Double Pumpkin Pecan Cinnamon Buns

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I often rave about how simple and easy my posts are. This my friends, is a weekend project. If you wanted these for brunch today, too late, you should have started last night. Unless of course you’re the type of person to get up upwards of 3-5 hours before everyone, these are best made a head of time. I know, you want them now. I’ve cheated cinnamon buns many times with biscuit dough, which were good, but never the same as soft, fluffy, yeasty buns.

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Why I’ve never thought of adding of warmly spiced pumpkin in the dough and the filling, sprinkled with toasted pecans, baffles me. You’d swear you were in a high end bakery or bed and breakfast. The only thing here is, you can put as much icing on as you want. No one’s looking, go a head and lick the spatula.

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I know it’s a bit of a bummer posting this sunday afternoon. Chances are, you do have enough time to make them tonight, but maybe not eat them tomorrow. But really, why not? Take them out as soon as you get up (it may be earlier than normal for this master plan to succeed) get ready for work, bake them in the mean time and voila! Best. Monday. Ever.

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You could be even sneakier and prep/bake them entirely tonight, reheat them in the oven and slather them with icing tomorrow. There’s always next weekend too or your day off; but now I feel like I’ve sold them to you and I’m wasting your time ranting. The rest is up to you. Also, no one ever said you couldn’t have cinnamon buns for dinner did they?

Double Pumpkin Pecan Cinnamon Buns

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Canadian Living

Yields 12-16 buns (depending on how you cut them)

Dough

  • 1/4 cup melted, browned, salted butter, to be divided plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk, warmed (but not over 116 degrees)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from 1 .25-ounce or 7 gram envelope yeast)
  • 2 1/4 cups (440 grams) all-perpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 1/4 cups (440gams) whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup (packed) (50 grams) light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2/3 cups (160 grams) pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
  • 1 large egg
  • Oil for coating rising bowl

Filling

    • 1 tablespoon reserved melted butter
    • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree2 tbsp (30 mL) packed brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 pinch nutmeg
    • 1 pinch ground allspice
    • 1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans

Icing*

  • 4 ounces (115 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk or buttermilk
  • 2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • Few drops vanilla extract (optional)

Make Dough

  1. Melt your butter, and hey, if you’re melting it in a little saucepan, you might as well brown it for extra flavor. Once the butter has melted, keep cooking it over medium heat for a few additional minutes. It will become hissy and sizzle a lot, then take on a nutty flavor as golden bits form at the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Combine your warmed milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. After five to seven minutes, it should be a bit foamy. If it’s not, you might have some bad yeast and should start again with a newer packet.
  3. In the bottom of the bowl of an electric mixer combine flour, sugars, salt and spices. Add just 1/4 cup (or two-thirds of; leave the rest for assembly) of your melted/browned butter and stir to combine. Add yeast-milk mixture, pumpkin and egg and mix combined. Switch mixer to a dough hook and run it for 5 minutes on low.
  4. Scrape mixture into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 1-2 hours in a draft-free place; it should just about double.
  5. While it is rising, butter the bottom of a 9″x13″ baking dish and prepare filling.

Make Filling

  1. Combine all ingredients except butter in a small bowl, set aside until ready to use.
  2. Chop pecans roughly. Toast over low to medium-low heat, tossing often until evenly toasted; about 20 minutes-the lower and slower you go, the deeper the flavour.

Assemble Buns

  1. Scoop dough onto a very well floured surface and flour the top of it well. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to an approximately 16×11-inch rectangle. Brush reserved melted/browned butter over dough. Stir together remaining filling ingredients and sprinkle mixture evenly over dough. Starting on a longer side, roll the dough into a tight spiral. It’s going to make a mess because the dough is crazy soft and some stuff spills off the ends; don’t sweat it. It will all be delicious in the end.
  2. Here’s how to cut cinnamon rolls without squishing their pretty spirals: With a sharp serrated knife, using absolutely no pressure whatsoever (only the weight of the blade should land on the dough) gently saw your log with a back-forth motion into desired number of buns. When a soft dough like this is rolled, it tends to grow longer, which means that you’ll have the option to either make more buns (say, 18 instead of 16) or just cut them a little larger.
  3. Place buns into prepared pans. You can sprinkle any sugar that fell off onto the counter over them. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45-60 minutes.
  4. If you’re doing this ahead of time, you can now put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, leave them out for an hour to warm up and finish rising.
  5. Remove buns from refrigerator at least an hour before you intend to bake them.
  6. Preheat oven to 350˚
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until tops are dull and slightly browned.
  8. Remove from oven, cool slightly and add icing. Best enjoyed warm.
  9. To reheat, microwave on high for 30 seconds, longer if you want it to be extra gooey
*I had left over icing from something else; a bit of a Frankenstein frosting to be honest; I didn’t make the one provided but I’m sure it’s great!
P.S. You didn’t hear it form me, but a little drizzle of maple syrup over these warm buns take them over the top. Don’t try it, whatever you do; you won’t be able to stop eating.
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