Pumpkin in the bread dough. Pumpkin in the filling. Pumpkin in the frosting. Oh, yes, friends, these are so scrumptious, and surprisingly low in fat as well, since the pumpkin takes the place of the butter/margarine normally lavished on cinnamon roll dough. It all started with that impulse pumpkin butter purchase at Trader Joe's last week. I didn't know how I would use it, but I rationalized that I had to buy the butter now since it is a 'seasonal' product and thus would only be around for a limited time. I took it out of the fridge a few days later to see how it would taste on my pancakes, and the random thought came to me that pumpkin butter would probably be delicious in cinnamon roll filling. As soon as the kids lay down for their naps, I hurried to the kitchen to realize my vision, congregating all things pumpkin on my counter-top: pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin butter. "Oh, yes, this is going to be good!" I quietly rejoiced. I decided to wait for Sawyer to wake up so that he could be my trusty baker-boy assistant. He loves to knead and roll, and, most of all, eat the dough. Sawyer is my toughest palate to please, and often he is not so hot on the finished baked good even when he devours the dough, but he eagerly dug into one of these luscious rolls the next morning. So hooray for impulse buys and seasonal treats--I think a Holden Fall tradition has been born!
For the dough:
3/4 c. lukewarm water
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 c. plus 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 cup plain non-dairy yogurt (I used home-made hemp/rice milk yogurt)
2/3 c. canned pumpkin puree
5 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (could sub white flour)
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 Tbsp. Earth Balance soy-free margarine
For the filling:
1 cup pumpkin butter
1/4 cup coconut sugar (could sub brown sugar)
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 c. chocolate chips (optional)
For the frosting:
2/3 c. shredded, unsweetened coconut
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp. coconut oil (could sub. margarine)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. non-dairy milk (I used rice milk. Coconut milk would probably be best, but I didn't have any on hand!)
1. Mix water and 1 Tbsp. maple syrup in a large mixing bowl. Gradually stir in the yeast until dissolved. Let proof for 5-10 mins., until the yeast bubbles and shows signs of life.
2. Add the remaining 1/4 c. maple syrup, yogurt, pumpkin puree, salt, and pumpkin pie spice and mix until well combined. Add the flour a cup at a time, stirring with an electric mixer or a wooden spoon, until the dough is thick enough to be turned out for kneading and no more flour can be added by hand.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-12 mins. Every few minutes smear some of the Earth Balance on to the dough and work it in while you knead. Add flour a little bit at a time if it gets too sticky, but keep in mind that you want it to be moist and pliable, not hardened by excessive flour. Keep kneading until the dough is smooth and lustrous, like this:
4. Turn your oven on to 400 for 2 or 3 mins., then turn it off. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with a damp towel. Place the dough in the warm oven to rise for 1 1/2- 2 hours. The dough should double in bulk, and a wet finger inserted into the dough should leave an impression without filling in. (If the dough makes a sighing sound when poked, it has risen a bit too long. Just hurry to the next step.)
5. Grease an 11x17 in pan, or a 9x13 plus a 9 in. square pan. Gently deflate the dough with damp hands, form it into a ball, and turn the ball out onto a large, lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough into a huge rectangle. Spread the pumpkin butter evenly over the rolled out dough with a spatula or the back of a large spoon. Sprinkle with the sugar, cinnamon, and the chocolate chips, if desired. Roll up tightly, starting on one of the short sides. Cut into rolls about ½ inch thick and place close together in the pan(s). The rolls should all be snug with no space in between.
6. Let the rolls rise again in a warm oven, covered with damp towels, for about 45 mins.-1 hour. After about 40 mins., take the rolls out of the warm oven, and turn the oven to 400 degrees. When the rolls are puffy and sagging at the edges, pop them in the oven for 6-18 mins., until just lightly browning on the tops. Let them cool in the pan on a wire rack.
7. While the rolls bake, make the frosting by placing all of the ingredients in a food processor and blending until the coconut is finely ground and the mixture has a spreadable consistency. Once the rolls have cooled for about 20 mins., frost them and serve. They are great both warm and cold!