I thought I was over cinnamon rolls, I really did. I baked them all winter and spring and summer long— I thought they were out of my system. It turns out, they aren’t.
Though I had tried out just about every basic cinnamon roll recipe on the planet, I hadn’t tinkered with variations and flavors. Just as I was getting tired of cinnamon rolls, new recipes started popping up all over the internet. After reading everything from Joy the Baker’s Bonkers Awesome Pistachio, Orange, and Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls recipe, to The Crepes of Wrath’s S’mores Cinnamon Rolls recipe, I realized there was a lot of baking territory left to explore. It was clear that cinnamon rolls and I just weren’t finished yet.
You stir together a batter the night before you bake, and stick it in your fridge. It takes all of five minutes. In the morning, you’re ready to roll out and fill your cinnamon rolls, proof them, and bake them.
You can actually make this recipe with any roasted winter squash puree. I went with cushaw, a Southern squash that tastes like a cross between a pumpkin and a butternut squash. [My parents and sister mailed me one all the way from Florida. They are amazing. The squash was delicious. True story.]
Also, if you’re making a winter squash puree at home and it isn’t the bright orange you were hoping for, just throw in a cooked carrot. Once you blend it in, you’ll have very little carrot flavor, but will end up with a more colorful puree.
These cinnamon rolls get a double dose of pumpkin flavor— once in the dough, and once in the filling. They’re soft, doughy, sweet, and intensely pumpkin-y. They’re also fairly easy to throw together, and make for great Sunday morning baking.
Try them this weekend, and then leave a comment letting me know how they turned out for you!
No-Knead Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
- 2 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree or fresh squash puree (see note below)
- 1/4 cup milk, non-dairy or regular
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup canned pumpkin purée or fresh squash puree
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 2-3 teaspoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- a pinch of salt
- In a large bowl or container, mix together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the pumpkin puree, milk, melted butter, and egg. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, whisk together the wet ingredients in the center, slowly combining them with the flour. Mix until thoroughly combined. The resulting mixture should be very wet and sticky. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
- Turn out the dough onto a heavily floored work surface. The dough will still be extremely sticky. Sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour, then gently press and stretch the dough into a rectangle. Continue to work the dough, re-flouring and moving slowly, into a 9 x 13 inch rectangle of even thickness. I like to do this by pressing the dough into a floured 9×13 baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, melt the two tablespoons of butter. Stir in the pumpkin puree. Spread evenly across the dough, leaving 1/2 inch of dough clear on all sides. Sprinkle the brown sugar onto the pumpkin butter mixture evenly. Mix together the cinnamon and salt and sprinkle across the dough.
- Roll the dough into a log, beginning at one of the long edges of the rectangle. Do this carefully— the dough will be wet and delicate, so it is important to gently lift, roll, and turn the dough without tearing it. Once at the end of the roll, pinch the edge into the rest of the dough to seal the log.
- Slice the log into 9 pieces of roughly equal size, a little over 1 1/4 inch each. The easiest way to do this is with dental floss or sewing thread. Simply slide the floss under the log so it sits under where you want the cut to be. Pick up both ends of the floss, pull the ends up and towards each other, then cross them. Pull tight to slice through.
- Place the rolls into a greased 9 x 9 inch baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes in a warm spot, until the rolls are doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the tops of the rolls are just beginning to brown.
- For the frosting, melt two tablespoon of butter in a bowl. Add confectioner’s sugar, salt, vanilla, and two teaspoons of milk. Stir together with a spoon until thoroughly combined. Add milk 1/2 teaspoon at a time until frosting is desired consistency. Top the cinnamon rolls with frosting as desired.
If you are using a fresh squash puree, you will need to increase the flour in the dough by two tablespoons, for a total of 2 1/2 cups.
The pumpkin puree in this recipe can be fresh or canned. Any winter squash puree can be used to replace the pumpkin.