Pumpkin Caramel Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Pumpkin Caramel Cinnamon Rolls | Happy Simple Living blog

Photo by Susan Barnson Hayward for Gibbs Smith

The flavor of pumpkin spice seems to be everywhere right now, and is even the subject of some good-natured debate; some folks are complaining of Pumpkin Spice overload with so many manufacturers jumping on the #PS bandwagon. The TODAY show is even running an online poll where viewers can vote on whether the pumpkin spice craze has “gone too far.”

Pumpkin It Up cookbook by Eliza CrossIf you’re overloaded on #PS, you may wish to skip this post. If you’re a pumpkin spice lover, read on!

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes from my newest cookbook, Pumpkin It Up! (128 pages, hardback, $16.99; Gibbs Smith, Publisher). Perfect for a weekend breakfast or brunch, these flaky cinnamon rolls are filled with a pumpkin spice-pecan mixture and drizzled with a caramel icing while they’re still warm. The rolls are extra easy because they begin with a tube of refrigerated crescent roll dough. If you like, you can use an organic brand such as Immaculate.

For the filling, you can use canned pumpkin or make your own pumpkin puree; I’ve included complete instructions after the cinnamon roll recipe. Steaming or baking the pumpkin is quite easy, and pumpkin puree freezes really well so that you can have it on hand whenever you get a pumpkin spice craving.

Now is a great time to visit your favorite farmer’s market or pumpkin patch and buy good cooking pumpkins. Stay away from the gigantic Jack O’Lantern pumpkins, which tend to be tough and stringy, and look for look for smaller, sweeter baking varieties. Some of my favorites are Little Giant, Cinnamon Girl, Baby Pam, Amish Pie and Winter Luxury.

Here’s the recipe:

Pumpkin Caramel Cinnamon Rolls

  • 1 can (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls or seamless dough sheet
  • 1/3 cup cooked or canned pumpkin puree
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons milk, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

If using crescent rolls, unroll dough and separate in 2 long rectangles. Overlap long sides 1/2 inch to form 1 large rectangle. Press seam and perforations to seal. If using dough sheet, unroll dough and pat in large rectangle.

In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, 4 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, pie spice, and salt, and stir until well blended. Spread the mixture over the dough and sprinkle with pecans. Starting at long side, roll up; pinch seam to seal. Cut in 12 equal slices and arrange cut side up in prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan until melted. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon milk; cook over medium low heat 1 minute. Cool for 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla and 1/4 cup powdered sugar and beat until well blended, adding more powdered sugar if needed until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle rolls with icing. Makes 12 rolls.

Oven-Cooked Pumpkin Puree

  • 1 medium pie pumpkin, about 4 pounds
  • 1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash the pumpkin and cut out the top and stem with a sharp knife. Lay on a cutting board and carefully cut in half. Scrape out stringy pulp and seeds. (Rinse and reserve seeds to make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, if desired.)

Cut pumpkin in large pieces and arrange skin-side up in a roasting pan. Pour water in the bottom of the pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake 45–60 minutes, or until pumpkin is soft and easily pierced with a fork. Cool to room temperature.

Scrape the soft pulp from the skin into a food processor or heavy-duty blender, discarding the skin. Pulse until evenly pureed, adding a little water if necessary to make a smooth puree. Alternately, mash the pulp in a large bowl with a potato masher or run it through a food mill. If finished puree is too watery, drain in a fine mesh strainer for 30 minutes.

The puree can be used immediately or refrigerated, covered, and used within 3 days. The puree may also be frozen, tightly wrapped, or stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Makes about 8 cups.

Steamed Pumpkin Puree

  • 1 small pie pumpkin, about 2 pounds
  • 1 cup water

Wash the pumpkin and cut out the top and stem with a sharp knife. Lay on a cutting board and carefully cut in half. Scrape out stringy pulp and seeds. (Rinse and reserve seeds to make Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, if desired.) Cut pumpkin in 4-inch pieces.

Stovetop steaming method: In a large pot fitted with a steamer basket, heat water to boiling. Add the pumpkin, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover. Cook until pumpkin is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and cool to room temperature.

Microwave steaming method: Place the pumpkin pieces in a microwave-safe bowl, add the water, cover, and cook on high until pumpkin is fork tender, about 15–20 minutes depending on microwave. Cool to room temperature.

Scrape the soft pulp from the skin into a food processor or heavy-duty blender, discarding the skin. Pulse until evenly pureed, adding a little water if necessary to make a smooth puree. Alternately, mash the pulp in a large bowl with a potato masher or run it through a food mill. If finished puree is too watery, drain in a fine mesh strainer for 30 minutes.

The puree can be used immediately or refrigerated, covered, and used within 3 days. The puree may also be frozen, tightly wrapped, or stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Makes about 4 cups.

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

P.S. You might also enjoy this recipe for Pumpkin Quick Bread.

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

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