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Pumpkin Rolls

Pumpkin Rolls

When rainy autumn weather begins taking its toll and darkness descends earlier than I anticipate, I like to wrap myself in blankets, wear ridiculously fuzzy socks, and marvel at how long my evenings suddenly feel. Time passes slowly after the sun sets and my eyes grow tired when the clock strikes ten. Somehow, despite my sleepiness and couch potato tendencies, I can't get myself to crawl into bed until after midnight.

Old habits die hard, it seems.

Pumpkin Rolls

On the few occasions when I flip on the television or indulge in a few moments on Pinterest, I can't help but notice that holiday advertisements and Thanksgiving pies are already trying to sneak up on us. Even though I can avert my eyes in mild distaste at their early arrival, these thoughts of family togetherness and comfort food have managed to weasel their way into my subconscious thoughts.

It was only after I made these pumpkin rolls for the second time in a week (the first batch disappeared sooner than I would have liked) that I realized how lovely they would be graced upon a Thanksgiving table surrounded by family and friends. I wanted to shake my finger at myself for falling prey to commercialism so early in the season, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Perhaps I just miss the feeling of home.

Pumpkin Rolls

These pumpkin rolls, however, are remarkable in their own right. They are neither sweet nor savory, but fall squarely in between, toeing the line with the skill of a tightrope walker. While I often make a recipe more than once to play around with ingredients or give it a few minor adjustments (as recipe developers will do), this time I followed the recipe exactly the second time I made these rolls. There was nothing I wanted to change about them, no minor detail that needed to be altered. It was a rare and beautiful moment, as if I had stumbled upon a hidden treasure in my kitchen.

I am so excited to share this recipe with you.

Pumpkin Rolls

Pumpkin Rolls are perfect to share with friends and family over holiday dinners or enjoyed on a simple Sunday evening at home with loved ones. The rolls are lightly spiced and lightly sweetened, which allows them to fall to the savory or sweet side depending on your mood. I have enjoyed these rolls spread with maple cream cheese, drizzled with melted chocolate, prepared with a simple butter spread, and soaked in mashed potatoes and gravy. The pumpkin flavor is present, but mild, which makes them a good choice for pumpkin lovers and skeptical fathers alike.

One Year Ago: Spicy Pumpkin Taco Dip
Two Years Ago: Apple Tart with Almond Cream

Pumpkin Rolls

Yields 12 buns

1/2 cup (118 ml) barely warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 large egg
1 cup (245 grams) canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups (318 grams) bread flour

In a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer), sprinkle the yeast over the barely warm milk and allow to sit about 5 minutes until activated (looks frothy). Stir in egg, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, butter, spices, and salt. Gradually add bread flour, mixing until the dough comes together. If the dough is too dry and will not come together, add small amounts of water until it does. Conversely, if the dough is too sticky, add flour until it becomes workable; however, do not add too much flour or the bread will become dense.

Knead the dough for ten minutes, or until elastic. Cover dough with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in a warm place, about 2 hours. Punch down the dough before turning out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 12 equal portions and shape each portion into a round ball. Place in a pan (or on baking sheets) coated lightly with cooking spray. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for another 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Serve hot.

To reheat buns, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Bake rolls for 5-8 minutes, or until hot.

Reader Comments (26)

