Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls – The Least Scary Halloween Treat, Ever!

When I was asked to join some of my fellow foodies on YouTube, to produce a video for a special seasonal playlist called “Halloween Sweet Treats,” I sat down and considered all the scary sweets recipes in my repertoire. After several minutes of deep thought, I realized I had nothing.

Not to sound like a curmudgeon, but sticking broken pretzels into a marshmallow and calling it a “scary spider,” just isn’t my thing. So, instead of trying to figure out how to make a chocolate truffle look like a bleeding eyeball, I made a batch of pumpkin cinnamon rolls. They may not be scary (what’s the opposite of scary?), but they are seasonal, and incredibly delicious.

I used to joke that when Halloween/Thanksgiving time rolls around, the only thing a chef has to do to make a recipe seasonal is to add some pumpkin to it. Chili with a spoon of pumpkin stirred in? Halloween chili! Dinner rolls with a spoon of pumpkin kneaded into the dough? Thanksgiving dinner rolls!

Well, that’s exactly what I did here, and while it may be formulaic, it also produced the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever tasted. One key is a nice soft, sticky dough. Be sure to only add enough flour so that the dough just barely pulls away from the side of the bowl as it kneads.

You can certainly embellish by adding some chopped walnuts or pecans to the cinnamon-sugar layer, but since I decided to garnish with pumpkin seeds, I went sans nuts. Anyway, despite not being very horrifying, these really would make a special treat at any Halloween party. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 16 Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls:
(I used a deep 13 x 9 baking dish)
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes

For the dough:
1 package of dry yeast
1/4 cup very warm water (about 100-105 degrees F.)
1/2 tsp white sugar
1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 cup heavy cream (can sub milk, but cream is better)
1 tsp fine salt
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1/4 tsp allspice)
1 large egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 to 4 cups all purpose flour (divided), as needed 
 (add enough flour to mixer so that dough just barely pulls away from sides, and a very soft, slightly sticky dough is formed)
*knead for at least 6-7 minutes

For the filling:
5 tbsp melted butter, brushed on rolled dough
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon

*For the glaze:
1/4 cup room temperature cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk, or as needed
1/4 tsp vanilla extract, optional
*adjust glaze by adding more powdered sugar or milk to achieve desired consistency
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds to garnish

64 comments:

Ariel said...

Any idea of exactly how much volume a "package" of dry yeast is? I feel like I've seen varying sizes, and I don't want to get this wrong!

Chef John said...

It's 2 1/4 tsp.

Trisha said...

The way my stomach just roared (not grumbled) after reading the ingredients and looking at that picture was nearly vulgar.. bahaha happy friday! I love your site.

Capri Primerano said...

OMG These look amazimg, and I just happen to have some pumpkin left over from making Pumpkin Pasties for my Halloween Party. I would invite you Chef John but I live way to far from you!

Nadia said...

What size baking dish did you use? Is it 9" by 13"?

Anonymous said...

Pumpkin Pasties eh?

Russell van Kraayenburg said...

Look at these! They look scrumptious!

Chef John said...

I used a deep 13 x 9 baking dish (see ingredient list)

Laura said...

Hmmm... so sticking pretzels into marshmellows to make spiders = not your thing. But in 2009, sticking string cheese into hot sauce to make "severed fingers" was cool!

http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2009/10/halloween-special-severed-finger-cheese.html

Anyways... love the recipe, looks delicious!

L. Hitt said...

Chef John, you need to put pinmarklet on your site so people can pin the recipes to Pinterest. I really wanted to pin this one, but I'm settling for a Facebook link. These look incredible!

Per aspera ad astra said...

Sorry for this dumb question, Chef. What is the volume of 1 cup in ml? Thank you:)

Anonymous said...

Could you leave out all of the pumpkin ingredients (spices/puree) and have a standard cinnamon roll? Or is this recipe designed with the pumpkin puree in mind, in terms of the final texture of the dough?

