Anywho, one of my favorite things to make with this blessed gourd are pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Yep, that's right. I'll just let that sink in with a picture.
I top this love of mine with my adoration of all things cream cheese. It's seriously good and would be a wonderful treat for Thanksgiving breakfast or just any breakfast. Enjoy my friends, but don't blame me when you gain 5 lbs. ;)
Pumpkin Rolls with Cooked (yes, you read that correctly) Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 16-18 rolls
For the dough:
1/4 cup warm water
1 scant tablespoon yeast (1 package)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 ½ cups fresh pumpkin puree
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it sit a few minutes until the yeast is dissolved.
Meanwhile, warm the milk and butter in a small saucepan on the stove top until the butter is melted. Combine this with the sugar in a large heat-proof mixing bowl and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Let the milk mixture cool until it is just warm to the touch - NOT HOT. Then stir in the yeast and the pumpkin. Add the salt and five cups of the flour all at once, stirring until all the flour has been absorbed. Squish it between your hands if you’re having trouble incorporating the last of the flour. The dough will be sticky, but should come together in a shaggy ball. If it's still more the consistency of cookie batter, work in an additional 1/2 cup of flower.
Cover the dough and let it rise for 1-3 hours. During this time, it should double in bulk. At this point, you can punch the dough down and refrigerate it overnight or continue shaping the rolls.
To shape the rolls (either immediately or with the refrigerated dough), sprinkle your work surface with a little flour and dump the dough on top. Pat it down into a rough rectangle and then use a floured rolling pin to roll it into a rectangular shape about a half an inch thick, longer than it is wide. If the dough gets sticky, sprinkle a little more flour on the dough’s surface and on your hands.
Melt the butter in the microwave and stir in the brown sugar and the spices. Spread this over the rectangle of dough, leaving an inch of bare dough at the top. Sprinkle one cup of the toasted pecans over the dough, if using. Starting at the edge closest to you, roll the dough into a cylinder and pinch it closed at the top.
Grease the pan you desire to use for the rolls. I find that 2 9x13s work best for me. Using twine (or I just really like floss, I mean who doesn’t have an abundance of that on hand?), cut the cylinder into individual rolls 1 - 1 1/2 inches thick. Place them into your baking dishes so they have a little wiggle room on all sides to rise. Cover them with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise until they fill the pan and look puffy, 30 minutes for already-warm dough and 1 hour for dough that’s been refrigerated.
About 20 minutes before baking, begin heating the oven to 375°. When the rolls are ready, bake them for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden and starting to look toasted around the edges. Rotate the pans halfway through cooking.
Now would be a good time to make the frosting. Go ahead and scroll down for the how-to and ingredients.
Let the baked rolls cool for about five minutes and then frost the tops. Eat them immediately. Leftovers will keep for several days and are best reheated for a minute in the microwave.
Cooked Cream Cheese Frosting
16 ounces (2 bars) full-fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature for at least 1 hour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Place the softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (or simply use a large bowl and hand beaters). Whip the cream cheese on high speed for several minutes, until it is completely smooth and silky. Scrape the cream cheese out into a separate bowl and set aside.
Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a small saucepan. Turn the heat on to medium and slowly add the milk, whisking constantly. It will look lumpy at first but whisk vigorously to create a smooth paste. Continue whisking as the mixture comes up to a simmer. It will thicken rapidly and dramatically as it comes to a boil (see photo below). Simmer for 1 full minute, then turn off the heat. Scrape the flour and milk paste into the mixer bowl. (If you want to be 100% sure there are no small lumps, pour it through a mesh sieve, but I didn’t really have any problems with that.)
Turn on the mixer or beaters and whip the flour-milk mixture for 10 minutes (no seriously, 10 minutes), or until it is lightened and no longer piping hot. It should be lukewarm or cooler. Slowly add the cream cheese, whipping constantly and the vanilla. Continue whipping until the two are completely combined and smooth and silky. If not using immediately, store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Whip again briefly on high speed before using.