(Republished from the Concord Monitor from Oct. 6, 2017)
Pumpkin spice has become a concept illicit either joy or ire from those who encounter it.
You either wait all year for fall to arrive with the flavor or you think, “Is this really necessary?”
But spice aside, pumpkins are plentiful in the fall and sugar pumpkins are delicious for eating and baking into foods. There are recipes galore for pumpkin pies, breads, cookies and muffins, even brownies and cheesecake. Online, I discovered a new pumpkin baked good: pumpkin cinnamon rolls.
The pumpkin is in the filling, not the dough, so it’s not an overwhelming flavor. And pumpkin is a taste that already is commonly paired with cinnamon, so it’s a natural addition.
In this case, the pumpkin comes in the form of pumpkin butter, which is more sauce than butter, but akin to apple butter. You can purchase it by the jar at the grocery store or make your own.
The pumpkin butter replaces what is usually dairy butter and sugar in a traditional cinnamon roll.
The result is a sweet treat with a taste of the season.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons shortening
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon yeast
¼ cup warm water
4 cups flour
¾ cup pumpkin butter (recipe below)
For glaze (optional):
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons butter
For the dough, in a small bowl, mix warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar and yeast. Set in a warm spot to let yeast bubble.
In a large bowl, combine milk, shortening, salt, egg, the remainder of sugar, vanilla and flour. Once the yeast has bubbled, add it to the large bowl and mix gently. Set the bowl aside in a warm place for dough to rise until it doubles in size, about one hour.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle. Spoon the pumpkin butter on the dough and spread to cover the entire surface. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll from the long edge.
Use flavorless floss or a sharp knife to cut the dough into half-inch rounds, place on a greased cookie sheet. Let rise about 30 minutes.
Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes.
For the glaze, mix the sugar and butter, adding milk one tablespoon at a time until smooth.
Serve rolls warm, topped with glaze or sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.
1 can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
⅔ cup brown sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
1 cup apple juice or cider
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. On medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Then, lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Store in refrigerator.