ToddGBaker said...

Do you have a how to write up or is it just in the video?

Chef John said...

You can leave out pumpkin but you need to add 1/2 of something wet, like more cream or water, to make up the difference.

Chibby said...

Pro tip:We used to make cinnamon rolls at work for breakfast and you can prepare them up to the point of the second rise(after they've rolled)butter some disposable muffin tins and stick one roll a piece in each cup and freeze the tin to be pulled out as needed(it was a cute little 12 table restaurant)So we'd pull out a tray of 6 every morning,thaw it,then proof it,and then bake as a part of morning prep.Cool idea that can be transferred to home if you ever want to surprise houseguests without all the work while entertaining.Not to mention you could double the batch since this is kinda a pain to assemble.

Keith said...

I have never... just... oh my! I'll be making these to bring to work on Monday!

Is there any way of making these into mini cinnamon rolls to get more out of them (to feed more people)? If so, would that affect the baking time. I imagine it would need less baking time, but by how much?

Chef, I've been watching your videos on YouTube and visiting your website for years. I'm in awe, although not surprised, at how your views, subscribers and fans have grown exponentially. It's just incredible to see SO MANY views on your videos. I don't know of any other YouTube cooking shows that have achieved that.

Chef John said...

I'm sure you can do as mini, but I don't have times for you. thanks!

Chef John said...

L. Hitt, thanks for the idea. I figured out how to add one.

CrescentSkies said...

I must create this...and then eat it...and then rinse and repeat! Great now I have to watch my weight before AND after Halloween :P

Yekuno Walters said...

Hi Chef John can you knead this by hand?

Yekuno Walters said...

Hi Chef John can you knead this by hand?

Chef John said...

Sure!

cookinmom said...

Oh, thanks so much for putting the pinterest button on!!!! I so wished that it was there so many times but figured you had a reason for not having it. Hate to say it but you are now going to be all over Pinterest!!!! Thanks L.Hitt!!!

Anonymous said...

Ohhh crepe, now you are associated with Pintrest...what's next, arm wrestling with Muscles Glasses from EMT?

Anonymous said...

Nope, I hate pumpkin.

Carolina said...

I really can't find allspice around here :s what spices can I use instead? Thank You so much

Anonymous said...

@per aspera ad astra

1 fluid cup = 237 ml

or as I would do it - a shy 250 ml

Kea Pene said...

Can I use a bread maker? :)

Anonymous said...

Can I use a bread maker :)

Barbara said...

Hello Chef John,
I really like your blog, you are one of my favorite chefs!
Congratulations for this recipe, I prepared today and everyone liked! I included in my blog.
See you soon,
Barbara

Anonymous said...

Can I make these the night before and just bake them the next day?

Chef John said...

No! :)

L. Hitt said...

Great! I pinned it.

Now, did you put a temp. and baking time on here? I can't find it. Did I overlook it?

Chef John said...

I added to ingr. list. Generally I don't write any steps, but on baking items like this I've been adding to ingr. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Hi Chef John. My dough is doing it's first rise now, but I'm a bit concerned. I ended up using at least a cup of flour less than what the recipe calls for. Is that normal? I read and re-read the ingredients list to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Chef John said...

Yes, that would be weird. Maybe you packed the flour in the first 3 cups, so it was really like 4 properly measured?

Unknown said...

I just basically scooped and scraped the top of the cup with a knife...but I thought a cup less was odd - even allowing for humidity etc.....we'll see - just finished the second rise and is now in the oven. The dough rolled out fine though. Fingers crossed

Unknown said...

Came out awesome!! My 4 year old even ate one.....dunno what happened as far as the flour goes, but I figured I had the right texture dough based on what you described and showed. I just have to roll tighter next time. I will absolutely make these again!! Thx.

ps4sp said...

