Quick Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

No joke, these pumpkin cinnamon rolls were on my breakfast plate an hour after the idea came to me in bed one chilly morning.  I’ve been kind of craving cinnamon rolls for a while, but haven’t really wanted to spend the hours required to make a good one.  I’ve also been thinking a lot about pumpkin bread lately and haven’t had the time to make that either.  There are several versions of quick cinnamon rolls out there, so I jumbled together the parts I liked about a couple of them and added some pumpkin.  This tender pumpkin roll filled with cinnamon and topped with cream cheese glaze is the delicious result.

Since these are not yeast rolls, the texture is a bit different than a traditional cinnamon roll.  However, the flavor results are similar enough to satisfy the craving.  The texture is like a cross between a biscuit and a coffee cake and has a wonderful soft crumb.  The rolls do pull apart like a traditional cinnamon roll though, allowing me to have my favorite gooey center as the last bite.  The dough is made much like a biscuit dough in the food processor and comes together pretty quickly.  It’s then rolled out into a rectangle, spread with cinnamon sugar, and rolled, cut and baked like normal cinnamon rolls.  Since there’s no rise time, the rolls bake very quickly.   I can’t wait to make these again!  I bet some dried cranberries or some pecans would also be good in the filling.  I think I’ll even tell myself that the pumpkin and the whole wheat make them healthy…

Quick Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
Tender pumpkin cinnamon rolls that are completed within an hour.
  • For the Dough:
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  • ⅓ cup whole plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. table salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda

  • For the Filling:
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

  • For the Glaze:
  • 2 oz softened cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and grease a 9" cake pan very well.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together the pumpkin, yogurt, sugar, vanilla and melted butter until smooth.
  3. Add the flours, spice, baking powder, salt and baking soda and pulse a couple of times until the dough just comes together.
  4. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a couple of times until smooth. The dough will be very soft and moist.
  5. Roll the dough out into a rectangle approximately 12"x15". Check occasionally to make sure that the dough is not sticking and put a little more flour under it if it is.
  6. Brush the surface of the dough with melted butter leaving a ½" border. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the top of the butter.
  7. Gently roll into a log from the long side. Pinch the seam to seal.
  8. Cut the log evenly crossways into 12 pieces.
  9. Put the pieces in the pan cut side up, starting with the center of the pan. It's o.k. if the rolls don't touch everywhere. A bench scraper is helpful here as the rolls are very delicate to move.
  10. Brush any remaining butter over the top of the rolls.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and firm to the touch.
  12. Run a table knife along the edge of the rolls and immediately invert them onto a dinner plate and then invert them again onto a cooling rack.
  13. Let cool for 5 minutes while making the glaze.
  14. Mix the milk, vanilla and cream cheese together until combined. Add 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar and stir well. The glaze should be thick but pourable. Adjust the texture by adding more sugar or more milk as necessary.
Whole wheat pastry flour works beautifully in this recipe. If you can't find it, just use all white flour as regular whole wheat probably would make the rolls tougher.

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