I love the shape of these little guys! So fun!
love that sweet but not too sweet kind of bread. these look great! definitely gonna try making a batch.
10.24.2012 | Unregistered Commentersofia
Oh these look lovely! Just one thing... not only is canned pumpkin not readily available in my country, I am also mildly allergic to it :( Is there anything I can substitute for it? Sweet potato perhaps? If I wanted to use fresh pumpkin, would that be possible? Thank you so much for your answer! :D
10.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRose
I just wanna let you know that your pictures are absolutely amazing, I love them :)
10.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterGosia
Rose--You can substitute a sweet potato puree or butternut squash puree (just make sure they are well drained of excess moisture). You could also use fresh pumpkin by roasting it in the oven until it is fork tender and pureeing the pumpkin with a food processor or blender. Again, just be sure to drain off any excess moisture and this recipe should turn out well.
10.25.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Oh how I love fall. The autumn season really does have some of the best, most comforting foods in the year. Your rolls look amazing. There have been so many recipes I want to try this year. I'm going to add this to the list of stuff I want to bake. Hopefully it will get done this year, but if not, I've still got next year :)
How in the world did you make the rolls in that shape? They are adorable!
10.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda
Linda-- Right before the final rise, you snip the top of the dough with a scissors in a X-shape. Really simple!
10.25.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I've never had pumpkin rolls before, but they do sound and look amazing. The color is so comforting and I can almost smell the spices... I'm featuring this post as part of Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution) and thanks for making me drool!
10.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJavelin Warrior
These rolls look very cute. I like pumpkin flavor bread. As you said, this would be great for thanksgiving dinner. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I can't wait to try them.
Can you freeze these? I've made ( by accident) a double batch -- and hope to keep the extras for another rainy day
10.26.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAvie
Avie-- Absolutely! In fact, I did just the same thing. Just place them in a freezer safe container or double wrapped in plastic bags and they should be just fine for several weeks. To reheat, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). Bake rolls for 5-8 minutes (slightly longer if they are frozen), or until hot.
10.26.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I love pumpkin in baked goods like biscuits and rolls, but I'm usually disappointed in the lack of pumpkin flavor. I like that you've used a hole cup o pumpkin in these!
Absolutely beautiful photos and the rolls look delicious! Love your blog!
10.27.2012 | Unregistered Commentertableofcolors
I bought far too much pumpkin puree this fall and have been looking for worthy pumpkin recipes that aren't over-the-top sweet... thanks for sharing, your pumpkin rolls look like they just might be the perfect fit!
Thank you so much for your help Kristin!! I'll be trying these with sweet potatoes first :)
10.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRose
Just made them this afternoon!
They were awesome! We had some of them with sage butter and we ate the last few with ginger- and mandarin marmelade.
Very tasty, and very cute looking buns. :)
10.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterIlona
Yum!! Looks great...going to have to give these a try.
10.29.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJeneen Terrana
I've recently moved to an isolated house in damp, rainy England and for the first time in my life am truly on my own for cooking. Fun fact about England: they don't have pumpkin puree here (just not a thing) so I had the thrill of cutting open my own pumpkin (an oddly violent experience) and pureeing it myself. I've made two delicious batches of these roles, and just wanted to say Thank You. Sincerely. I've been reading your blog religiously for some time, but now it has truly become my joy and my constant lifesaver.
With gratefulness from Oxford,
11.6.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBecca
Can't wait to make these beauties next week! I have two questions: can this recipe be doubled without problems? And when using a stand mixer do you use a paddle or dough hook to mix everthiing together?
11.10.2012 | Unregistered CommenterNicole
Nicole-- I haven't tried doubling it, but there is no reason it shouldn't double easily. I will be doubling this recipe when Thanksgiving comes around. Just pay attention to the texture of the dough; if it is too dry and will not come together, add small amounts of water until it does. If the dough is too sticky, add flour until it becomes workable (but not too much). I used a dough hook with my stand mixer and it worked well.
11.10.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I don't have a stand mixer; any tips on hand mixing/kneading this?
11.20.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
Karen-- You may knead to add more flour to make it workable, but I would mix up the dough in a bowl with a spatula (or hands) and turn out on a floured surface to knead by hand, which will take 7-10 minutes. I'm making it by hand tomorrow using the same instructions. Good luck!
11.20.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Thanks for the tip! I made these yesterday, and doubled the recipe, and they were FANTASTIC. My mom couldn't get over how good they were.
11.23.2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
I made some with my mom but used AP flour instead. It was very fluffy and soft and had a nice crust on the outside. Love the cinnamon and pumpkin taste! And it almost looked like whole wheat bread. My portions are enormous though. They fit like a tennis ball in my hand almost. Took one picture and it's posted on my tumblr.
12.4.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
Every time I make another of your recipes, I think, "no, THIS is the best thing I've ever made."
11.16.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLiv

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