It's about this time of year that we're on pumpkin overload. There's pumpkin latte, pumpkin Little Debbies, pumpkin KitKats, pumpkin almonds pumpkin, pumpkin pumpkin. Almost every aisle in the grocery store is filled with some kind of pumpkin something. Allow me to add one more: pumpkin cinnamon rolls — and they are some of the best I've ever tasted.
If the thought of making the dough from scratch intimidates you, fear not. The only thing I recommend is using a stand mixer and its dough hook to do the work for you.
The recipe makes 16 cinnamon rolls — enough for a crowd. They're perfect for Thanksgiving morning. Make them the day before, and you'll have a beautiful mouthwatering breakfast ready when you wake. Can you taste them now with a hot cup of coffee? Just the thought makes my mouth water.
I'm even tempted to set a platter of these out on my Thanksgiving buffet next to the pies, tarts, cakes and cookies — all those yummy sweets that we consume on Turkey Day.
Credit goes to allrecipes.com for these rolls. The only thing I changed was omitting the pumpkin seeds sprinkled over top. They aren't necessary and are actually a distraction from the tender, soft dough and creamy icing.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 cup warm water (100 to 105 degrees)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, or more as needed
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk, or as needed
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, to garnish (optional)
Mix brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl; set aside.
Combine yeast, 1/2 teaspoon white sugar and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk together, and set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Pour pumpkin puree, cream, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/4 cup melted butter, salt, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, ginger, allspice, 2 cups flour and the egg into stand mixer bowl with the yeast mixture. Mix with dough hook attachment until combined, about 2 minutes.
Stir in 2 1/4 cups flour, and mix on low with the dough hook, adding more flour if the mixture is too sticky, until dough is slightly sticky, smooth and elastic, 6 to 7 minutes.
Remove dough, and shape into a ball. Coat the bowl of the stand mixer lightly with vegetable oil, return dough to the bowl, turning to coat with oil. Cover with aluminum foil, and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Generously butter a 13- by 9-inch baking dish.
Transfer dough to a well-floured work surface. Use your hands to flatten into a rectangular shape about 1-inch thick. Generously sprinkle flour over both sides of the dough; roll out to about a 20- by 12-inch rectangle. Pour melted butter over the top, and brush evenly over the surface, leaving 2 inches along one wide edge unbuttered. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the dough, and moisten the unbuttered edge with water. Starting at the wide edge with butter, roll dough tightly into a log; press firmly along moistened edge to seal.
Trim uneven ends from the roll, and discard. Cut rolled dough into 16 equally sized pinwheels. Place the pinwheels, cut side up, in the prepared baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes; set aside to cool slightly while mixing glaze.
Whisk cream cheese, confectioners sugar, milk and vanilla extract together in a large bowl until smooth; drizzle over the warm cinnamon rolls. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over the rolls, if desired, to serve.
About brown rice
A recent column about cooking brown rice produced a slew of questions asking if there was a mistake in the amount of water that should be used. It is 12 cups, though sometimes I use 10 to 1 cup of brown rice and simmer it for about a half hour. What needs to be clarified, though, is that you need to drain the rice after cooking, then return it to the pot and cover it for 10 minutes or longer. I'm sorry that wasn't clear in the recipe.
But here's another way to cook brown rice from reader Ray Neal.
"I would urge you to try Alton Brown's method for cooking this wonderful grain," he wrote.
"Alton Brown bakes it in a 375-degree oven for an hour, tightly covered. I have had perfect results every time using his method.
"I was dubious about Alton Brown's method due to its relatively small amount of liquid — 2 1/2 cups water or stock to 1 1/2 cups brown rice. However, it turns out perfect every time and never scorches."
Email Anne Braly at email@example.com.