Gooey Pumpkin Nut Cinnamon Rolls

MiscNov 021I promise this is my very last pumpkin-related recipe for the season. Honest! I wasn’t going to open another can of pumpkin until it was time to make pies for Thanksgiving, but the thought of a pumpkin filled cinnamon roll got into my head and wouldn’t leave…and I’m glad I paid attention, because these are so good!

Nothing compares to the fragrance of cinnamon rolls warm from the oven. Except, perhaps, cinnamon rolls with a spicy pumpkin-walnut filling. Add a vanilla glaze dripping down the side, and you have a pastry worthy of company―or an afternoon indulgence for a busy day.

They also freeze well and can be quickly microwaved for an impromptu snack. The recipe makes 20-24 rolls (depending on what kind of pan you plan to use) and just for the record I want you to know I had ONE of them. And then they were gone. So you got the two-thumbs-up seal of approval from my menfolk.

Here you go:

Gooey Pumpkin Nut Cinnamon Rolls
Makes 20-24 rolls.
  • Dough
  • ⅓ cup warm water
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • .............
  • Filling
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • .............
  • Glaze
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon soft butter
  • Cream or milk for desired consistency
  1. Lightly grease two or three round cake pans or one 12-inch by 18-inch rectangular pan. Feel free to improvise―rolls spaced closely together will rise higher, and rolls placed farther apart in a rectangular pan will be more uniform.
  2. In a large bowl combine water, yeast, and ½ teaspoon sugar. Let the mixture sit until bubbly – about 5 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl combine the buttermilk, ⅓ cup sugar, melted butter, eggs and salt. Whisk together.
  4. Add the buttermilk mixture to the yeast mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Add the flour slowly. (If using a stand mixer, use your dough hook.) Mix for one minute. If you will be kneading by hand, put dough on a floured surface and knead for 8 minutes. If you are using a stand mixer, it will take 5 minutes. The dough should come cleanly away from the bowl. If it doesn’t, add flour a little at a time. This should be soft, elastic dough, but should not be sticky.
  6. Place the dough in a large greased bowl and cover with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rise until double – about an hour.
  7. While the bread is rising, combine all of the filling ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  8. When the dough has doubled, punch it down. Working with half of the dough at a time, roll into a 10-inch by 14-inch rectangle, with the long edge facing you. Spread with half of the filling.
  9. Beginning at the long edge facing you, roll the dough, gently pulling towards you as you roll, to keep it snug. Slice into 12 pieces. (If using just two round cake pans, slice into 10 pieces) Repeat with the remaining dough.
  10. Place pieces in greased pan. If using 3 round pans, arrange 8 slices in each. If using 2 round pans, arrange 10 slices in each. For a large rectangular pan, space all 24 slices evenly. Cover and allow rolls to rise for about an hour.
  11. Heat oven to 400 F.
  12. Bake rolls for 17-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  13. Cool in the pans on a rack until they are slightly warm, and transfer to a serving platter.
  14. When the rolls are cool, combine all of the ingredients for the glaze, beginning with 1 tablespoon of cream or milk, and mix well. Add additional milk until it reaches the desired consistency. Pour or brush over the rolls.


Rolls are in the pan, ready to rise.

Rolls are in the pan, ready to rise.

Pretty! Poofy! Ready for the oven.

Pretty! Poofy! Ready for the oven.

And...done! Can you smell them?

And…done! Can you smell them?

MiscNov 023Now on to eggnog and peppermint and chocolate and caramel and rum and….well, you get the picture.  I hear those sleigh bells ringing!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dessert

column5 088Dump cakes are new to me. Whenever one would pop up on Facebook, I’d just move along because why would anyone want to eat something with the worddump” in it? Seriously, can you think of a single positive connotation? Besides that, they use a boxed cake mix, which I try to stay away from.

Then I ate a pumpkin dump cake at a club meeting, and was smitten. The flavors, the crunch. (Cue erotic moaning here.)

