playing catch up: pumpkin cinnamon rolls

strawberry picking

It seems my blog has jumped straight from ushering in spring to welcoming autumn, without the slightest mention of a summer in between. I had grand intentions for this past summer, and many of those intentions became realities. For better or for worse, keeping up with my little corner of the blogosphere was not one of them. I’m starting to convince myself that it was for the better, as I traded time behind a computer for time picking tomatoes on the farm, collecting seashells with my dog, and relishing the rest of summer’s simplest joys.

round swamp produce

When I wasn’t frolicking along the beach or picking raspberries from our backyard garden, I was working. Hard. Or at least, harder than I’ve ever worked before. In the mornings and afternoons, I worked in a kitchen. And not just any kitchen, but the esteemed kitchen at Round Swamp Farm, a local, family-run treasure that’s won over the hearts and bellies of so many both near and far. It was challenging and exhausting and a dream come true. The people who tend to the market, kitchen, and farm truly are some the hardest working people I’ve ever met, and it was a privilege just to work alongside them. That experience deserves a post all it’s own.


After clocking out of the kitchen, I spent most of my evenings with my favorite pair of crazies. It has been such a treat to watch these two grow… and my, have they grown! I am humbled that after all these years, they still want to spend time with little old me. This summer brought us many nights of chasing sunsets, climbing lifeguard stands, and stuffing our faces with Mexican takeout. I think that, in many ways, this was our best summer yet.

pumpkin cinnamon rolls

And just like that, summer ends, and I transition back into my life as a student in western New York. This is my final year in pursuing my bachelor’s, and I anticipate that it will be a transformational one. I began my first student teaching placement three weeks ago in kindergarten. In that short time, I’ve already learned so much about myself and about children, and I know there’s still so very much to be learned. It’s all very exciting, challenging, and rewarding.

The highlight of my weekend is spending my Saturday mornings at the local farmers’ market. I walk by each stand at least half a dozen times, daydreaming about life on a farm and planning out meals for the coming week. When the pie pumpkins made their first appearance of the season at my favorite vendor, I just had to take one home with me. So I roasted it, scooped and strained the puree, and used my yield to make pumpkin cinnamon rolls. I don’t think I need to sell anyone on the idea of pumpkin cinnamon rolls, seeing as most everyone loves pumpkin-flavored anything these days. Needless to say, these rolls are everything I’d imagined they’d be: the perfect cinnamon roll, soft and sticky-sweet, somehow made even better by the addition of all those warm spices we find ourselves craving this time of year.


lightly adapted from BAKED ELEMENTS

Note: I halved this recipe to make five rolls because I can’t be trusted with twice as many rolls in my apartment. And yes, I halved an ingredient that called for only one egg. I did this by beating the egg with a fork until the yolk and white were mixed together, then measuring the egg using my scale, then adding only half of the egg to my recipe.

Another note: If you want to eat these fresh in the morning but don’t want to have to wake up several hours earlier to make them, you can make the bulk of this recipe the night before. Once the rolls are sliced and in the pan, cover them with two tight layers of plastic wrap and refrigerate them. In the morning, remove the pan from the refrigerator and proceed with the recipe as normal; however, make sure you allow sufficient time for the dough to come to room temperature and rise properly.

For the pumpkin dough:

  • 3 1⁄2 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 ounces (3⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
  • 2⁄3 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2⁄3 cup pumpkin puree (canned or homemade – recipe follows)

For the cinnamon filling:

  • 3⁄4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ounce (1⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the assembly:

  • 1 ounce (1⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 1⁄4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  1. Make the pumpkin dough: Butter one 10-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sugars, yeast, salt, cinnamon, and ginger on medium speed. Add the butter and mix until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the milk and egg and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add the pumpkin puree and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. The dough will be light orange in color and feel soft and sticky. Remove the dough from the bowl, carefully form it into a large ball, smooth the top with your hands, and place it in a clean, lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling.
  2. Make the cinnamon filling: In a small bowl, stir together the sugars, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Add the melted butter and stir until combined.
  3. Assemble the rolls: Dust a work surface with a sprinkling of flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a large rectangle approximately 20 by 10 inches, brush the dough with half the melted butter, and sprinkle the filling over the butter, leaving a 1⁄4-inch border around the edges. Use the palms of your hands to press the filling lightly into the dough. Roll up the long side of the rectangle to form a tight log and place it seam side down. Slice the log into ten 2-inch rolls. Place one roll in the center of the cake pan, then fill in the rest of the pan with the other rolls. Brush the tops of the rolls with the remaining melted butter, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside until the rolls have almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position the rack in the center.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops of the rolls are browned. In order to pour your icing over still-warm rolls for the best effect, prep all the frosting ingredients while the rolls are baking and put together the frosting (this will only take about 5 minutes) immediately after the rolls come out of the oven.
  6. Make the frosting: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and buttermilk on medium speed until the mixture is lump free. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat on medium-low speed until a smooth, fluid mixture forms.
  7. Serve the rolls: Invert the pan of rolls onto a serving plate or leave them in the pan for a rustic look. Pour the frosting over the warm rolls. It’s okay if a little bit of the frosting drips down the sides—it’s even encouraged. (Alternatively, use an offset spatula to apply the icing.) Serve immediately.



  • 2-4 pie pumpkins (on the small side)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Slice the top off of each pumpkin just below the stem, then slice each pumpkin in half from top to bottom. Use a spoon to scoop out the innards, reserving the seeds for toasting or other use. Place the pumpkins cut side down on the baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 50-70 minutes, depending on the size and shape of your pumpkins. When done, the flesh should give way to a fork without any effort.
  4. Remove the pan from the oven and allow pumpkins to cool for several minutes, until you can handle them with bare hands. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh from the pumpkin skill and place the flesh in a food processor. Pulse until smooth. (Alternatively, use an immersion blender or another appliance of that sort to pulse until smooth.
  5. If using for baking, you will want to strain your puree in a cheesecloth for at least one hour. Use the puree immediately or freeze in containers for up to a month. Pumpkin puree freezes very well. Make sure to thaw overnight in your refrigerator before using.

7 thoughts on “playing catch up: pumpkin cinnamon rolls

  1. says:

    I’ve been wondering when I would be blessed again!! So excited, have t even read it yet!!

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Marian says:

    Love this blog!! Oh how happy it makes me!
    We shar the same passion…..
    luv luv

  3. Nancy says:

    So happy you are back!! Can’t wait to try this recipe! New beginnings one of unlimited potential!! XOXO

  4. Abby says:

    Ms. Meghan, as I read this I have a huge smile across my face! I am so very proud of you………💚

  5. Brian says:

    Double smiles, to a great summer’s past

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