This small batch of pumpkin cinnamon rolls are soft, fluffy, and filled with lots of pumpkin flavor, and smothered with a buttery, cinnamon sugar filling. Served warm and topped with a delicious maple frosting, and you'll be in heaven once you take that first bite!
In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low-medium heat until it reaches 180ºF. Set to the side and let it cool down to 100ºF-115ºF degrees or when it is warm to the touch. You can also microwave this in a heat-proof glass measuring cup for 15 seconds at a time until the milk reaches 180ºF.
In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, instant yeast, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set to the side.
2 cups All-Purpose Flour, 1 ½ teaspoon Instant Yeast (½ package), 2 tablespoon Light Brown Sugar, 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon Salt
In a separate bowl, whisk together the warm milk, pumpkin puree, melted unsalted butter, and lightly beaten egg.
⅓ cup Whole Milk, ½ cup Pumpkin Puree, 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, 1 large Egg
Add the dry mixture to the wet and mix together with a spatula until the dough begins to form.
Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook and knead at a low speed for 7-8 minutes or until the dough has come together. The dough should be soft and a little sticky that pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. If it’s still very sticky, you can add in the additional ¼ cup of all-purpose flour, one (1) tablespoon at a time. You can also choose to stir the dough by hand with a danish dough whisk instead of using the mixing bowl and dough hook.
Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, kneading it with your hands into a soft and smooth ball. Then transfer it to a lightly greased medium bowl. I use Baker's Joy to coat the bowl, but you can also use an olive oil spray. Cover with plastic wrap and/or a clean tea towel and place it in a warm area of your kitchen to allow the dough to rest and double in size (about 1 hour).If you plan to let the dough rest in your oven (see notes below) do not use plastic wrap!
For the cinnamon spice filling
In a small mixing bowl, mix together the light brown sugar, granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, and allspice. Set to the side. The room temperature unsalted butter will be used as a spread later when we assemble the rolls.
Lightly spray a ⅛ sheet pan or a 6-inch round (or square) baking pan with a flour-based baking spray and set to the side.
Once the dough has doubled, punch it down using your fist, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Make sure to lightly flour the rolling pin too. Roll the dough out to about a 10” x 12” rectangle. Spread the unsalted butter onto the dough with an offset spatula, leaving about a ¼ inch border. Then sprinkle the cinnamon spice filling over the top.
Starting at the longest end of the dough, roll up tightly to form a log.
Using a sharp knife, slice the dough log into 6 equal rolls then place onto the prepared baking sheet or into the prepared baking pan, cut side down. I like to use a ruler to help evenly mark my cinnamon rolls. I also cut off the ends for a nice clean edge. You can still bake the edges in a separate pan though!
Cover again with either plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm spot of your kitchen. Allow them to rise for an additional 25 minutes or until they have doubled in size. Meanwhile, adjust your oven rack to the 2nd level position (just above center) and preheat your oven to 350ºF.
If making overnight small batch cinnamon rolls cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. Before baking, let sit at room temperature for it's second rise 1 hour before baking. Brush on the egg wash, then bake.
In a small bowl lightly beat the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water, then brush onto the rolls. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350ºF. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes before adding the maple frosting.
1 large Egg Yolk, 1 tablespoon Water
For the maple frosting
In a small bowl, mix together the unsalted butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, milk, and powdered sugar using your hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. The amount of frosting is small though so a hand mixer will work best here. This frosting can be made a day or two in advance of making the cinnamon rolls. Keep it stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature 20-25 minutes before using.
¼ teaspoon Salt, 2 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, 2 tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup, 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, 2 tablespoon Whole Milk, 2 cups Sifted Powdered Sugar, ⅛ teaspoon Salt
Slightly beat your egg before adding it into the dough mixture.
If additional ¼ cup all-purpose flour is needed add the flour 1 tablespoon at a time. For reference, ¼ cup equals 4 tablespoons.
To let your dough rest in a warm oven, adjust the oven rack to the middle or center position. Preheat your oven to the lowest temperature, then turn off the oven once it is preheated. Place your bowl of dough in the oven with a medium-size bowl of boiling water on the rack below with the door closed. After 1 hour, open the door and remove the dough (and the bowl of water).
When slicing the dough into rolls, use a ruler to mark where you will be cutting so each roll is roughly the same height.