Quick Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
I’ve been on a bit of a pumpkin kick. And I was really interested in making cinnamon rolls this afternoon. It just made sense to make a pumpkin version.
This recipe is modified from my baby-friendly cinnamon roll recipe.
I decided to skip some of the rising times, as a trial, and they came out fluffy and moist and delicious. Of course, I added a pumpkin cream cheese glaze to mine, but the actual cinnamon roll part has no processed sugar! You can make two small batches: one with glaze and one without. Or you can just separate a few plain rolls for your baby before adding the glaze to the rest. Or you can save the glaze as a dipping sauce for the non-babies only!
This recipe takes about 20 minutes of hands-on time, plus 30 minutes of rise time, plus 40 minutes of baking time. That’s 1 hour, 30 minutes total, but only 20 minutes is hands-on. Not too shabby! And certainly not impossible.
If you’ve never tried making cinnamon rolls, you need to give these a shot. There is so much room for error, you really won’t mess them up!
QUICK PUMPKIN CINNAMON ROLLS
Makes 12-15 rolls; Good 7 months and up (see notes below)
For the dough
- 0.25-ounce package of active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup very warm water
- 1/2 cup whole milk (or almond or coconut)
- 5 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (or 1/4 cup other fruit purée)
- tiny pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- about 3.5 cups of all-purpose flour
For the filling
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 banana (or 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce or 1/2 cup other fruit purée)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin purée
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
For the (optional) pumpkin cream cheese glaze
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar (here’s how to make your own powdered sugar)
- 4 tbsp butter (more butter, I know!)
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp pumpkin purée
- In a mixing bowl, pour the very warm water.
- Add the yeast and use a fork to help the yeast dissolve. Set the bowl aside.
- In a microwave safe bowl, place the milk and butter. Microwave for 1 minute (broken into two 30-second increments).
- In your yeast+water bowl, pour the milk and melted butter.
- Add the applesauce, salt, egg, and 3 cups of the flour.
- Use the fork to combine everything. You may want to use your hands to really combine everything. If the dough is still sticky, add 2 more spoonfuls of flour and combine again. Continue to add flour until the dough is no longer sticking to your hands.
- Cover the bowl with a towel (or piece of plastic wrap).
- Before you walk away, take out the butter and cream cheese for the glaze, if you’re making it. You want it to be room temperature by the time the rolls come out of the oven, so now is a good time to take them out!
- Set a 30-minute timer, so the dough will rise a bit.
- When the timer goes off, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Now, make your filling. Soften 3 tbsp of the butter and melt 1 tbsp of the butter. (I would put the entire 4 tbsp into the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove 3/4 of it, and microwave the remaining amount for another 30 seconds or so.) Set aside the melted butter.
- In a food processor or blender, dump the 3 tbsp softened butter, banana, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Blend it until everything is smooth and combined.
- Flour your working surface and roll out your dough. It may be a little sticky, so just add a little flour until it isn’t as sticky! Also, it is okay if your dough isn’t a perfect rectangle. Just get as close to a rectangle as you can!
- Spread the melted butter all over the dough, then spread the banana+pumpkin mixture all over the dough as well. Make sure it goes to the edges.
- Spray a glass baking dish (I used a rounded 8×13 dish) with nonstick cooking spray.
- Roll up the dough. It was a little sticky for me, but I slowly worked with it, and I didn’t have any tears or messes! Cut the roll with a sharp knife. If it squishes as you cut it, that’s okay! It will puff up when it cooks!
- Place the cinnamon rolls into the baking dish. They should all touch each other.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes. Mine went 43 minutes. If they look a bit doughy at 35 minutes, add a few minutes at a time.
- Once they are out of the oven, you can make the glaze, if you want. Drizzle it over the rolls and then let everything cool for at least 10 minutes before eating.
- (To make the glaze, just mix all the ingredients together! Easy!)
- As I stated before, you don’t have to let this rise much. But if you do, you’ll just get fluffier rolls at the end. If you have all afternoon, let them rise 2 hours. And after you form the rolls, let them rise another 30-60 minutes as well.
- You can use a 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour if you’d like. I have not used a wheat or self-rising flour, so I can’t speak to how successful those would be.
- For a dairy allergy, you can use a vegan butter (like Earth Balance) and non-dairy milk.
- For an egg allergy, you can use a flax egg, a mashed half of a banana, or 2 tbsp of plain creamy peanut (or almond) butter.
- Freezer? You can certainly make these ahead. I froze my other cinnamon roll recipe, and we enjoyed them 2 months later! Let them cool completely, then separate them and place them in a freezer bag. To reheat, I would use the oven and not the microwave.