I had the same issue as the last post. After 3 cups of flour, the dough was quite dry. I added more cream and another 1/4 cups of flour (3.25 cups total). It's on the first rise now. I'm hoping for the best! :)

melissa said...

for the folks who were sad about not having the pinmarklet- download the pinmarklet button for your toolbar, then you can pin from ANY website (with a photo, anyway). i've been pinning chef john for quite a while now using that button. =)

anon. said...

hi chef John!
can I use apple purée instead of apple?
and if not
do I jut 1/2 a cup of milk to replace the pumpkin?

anon. said...

Can I use apple purée?

anon. said...

Can I use apple purée instead of pumpkin
If not
Do I just put half s cup of milk to substitute it?

Chef John said...

never tried with apple, but any similar amount of something wet should be fine.

Kimboo said...

I love your videos and blog. I just made this recipe (my dough is rising now) I didn't add the pumpkin. As i was reading the comments, I didn't know I was suppose to add 1/2 cup of milk or something else. I only watched the video and decided to try it. So I'm guessing my cinnamon rolls are going to be hard and dry :( THANX for the recipe

Kimboo said...

I love your videos and blog. I just made this recipe (my dough is rising now) I didn't add the pumpkin. As i was reading the comments, I didn't know I was suppose to add 1/2 cup of milk or something else. I only watched the video and decided to try it. So I'm guessing my cinnamon rolls are going to be hard and dry :( THANX for the recipe

Kimboo said...

I love your videos and blog. I just made this recipe (my dough is rising now) I didn't add the pumpkin. As i was reading the comments, I didn't know I was suppose to add 1/2 cup of milk or something else. I only watched the video and decided to try it. So I'm guessing my cinnamon rolls are going to be hard and dry :( THANX for the recipe

Balboali said...

Hi Chef John,

Just finished making these and I have to concur with the other two posters about the quantity of flour. I ended up using just shy of 3 cups of flour(leveled, unpacked). My kitchen was quite cold, not sure if that had anything to do with it though. They came out great anyway!

Simin Soltani said...

I made this for first time to take it to a party. oh my God, I could impress every one. Thank you so much for your blog. It is wonderful.

diegan5 said...

Dear Chef John. . .by any chance. . is the REASON not to make the night before and then bake the day after. . due to the fact that these rolls become more BREAD like? If so I found my answer to why these keep coming out like bread rolls. .yummy but not fluffy like yours. .
Or can you tell me what i am doing wrong that causes mine to form a harder crust and bread like texture on the inside ? ? ?

Chef John said...

I think they would over rise if you tried to make the day before baking! Unless I watched you make them and felt your dough, I wouldn't be able to tell. Probably your dough is too dry.

devi maharaj said...

Chef John ,what brand of yeast do you use ?...

Unknown said...

Hey CJ! So if I were to omit the pumpkin purée I could just replace it with milk or cream? Same amount?

Unknown said...

Chef John, is it okay to replace the pumpkin with sweet potato? If so do I have to omit the sugar?

Chef John said...

You can, but not sure about the sugar. Would have to test.

Joey Wong said...

Hi Chef John! I'd just like to ask if it was okay to omit the sugar?

Carly Reez said...

Hi Chef John,
Can you please make chocolate cinnamon rolls...google cinnabons if you don't know about them. They're delicious! :)

Cathy said...

Chef John, does the 6-7 minute knead include the total mixing time or is that from the time the dough comes together (off the sides of the bowl)? Thanks!

Chef John said...

probably total, but exact time not important, as you'll know when it's ready.

Brittany Dao said...

I love this recipe! I'm going to try making pumpkin kolaches and have a cream cheese filling! Thanks for your recipes! You're a pro!

Xin-Ke Ching said...

Super Good Recipe :) Thank you :D

simplelove1437 said...

Made these for Thanksgiving and they turned out amazing! Was extremely proud of myself because I never bake!

ali said...

chef jhon i love love this recipe thanks they came out the exact same as yours they tasted so goooood!

Rachel Page said...

Seriously yum these look great! I will have to try them, thanks for this delicious recipe.