I'll wait while you change into your elastic-waist-pants. You'll need them. And while you're at it, might as well pull your caftan/muumuu from the depths of your closet - you'll need it, too. Comfort clothes for comfort food...rule #1 for people who take eating seriously...and this time of year, as the leaves fall and the mercury drops, there is nothing more comforting than these Browned Butter Cinnamon Rolls. Nothing.
My dear friend Helen told me about this recipe last month (she found it on a delightful blog, Ambitious Kitchen,) - said it was something I should make and she was SO right. I made them and I made them again and again...up to 6 times already and I even made them on my trip a few weeks back for my brother and his family! Baking while on vacation - dreams do come true!
Two things make these rolls stand out above all the others...the browned butter and almond milk. Wait, make that three things...the maple cream cheese icing will bring sweet tears of joy to your eyes! Now, about the almond milk, you get just a faint taste of it, but it's there, mingling with the butter, pumpkin and spices to give these rolls their unique, rich flavor. (It should be noted that almond milk is considered healthy...so I suppose, if you stretched things just a bit, you could say these are healthy cinnamon rolls, but only say that if your mouth is stuffed with a huge bite of cinnamon roll and your words come out so garbled no one can understand you, I wouldn't want you to start a riot.) The filling is a thick paste of butter, dark brown sugar and cinnamon; it's spread over the browned butter and pumpkin dough...
Sorry I left you hanging up there, I had to take a moment to unbutton my pants! This recipe makes 16 decent sized rolls or 12 HUGE ones, that part is up to you. The pic above is after the 2nd rising time, yes, there are two risings but they go fast and while they're rising you can watch a Zumba video so you won't feel too guilty about eating half the pan. (I would never recommend actually doing a Zumba video, if you slipped and fell and hurt your arm, how would you get these rolls in to your roll-hole? Better to be safe AND sorry!) When they come out of the oven and you take in their heady aroma, force yourself to allow them to cool until you can touch them without screaming for your momma. Then spread on the cream cheese maple icing and listen for the Heavenly Choir to sing! Hallelujah!! Hallelujah!!
These beauties were made in Boiling Springs, South Carolina (it's a real place - not exactly the end of the world but you can see it from there!) for my brother and his family...they only looked like this for a few seconds and then the circling family moved in. Worth the time. Worth the Effort. Worth the Calories. Worth walking in the rain. Worth FIVE dangs on the Ol' Dang Meter...these are dang, dang, dang, dang, DANG good!
Browned Butter Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls - Adapted From Ambitious Kitchen
For the Dough:
1/4 cup butter
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) dry active yeast (you can use Rapid Rise)
3/4 cup Almond Milk, warmed to 100 degrees F
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
For the Filling:
1/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons cinnamon
extra flour for dusting
For the Icing:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons Almond Milk
In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, melt butter. The butter will melt, then start to foam as the color changes from yellow to brown, stir continuously (it only takes a few minutes), once the butter is a rich caramel color, it is done. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle blade, combine warm milk, yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes. In a separate bowl combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt; whisk together.
When yeast is foamy, add in 1/2 of the flour mixture, along with the pumpkin puree, egg and the cooled browned butter. Mix on low speed just until combined. Add in the rest of the flour and mix again, slowly, until combined. Remove the paddle and replace with dough hook. Mix on medium-low speed for about 8 minutes, or until dough comes together, and forms a smooth ball. (If you don't have a dough hook you can knead this by hand for about 10 minutes.)
Butter a large glass bowl and add the dough, turning over to make sure it is coated with butter so it won't stick. Cover with plastic wrap and place a clean dish towel over top (to keep the heat in) place in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, about 1to 2 hours depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
Make the filling: In a small bowl combine the softened butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
When the dough has doubled i n size, scoop from bowl onto a lightly floured surface, punch down and roll into a 15x9-inch rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough, leaving a half inch border. Beginning with the long side, roll up tightly, dusting extra flour off the bottom side as you roll it up, and pinch edges to seal. Using a serrated knife, cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch slices, depending on how many you want to make. (You can also use unflavored dental floss to cut the rolls, which works great and the rolls don't squish down.)
Generously butter the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish (if you are making 12 huge roles you will only need one dish; if you cut your rolls 1-inch wide you will need an extra baking dish to hold the remaining 4 rolls). Place cinnamon rolls in baking dish(es) and let rise again for 30 to 40 minutes or until rolls have doubled in size and fill up the pan. At this point you can either bake them or refrigerate them and bake later. You can also leave them in the refrigerator overnight, wrapped really well in plastic wrap. (I like to refrigerate them overnight and then bake in the morning so we can have them for breakfast...but they great at whatever time you eat them!) When you are ready to bake, allow them to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before putting into a preheated oven.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls on the center rack for 20 to 25 minutes or until a light golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes. Make the icing while rolls cool by combining the cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and maple extracts and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Mix well so the cream cheese is smooth. Spread evenly over the warm rolls. Makes 12 huge rolls or 16 good-size rolls.
"Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven is a friend for life." Lemony Snicket
Why did the cinnamon roll? Because it saw the apple turnover.
"Carpe diem et cinnamomum volumen!" (Sieze the day and the cinnamon roll!)
Okay, I'm done.