pumpkin cinnamon rolls

Ok, I've been meaning to post this recipe for a while now, and keep getting distracted by other things.  (You know, like Christmas baking and a baby on the way!)  :o)

I had actually never made homemade cinnamon rolls before these, but I am now converted and will be making these again and again!  (Especially the amazing cream cheese frosting...  think Cinnabon!)

The pumpkin flavor is mild, but definitely there and adds a lovely warm touch to the cinnamon rolls.  You can substitute vanilla for the maple syrup in the frosting, but it really does add a lovely layer of flavor with the pumpkin, if you have it!

These freeze wonderfully...  baked or un-baked.  I made a full batch and froze two-thirds of the formed cinnamon rolls in a pan to bake at a later time.  This is a perfect treat to stock in the freezer for un-expected company!

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

for the dough:
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm (not hot) water
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup warm (not hot) milk
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup pumpkin purée
6 cups flour (approximately)
for the filling:
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
for the frosting:
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or 1 teaspoon vanilla)
1/8 teaspoon salt

for the dough:
In a small dish, stir together the warm water, yeast and sugar and set aside to proof (watch it bubble and grow a bit, so you know it's still good!) for a few minutes.

In the bowl of your stand mixer with the standard mixer blade, mix together the proven yeast mixture, the warm milk, melted butter, sugar, salt and pumpkin purée until well combined.  Mix in 3 cups of the flour, and then continue to add the flour - 1/2 cup at a time - until the dough gets somewhat hard to mix.

Switch to your dough hook and continue to add in flour while it kneads on low speed until the dough is barely sticky (like bread dough).

Rub a bit of oil around the ball of dough and place it in a large bowl with a clean towel on top.  Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free place and let the dough rise for 1-2 hours, or however long it takes to double in size.

Gently punch down the dough, and remove it to a lightly-floured board to roll out.  Roll the dough out to approximately a 12x24" rectangle.

for the filling:
Pour the melted butter all over the rolled-out dough, spreading it out evenly.  In a small bowl, mix together the sugars and cinnamon and sprinkle the mixture evenly all over the melted butter.

Roll the dough up tightly into a long roll, pressing the edge to seal it.  Cut the log into 16 rolls and place the rolls into buttered pans.  (You will probably need a 9x13" pan and an 8" square pan to fit all of the rolls.)  Cover the pans with a clean towel and let the rolls raise for another hour or so until they have about doubled in size.

While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Once they are ready, place the rolls in the oven to bake for about 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and the insides are no longer doughy.

for the frosting:
While the cinnamon rolls are baking, beat together all the ingredients until creamy and spread over the warm cinnamon rolls when they come out of the oven!

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