The other day I walked into our local TJMaxx store to buy a gift for a friend, and walked out with a gift for that friend and one for myself. Guess what I bought for myself. Not difficult. Yes, a cookbook. I always rush to those small nooks in clothing and home goods stores to see if there are any cookbooks there for me. It’s a bit of an obsession and so far my attempts to curb it have proven unsuccessful. This time I walked out of the store with Cooking Light Complete Cookbook in my hands. Perhaps the word “light” did the job to me as I had just committed myself to eating lighter, healthier, and becoming fitter in the new year. So, the book really hit the spot. I was a happy camper. Rushed home, leafed through the pages, and bookmarked the first recipe to try. Pumpkin rolls!
I had some pumpkin puree left in my freezer and the opportunity to use it had been long ripe. The pumpkin puree made these rolls super tender, added a bit of a flavor and nice color. The kids raved and so did the grownups.
To receive the sought after accolades, I wanted to perfect the recipe, so I improvised with it liberally to take it to that next level. For example, the recipe didn’t call for pecans, but I thought pecans would make a nice crunchy addition to the cinnamon filling. I also drizzled the rolls with a maple glaze instead of regular vanilla glaze suggested in the original recipe. The directions, sizes, and measurements were tweaked and a perfect pumpkin-pecan rolls with maple glaze recipe was born. It plans to live a long life in our household. Amen.
Pumpkin-Pecan Rolls with Maple Glaze
Adapted liberally from Cooking Light Complete Cookbook
Makes 18 rolls
1 package dry yeast ( 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup homemade pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup pecans, chopped (not too finely; can substitute walnuts)
Maple Glaze (you can use regular vanilla glaze instead, too):
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
Prepare the dough: Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large mixing bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the flour, pumpkin puree, milk, butter, sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour and knead to incorporate the ingredients. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes. The dough will feel tacky and it is OK. But it shouldn’t stick to your hands much. If it does, add a little more flour and continue to knead.
Place the dough back in the bowl lightly coated with olive oil. Cover with a plastic wrap or kitchen towels and let rise in a warm place, 45 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into the dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)
Prepare the filling: Combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blended or rub with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the pecans, toss to combine, and set aside.
Stuff the dough: Lightly flour your work surface. Transfer the dough to the surface and roll into a 18-by-11-inch (45-by-28-cm) rectangle. Sprinkle evenly with the filling. Roll out the rectangle tightly, starting with a long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets. Cut the roll into 18 (1-inch/2.5-cm) slices. Arrange the slices in a circle in a 11-inch (28-cm) round baking pan, lightly buttered. Cover and let rise 25 minutes, until doubled in size.
Bake the rolls: Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Uncover the rolls. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool about 15 minutes in the pan before drizzling the glaze on top.
Make the glaze: Combine the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and milk in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the rolls. Serve warm.