This Just In: Turkey Day Treats

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Rolls

Our friends to the south will celebrate American Thanksgiving tomorrow, so with that in mind, I’ve whipped up a batch of salted caramel pumpkin pie rolls that would be equally at home on a breakfast plate or a dessert platter.

It all started when I found a small pie pumpkin lurking at the back of my overstuffed fridge on the weekend.  After brainstorming and rejecting my initial thoughts on its usage (pumpkin chocolate chip bars) I settled on the idea to make cinnamon rolls (which the Everyman loves) but tinge them festive and orange with pumpkin and pie spices. After googling for a while, I came across several recipes that had elements of what I was after, but no hard and fast winner.  Instead, I decided to come up with my own.

First, I roasted the pie pumpkin cut-side down until it was collapsed and yielding.  Once it had cooled a little, I ran it through the food processor until it had the consistency of baby food.  I’ve often wondered why homemade pumpkin puree is a light ochre-ish yellow and the stuff you get in a can comes out technicolor orange.  After pondering this for a bit, I’ve arrived at the hypothesis that they grind the whole pumpkin up, rind and all to obtain such a vibrant hue.

Incorporating my puree into a basic sweet dough, I left it to bulk ferment for an hour while I roasted some things in duck fat and salad spun some other things.  Some of the rest of this pumpkin mush will be making an appearance in another dish later this week, too.

When I returned, the dough was rolled out on a floured counter, brushed with copious amounts of butter and sprinkled with a brown sugar-based spice blend.  Rolled into a tube, it was sliced and placed in a silcone pan and left to final proof on top of the oven.

Once the buns had doubled in size and filled in all the crevices in the pan, I popped them into a hot oven to bake, and began assembling the ingredients for the salted caramel frosting.  10 minutes after they came out of the oven, they received a sticky, glistening bath of salty sauce, soaking them to their very core.  Delish!

Autopsy Shot

Foodie’s Salted Caramel Pumpkin Rolls


2 c. flour

0.5 c. pumpkin puree

0.33 c. milk

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp sugar

2.25 tsp yeast

1 egg

0.5 tsp salt

0.5 tsp cinnamon

0.25 tsp ginger

0.25 tsp cardamom


0.33 c. brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

0.5 tsp ginger

0.25 tsp nutmeg

0.125 tsp cloves

2 tbsp butter, melted


4 tbsp butter, melted

0.5 c brown sugar

2 tbsp milk

0.5 tsp vanilla

1.5-2 tsp salt

0.5 c. powdered sugar

Heat the milk and butter until warm and the butter is almost melted, stirring to incorporate (microwave or stovetop will do).  In a large mixer, combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom, and beat until well blended.  Add egg and yeast and continue to beat.  With the machine running, add in half of the flour and mix on low until combined, scraping down sides frequently.  Add remaining flour and mix thoroughly.  Place dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a tea towel.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Gently pat the dough on a lightly floured surface, pressing out any  large air pockets with the tips of your fingers.  Fold the dough over 3 times, then rest for 10 minutes.  Roll out on your floured surface until the dough is about the size of a sheet of legal paper.

Preheat the oven to 350*.  In a small bowl combine brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.  Brush the rolled out dough with butter, then sprinkle with the brown sugar mixture until completely covered.  Starting with the long side closest to you, roll the dough away from you, tucking it in tightly as you roll.  Once rolled, pinch the seams to seal the log closed and place seam-side down.  Gently slice the log into 12 pieces taking care not to press down, and arrange cut side up in a buttered baking pan.  Cover with a tea towel and allow to final proof until nearly doubled, 30 to 45 minutes.

Bake the rolls for 18-22 minutes, or until golden.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before icing, or else the icing will completely melt.

While the rolls are cooling, combine the butter, milk and brown sugar in a bowl until smooth.  Stir in the vanilla and powdered sugar, adding your salt to taste, and whisk vigorously until smooth.  Add additional powdered sugar (up to 1/4 cup) if a thicker icing consistency is desired.  While the rolls are still warm, pour or spread the tops with the prepared icing.  Allow to soak in to the rolls completely before eating.

Makes 12 rolls.

Until next time…

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One Response to “This Just In: Turkey Day Treats”

  1. Everyone “HAS” to try making this. It takes sweet rolls (cinnamon roll it is “NOT”) to another blissful level.

    NB – I was not paid to endorse this recipe…the rolls themselves made me post this comment :P

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