The Virgin Stove

Making everything for the first time

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

I’ve been wanting to try the pumpkin rolls from The Kitchn ever since I saw the recipe last week. I’ve never made bread before and I figured I may as well start with yummy cinnamon rolls with a vegetable mixed in.

I had a lot of time in my other kitchen (I live in 2 apartments) after I did the laundry. I didn’t have pumpkin so I used butternut squash. The recipe calls for canned pumpkin puree but I don’t think we have that in Saudi Arabia, or at least not where I go food shopping, so I just peeled, chopped, boiled and pureed the squash. I wished I had roasted pecans but I would have to add that the next time I make this. The amount of butter and sugar required to make this made me feel guilty so I substituted around half of of the flour with whole-wheat flour and added a bit more squash.

There was a minor incident with regard to the yeast. I used active dry yeast and though I’ve seen my mom use this ingredient so often in the past, I never paid attention. After one hour, the dough refused to rise as promised so I Skyped my mother and asked her.

Mom: Did you use lukwarm water?
Me: Er… very hot water.
Mom: You killed the yeast! It’s ok, the dough can be salvaged. Just add the yeast again. Mix it in a cup of lukewarm water first and if it rises in the cup, work it into your dough.

I did exactly what she said, added more whole-wheat flour, and covered the dough. I had enough time to go to the gym and clean up. After an hour an half, the dough had doubled. The rolling pin was in my other kitchen so I just beat the dough with my well-floured fists into a rectangle over a clean, floured counter. I thought 2 tablespoons of cinnamon wasn’t enough so I added more cinnamon and used less sugar for the filling. Rolling the dough into a cylinder was harder than I thought as the dough was so sticky!

After around 25-30 minutes, the rolls were fragrant and ready. I left a tray to my roommate and a couple of friends and brought the other tray to my father. They all liked them, especially with tea or coffee, but Dad felt bad we didn’t have pecans. All I had were the leftover chopped almonds from the cake that morning so I used that instead.

The original recipe used sugary drizzle but I opted not to. For the sake of those who want to risk the calories, I’ll include the drizzle recipe here.

Pumpkin Rolls
Adapted from The Kitchn

1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 scant tablespoon yeast
1 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
16 oz pumpkin puree
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups whole-wheat flour


1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)


1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup brown sugar
pinch salt
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Topping (optional)
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped


In a bowl, mix flours, salt and set aside. In a cup, sprinkle the yeast in lukewarm water and let sit for 10 minutes. Warm the milk and butter in a metal or Pyrex mixing bowl over low heat. Mix the sugar in and remove from heat once the sugar dissolves. Set aside the milk mixture and make sure that it is cooled (not hot or the yeast won’t work!) before using. As soon as it’s ready, mix the pumpkin puree and yeast in then slowly stir the flour mixture in. Use your fingers if necessary. The dough should be slightly sticky but firm. Add a little more flour of needed. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let sit for 1-1.5 hours.

The dough should double in size. Transfer to a clean, well-floured kitchen counter. Coat your hands or a rolling pin with flour and shape the dough into a rectangle, around 1/2 inch thick.

Prepare two 9×9 inch cake pans. Coat the surfaces with a thin film of butter.

To make the filling, microwave the butter until it melts. Stir the sugar and spices in. Spread all over the rectangle but leave one inch of space on top. Sprinkle 1 cup of pecans over the filling if desired. From the edge closest to you, start rolling the dough into a cylinder. With a knife, cut 1-inch thick rolls. You will have approximately 18 rolls. Arrange the rolls side by side in the the pans loosely, with a small space between the rolls. Sprinkle an additional 1 cup of pecans over the rolls if desired. Cover with a kitchen towel and let sit for 20 minutes so the rolls can rise a bit more. While waiting, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the edges of the rolls look golden brown.

While the rolls are baking, prepare the glaze. Warm the milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Mix in the the brown sugar and salt. As soon as the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat. Stir the powdered sugar in. Pour over the freshly baked rolls.

Brew coffee or tea and enjoy.


One response to “Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

  1. Pingback: Cinnamon Muffins « The Virgin Stove

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