November is here, which means Thanksgiving planning season has officially begun in my family. The emails start to pour in just as the last trick-or-treaters head home. October ends with Halloween and November begins every year with an enthusiastic email from my aunt titled “THANKSGIVING!!!!!” What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Where should we have for Thanksgiving dinner? Who is bringing the pie? Your cousin might be in town, can someone forward this email to him? What are your in-laws’ plans? Is this your first Thanksgiving as a married couple??? (Nope, it’s our third.) Does anyone even like sweet potatoes? YES WE LIKE THE SWEET POTATOES. And so on and so forth.
I’ve had Thanksgiving on my mind all week, and with all the talk of turkey and my cousin’s favorite sweet potatoes, I’ve been craving my favorite Thanksgiving treat- Pumpkin Pie. If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know I have a pretty serious pumpkin addiction. I bake pumpkin spice bagels year round, and I started drinking iced pumpkin spice lattes in July with no shame. Flipping through my recipe book, I found my overnight cinnamon rolls recipe. Scrumptious, hearty whole wheat cinnamon rolls just waiting to be pumpkin-fied. And just like that, pumpkin pie rolls were born.
The dough begins with whole wheat flour and a generous helping of pumpkin puree. I love how the pumpkin complements the nutty flavor of whole wheat. Not a fan of whole wheat? You can substitute white flour for whole wheat flour. However, consider trying white whole wheat flour– all the nutritional benefits of whole wheat, but with a lighter color and milder taste. Along with pumpkin, whole wheat flour might just be another one of my obsessions. I find myself including it in all kinds of recipes, swapping it out for white flour, which has almost no nutritional value.
For the filling, I replaced the cinnamon sugar with pumpkin pie filling- so delicious. These pumpkin pie rolls are so aromatic, my entire house smells like Thanksgiving and fall. And of course no cinnamon roll is complete without a generous helping of cream cheese frosting!
Rich, decadent flavor of pumpkin pie packed into a whole wheat cinnamon roll. I can almost pretend it’s a healthy breakfast. A healthy breakfast covered in frosting. Oops.
Warning: pumpkin pie roll glamour shots ahead!
- ½ cup warm milk
- ⅓ cup warm water
- 2 ¼ teaspoons yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
- ⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 ½ tablespoons butter, room temperature
- ¾ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar into warm milk and water in a large bowl.
- Sprinkle yeast on top and let stand for 10 minutes, or until mixture is foaming.
- Add remaining sugar and other ingredients and mix until smooth. If you are using a stand mixer (with the dough hook attachment) like me, you can put all the ingredients in at once and let your mixer do the work. If you are mixing the old fashioned way, alternate adding milk and flour. Stir until well combined.
- Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth (stand mixer friends- 5 minutes on medium speed).
- Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
- While your dough is resting, mix brown sugar, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. in a small bowl. Break up large chunks of sugar with a fork or whisk, mixing until smooth.
- When the dough is ready, place on a well-floured surface and roll into a large rectangle using a floured rolling pin. Trim the edges as necessary. Dough should be approximately ¼ inch thick, in an approximately 12x 15 inch rectangle.
- Brush dough with melted butter using a pastry brush.
- Spread pumpkin filling Leave a ½ inch border on one of the shorter sides- this will be the outer edge of your cinnamon roll.
- Roll the dough lengthwise, starting on the opposite end from your border. Use your fingers to pinch the dough and roll tightly. The dough will not stick to the filling, making it more difficult to roll tightly. At the end of the roll, use the dough border to stick and seal the roll.
- Press down on the seam to seal, and place your pumpkin pie roll log seam side down.
- Cut dough into 12 equal pieces using a sharp knife or a piece of unflavored dental floss. I used a knife to portion and score my cuts, but using a string results in a more precise cut and keeps the form of the cinnamon roll. To cut dough with dental floss, slide a length of floss under the dough. Cross dental floss and pull, allowing the floss to cut easily through the dough.
- Place pumpkin pie rolls in a greased pie pan or 9x13 baking pan.
- Cover and stick in the fridge overnight. If you are using wheat flour, this step is very important. Allowing the dough to rest overnight helps the bran breakdown, resulting in a more desirable texture.
- In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and remove pumpkin pie rolls from the refrigerator.
- Uncover your cinnamon rolls and bake 20-25 minutes, or until slightly browned.
- Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
- While cinnamon rolls are cooling, prepare your icing.
- Cream butter and cream cheese until well mixed.
- Add vanilla, lemon juice and powdered sugar, and beat until smooth. Spoon over hot cinnamon rolls, and enjoy with a glass of milk or a pumpkin spice latte (I won't judge).
Guys, I cannot believe I’ve been slicing cinnamon rolls with a knife all this time. This dental floss hack is a game changer! It’s so easy, and the rolls turn out so much prettier. The two pumpkin pie rolls on the right (the ones that look sad and misshapen) were cut with a knife and the rest were cut with dental floss. This video is a great tutorial if you are a visual learner like me.
I was a little nervous to hear my husband’s opinion. Luke isn’t pumpkin-obsessed like his wife, and he definitely prefers white flour to anything whole wheat. But these pumpkin pie rolls get two big thumbs up! Since all the work is done the night before, they are perfect for Sunday breakfast, or maybe even a week day!
These pumpkin pie rolls are part of a bigger, grander plan. This year, we are inviting family and friends over for “Black Friday Brunch”, to be followed by games, a walk along the Minnehaha Parkway (to burn off pumpkin pie roll calories, of course), and spend time together instead of waiting in long lines at the mall. What are your brunch favorites? What should we serve at our Thanksgiving inspired brunch? I can’t wait to hear your ideas!