Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

I'm honestly surprised I tried these rolls because for one thing, I RARELY make any baked good that has to rise for any period of time. Because who's got time for that? (Or remembers they need to rise that far in advance.) And secondly, while they sounded weirdly amazing, I didn't think I'd ever get around to adding pumpkin to my dinner rolls.

Then the other day I had half a can of pumpkin puree leftover from making pancakes so I decided to give them a go.

It turns out, these were very easy to make, but they do take a long time to rise. But rising does make them fluffy, hearty and oh so delicious.
I was so impressed with the savory pumpkin spice flavor that reminded me of the holidays and the thick, chewy texture. In other words, I could easily have eaten the entire pan myself and almost did. Also, my 2-year-old even loved them! We served them with some butternut squash soup from Costco and it was a match made in heaven.

I did not bake them with the honey butter mixture since I served them with soup, but I know it would be delicious because I ate a few with honey and butter afterward and I could not get enough.

And now I really need some of these rolls back in my life!

Pumpkin Dinner Rolls
Slightly Adapted from Averie Cooks
Yield: 10-12 rolls
Total Time: about 2 hours, mostly downtime for rising
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp. instant dry yeast (one 1/4-ounce packet)
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. Allspice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

Honey Butter
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 Tbsp. honey
Tip: Combine equal parts softened butter (not melted) and honey, and whisk together until fluffy and combined for serving with the rolls

To make dough:
1. Add milk to a 2-cup microwave-safe measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl. Add butter and heat on high power to melt butter, about 45 seconds. Stir until butter has melted smoothly into the milk.
2. Add the egg, pumpkin puree and whisk to combine.
3. Return measuring cup to microwave and heat for about 15 seconds to warm mixture up. This will help activate the yeast; set aside briefly.
4. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook or large mixing bowl for hand kneading, add the remaining dough ingredients.
5. Pour wet pumpkin-milk mixture over the dry ingredients.
6. Turn mixer to low speed, and knead for 5 to 8 minutes, or until dough is smooth and has come together. This is not a sticky dough and if your dough is sticky, tacky, or gloppy, add additional flour, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until dough is no longer sticky. (I had to add 2 Tbsp. of flour.) Be careful not to over flour your dough.
7. Turn dough out into a mixing bowl that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Flip dough over once so both sides are lightly greased and cover bowl with plastic wrap.
8. Place bowl in a warm, draft-free environment until dough has nearly doubled in bulk, about 45 to 60 minutes. Be sure to wait until dough has nearly doubled in size and if it takes longer than an hour, that's fine.
9. Punch dough down and turn it out onto a nonstick surface. Divide dough into 10 to 12 equally-sized portions, rolling each portion into a ball. Place dough balls into a foil-lined and greased 9-inch square pan. Cover pan with a sheet of foil, place pan in a warm, draft-free environment until dough has nearly doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. In the last minutes of rising, preheat oven to 375F.

For Honey Butter Pumpkin Rolls:
1. Melt butter in small microwave-safe bowl, about 45 seconds on high power.
2. Add the honey and stir to combine.
3. Before baking, generously brush dough with honey butter; reserve any extra and brush it on after baking.

10. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until puffed, golden, domed and cooked through. Allow rolls to cool in pan until they're cool enough to handle before serving.

*Rolls will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 4 days. Heat in microwave for 5 to 10 seconds as necessary to recreate the just-baked taste and to soften.


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