or until doubled in size.
- After dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a floured countertop. With a rolling pin, roll out to about 26 x 13-inches.
- Using a knife or spatula, evenly spread softened butter all over rolled out dough, leaving a 1/2-inch bare margin all around.
- Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar, then cinnamon, and then walnuts over the top, and lightly pat it down with your fingertips to help it stick.
- Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a tightly wound log, ultimately ending with the seam side down.
- Using a knife, make small hash marks along the length of the dough, making more or less depending on the size of buns you’d prefer. I start by making a hash mark in the center of the roll, and working my way out from there. I portioned my dough into 12 large rolls.
- Line a 9 x 13-inch aluminum pan with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray.
Proofing and Baking
- Arrange the rolls in the prepared pan, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until the rolls have doubled in size, about an hour longer.
- At this point, you can either bake off the rolls, or refrigerate them overnight. If you’re going to chill overnight, keep covered tightly and store in the refrigerator. Try not to exceed ~16 hours in the refrigerator!
- If baking immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and bake at 375 for 16-18 minutes. Buns will be done when they are lightly golden brown and cooked through. Remove from over and let cool in their pan while you make the glaze.
- For baking buns after refrigeration: let sit out at room temperature for about an hour before baking, then follow baking instructions above.
- In a medium bowl, add cream cheese, confectioners sugar, a pinch of salt, and 3 tablespoons cream, and beat with a handheld mixer until smooth and congruous. If frosting is too thick, add more cream until you reach your desired consistency.
- Pour glaze over warm rolls , gently spreading with a spatula to cover each bun entirely. Eat while warm!