Last Friday, at about 10 pm, I got the crazy idea that I should make a special breakfast treat for the weekend. I had leftover pumpkin puree in the fridge from the cupcakes I’d make a few days earlier, so I knew I wanted to incorporate that into whatever I made. Given that it was already pretty late, my initial instinct was to turn to these pumpkin spice scones. Scones are quick and easy, and while they aren’t my favorite breakfast treat, these particular scones are phenomenal! In the end, though, I decided I wanted to try a new recipe and some Googling led me to these babies. I adore cinnamon buns, but since they’re usually a caloric nightmare, I rarely make them. This lightened up version from Cooking Light was definitely worth a try!
There really isn’t a lot of hands-on time with this recipe so it wasn’t a big deal that I started late. It just takes a few minutes to mix up the dough and then a few more minutes to knead it (I kneaded by hand, but you could do it in your stand mixer if you wanted). You let the dough rise for about 45 minutes, then it’s time to shape the rolls. I wanted warm, gooey, straight-from-the-oven cinnamon buns the next morning, so instead of baking these the night I made them, I followed the recipe to the point of shaping, cutting my rolls and arranging them in the baking dish. Then I covered the dish with plastic wrap and stuck it in the fridge overnight. The next morning I removed the pan from the fridge and let it sit on the counter for about an hour to come to room temperature before baking the rolls. They puffed up beautifully in the oven and once I glazed them, it was time to dig in.
I absolutely loved these rolls! They were terrific warm from the oven, and just as good (if not better) the next day after being warmed in the microwave for about 15 seconds. No, they’re not quite as indulgent as the full-fat version, but that’s sort of the point, isn’t it? These were still completely satisfying – soft and gooey with lots of brown sugar goodness oozing from them. They were gobbled up quickly here, and there’s a high likelihood I’ll be making them again soon. A quick note: the pumpkin lends color and nutrients to the rolls, but not a lot of flavor. That was perfectly fine with me, but if you’re looking for a lot of pumpkin flavor, this probably isn’t the recipe for you (at least as written).
Pumpkin-Cinnamon Streusel Buns
from Cooking Light
1 package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water (100-110 F)
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon hot water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add the yeast to the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Let stand for 5 minutes then add 3 cups of flour and the next 6 ingredients (the pumpkin, milk, melted butter, sugar, salt and nutmeg). Beat at medium speed until smooth. Turn the dough out on a floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10-15 minutes). Use as much of the remaining 3/4 cup of flour as you need to work with the dough – it should be tacky, but not sticky.
Form the dough into a ball and place in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size. A simple test for determining if the dough has risen enough – press two fingers into the dough and if it doesn’t spring back (i.e., the indentation remains), it has risen enough.
While the dough rises, combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. (You could also do this in your food processor – I used my mini prep and it worked perfectly.)
Once risen, punch the dough down then cover and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll the dough into a 12 x 10-inch rectangle on a floured surface. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the dough evenly. Starting with a long edge, roll the dough tightly to form a log. Pinch the seam to seal completely. Cut the log into 12 even slices (I like to cut the log in half down the middle, then cut each half in half and finally slice each of those 4 pieces into 3 even rolls). Place the rolls in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise for 25 minutes or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 F.
Bake the rolls for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack.
To prepare the glaze, combine the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon water, and vanilla extract in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the buns. Serve warm.