When I was experimenting with homemade make-ahead cake mixes for my October Food for Thought column (which will be up on October 2) the logical thing to test it on – besides a cake –  was a pumpkin dessert. I wheedled the recipe from the lady at club, added pockets of cheesecake to the recipe and used lots of pecans. I also may have topped the warm dessert with a scoop of maple nut ice cream.

And I was, for once, speechless. It was beyond good. My personal preference when it comes to desserts is for something plain. A slice of angel food cake. A brownie. A bowl of ice cream. I have no problem with making complicated recipes – the harder and more involved it is, the more I enjoy the process – but I  would rather eat something simple, and this was just so…busy looking.

Honey, let me tell you – looks aren’t everything. The complex flavors will make you weep.

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how to make the filling for pumpkin pie, right? You just grab a 15 oz. can of Libby’s solid pack pumpkin and follow instructions. Or you buy the pre-made kind in a can. Or you follow your grandma’s recipe with condensed milk or whipping cream and brandy.

The foundation of this dessert is a batch of pumpkin pie filling. Covered with dollops of cream cheesy goodness. Suffocated with a thick layer of dry cake mix. Drizzled with melted butter. Adorned with pecans. What’s not to love?

If you must use a boxed white cake mix, that’s OK.  If you would like to make yours from scratch, here’s a small version of my cake mix. You’ll use about 1/2 of this (my cake mix is a little more generous than the packaged kind). Save the rest in an airtight container for your next dump cake, or check out the October Yummy column for the full cake recipe.

White Cake Mix

3 cups cake flour
1/2 cup dry milk powder
1 3/4 cups sugar (I use superfine, but regular is OK)
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Thoroughly whisk together all ingredients. Use half of this recipe for topping a dump cake and store the rest in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 months.

Here’s how it all gets put together:

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Dessert
Serves 12 A scoop of ice cream is lovely over this warm dessert.
  • Pumpkin pie filling for one pie
  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 package white cake mix, DRY!
  • ¾ cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup (or more) chopped pecans
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease and flour (I use Baker's Joy spray) a 9x13 cake pan or casserole dish.
  3. Spread the pumpkin pie filling evenly in the bottom of pan.
  4. Cream the cream cheese, powdered sugar, flour, vanilla, and egg together well.
  5. While beating, slowly add the milk a little at a time. You may not need all the milk - it depends on the size of your egg. I use jumbo eggs and 2 tablespoons was just right. The goal is to have the mixture the texture of thick pudding.
  6. Drop the cream cheese mixture in rounded tablespoons over the pumpkin. Take a knife and pull it through gently. You don't want to mix the pumpkin and cream just want to have it evenly distributed. Another option would be to put the cream cheese filling in a zipper bag, cut the tip off, and pipe it all over the pumpkin.
  7. Cover completely with dry cake mix.
  8. Drizzle evenly with melted butter.
  9. Sprinkle with pecans.
  10. Bake for approximately 1 hour. Let it cool on a rack and eat it when it's barely warm.
  11. Refrigerate leftovers.


Globs of cream cheese mixture, covered with dry cake mix.

Drop globs of cream cheese mixture over the surface OR use a zipper storage bag with the tip cut off to squeeze it evenly over the pumpkin.

(Yes, I know. I didn’t pull a knife through the cream cheese before I covered it with cake mix. I learn as I go!)

column5 085

Drizzle with butter

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

I always get excited about new recipes (I wish I could be that passionate about housework) but this one has really stolen my heart. It is my new go-to Fall “company vittles” dessert, and will probably take the place of pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

Now that I shared my new addiction with you, may I ask for a favor? Pretty please? I’m one of the top 13 finalists for Blogger Idol, and just finished my first assignment which will go live at noon on Wednesday, October 2nd. Would you please check it out and vote for me? Thank you, Foodie Friends!