So I know the actual first day of Fall isn’t for a few weeks, but as far as I’m concerned Labor Day is the end of summer. After that it’s Fall. Even when it’s still 90 degrees outside. A year ago Brandon had just gotten a job here and we were preparing to make the move from Florida to Virginia. I cannot tell you how much happier I am in Virginia and the main reason for that is because of Fall (and Winter, Spring and even Summer). There are actual seasons here! Maybe I’m strange for being so affected by the weather, but I found the static-ness of Florida’s temperature and landscape to be utterly depressing (I probably would’ve felt differently if we had lived closer to the ocean, which I love, but unfortunately we were right in the middle of the state). Since I wasn’t here this time last year it’s nice to go out and see the beginnings of Fall; leaves are already starting to change color and fall off. In short, I’m really excited about Fall. Probably more excited than a normal person should be, but there ya go. I lived in Florida for more than 5 years, so there’s going to be at least couple of more years of me being totally enamored by this season.
Besides the beautiful weather, the other thing I love about Fall is the food. I am so ready for lots and lots of soups, stews and chili. And also the baking, lots and lots baking. I discovered the versatility of pumpkin last year, so I really want to take advantage of it this year. Unfortunately, I heard there is still a canned pumpkin shortage, so you should stock up while you can! But if you can’t find it canned, wait until they start selling fresh pumpkins and you can easily make your own pumpkin puree. I’ve included the directions at the bottom of this post, all you need is 15 minutes and a microwave!
Luckily, I still had a can left in my pantry from last year, so when I saw this recipe I decided to make it immediately. It’s a perfect Fall recipe! Plus, I love cinnamon buns, I love pumpkin and I love streusal. How could I not love these?
And I did, in fact, love these. They are moist and delicious, and even better, since the recipe is from Cooking Light, they aren’t terrible for you. I made a few changes, though. First, there was not nearly enough of the streusal filling so I added a bit more. The streusal is the best part, you can’t skimp on that even if it adds a few more calories. I also thought it could also use more pumpkin. These buns are a beautiful color, but the flavor wasn’t quite there, so next time I will add at least 1/4 cup more pumpkin (the recipe below reflects this change).
As with any kind of yeast breads, these take some time to make, but in the end it’s only about 2 hours from start to finish. Since you can be off doing something else the majority of that time, these aren’t difficult or time consuming at all. You can even prepare these buns the night before, refrigerate and then just pop the pan in the oven the next morning. What’s better than fresh, hot cinnamon buns on a crisp Fall morning?
Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusal Buns
adapted from Cooking Light Complete Cookbook
Breakfast | Servings: 12
Prep time: 30 min | Cook time: 20 min | Total time: 1 hour 25 min
- 1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)
- 3 cups flour, divided (4 cups if using canned pumpkin)
- 3/4 cup canned pumpkin or fresh pumpkin puree (recipe below)
- 1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk (I used nonfat milk with about a tablespoon of half and half)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 5 tbsp. sugar
- 5 tbsp. brown sugar
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 3 tbsp. chilled butter, cut into small pieces
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp. milk (doesn’t matter which kind)
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla
- Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes.
- In the bowl, add 2 cups flour (3 cups if using canned pumpkin), pumpkin, milk, butter, sugar, salt and nutmeg. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead* for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding enough of the remaining cup of flour, a little at a time, until it is tacky but not sticky. You can test the elasticity by cutting off a golf ball-sized piece and use your fingers to stretch it into a very thin sheet which looks almost translucent when held up to the light. If it won’t stretch and/or tears too easily, then you need to keep kneading until the dough passes the windowpane test. It’s also helpful to have an instant read thermometer because the dough should be ready when it’s between 77-81 degrees.
*Note: If you’re lazy like me, you could just switch your mixer to the dough hook. But it’s hard to tell if the dough is still too sticky in a mixer, so what I did is add about 1/4 cup flour and mixed with the hook on medium speed for 4-5 minutes. Then I turned it onto a floured surface and kneaded for 3-4 more minutes incorporating a little bit more flour as necessary.
- Place the dough inside a large bowl that has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray or oil. Roll the dough around to lightly coat it in oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft free, place* (85 degrees) for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. You’ll know it’s risen enough if you press two fingers into the dough and an indentation remains.
*Note: I don’t have a place that warm in my house, so I turn on the oven for 30 seconds to a minute and immediately turn it off. Then I place the bowl in the warm oven and close the door.
- Punch dough down; cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough into a 12×10 inch rectangle. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Starting with a long edge, roll up tightly, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal. Cut the roll into 12 (1 inch) slices. Place slices in a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 25 minutes or until doubled in size.
Note: After the second rise you could put the rolls in your fridge overnight. In the morning, take them out and let sit an hour to come back to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 15 minutes in pan on a wire rack.
- In a small bowl, stir the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle glaze over buns.
Serve warm. These are best eaten within 1-3 days (they get stale faster due to the lower fat content). Store in an air tight container.
adapted from Cooking Light Complete Cookbook
Breakfast | Servings: 12
Prep time: 5 min | Cook time: 10 min | Total time: 15 min
- 1 (2-pound) pumpkin
- Cut the pumpkin in half lengthwise, discarding seeds and membranes.
- Place pumpkin halves, cut sides down, in a baking dish, and add 1/4 cup water to the dish. Cover with heavy-duty plastic wrap, and vent.
- Microwave on high for 10 minutes (or about 5 minutes per pound) until pumpkin is tender when pierced with a fork. Cool slightly, and scoop out filling.