ONE PUMPKIN DOUGH. THREE WAYS. As seen on the Today Show

I cannot lie.  I'm obsessed with soft, tender bread products.  All those things you've heard about me? All true.  I like it spongy.  The spongier, the better.
Making the buns on the Today Show.  For the video click HERE.

I also love when that beautifully tender and spongy dough can be purposed to create many, entirely different yummies.  And if it contains pumpkin, so much the better.

So I developed one pumpkin dough that makes three of my favorites things and it makes them GLORIOUSLY.

 Cinnamon rolls?


Supple dinner rolls?

To see my Today Show segment, where I made these scrumptious goodies, click HERE.  Otherwise, click on to get the recipes!



4 ½ - 5 cups all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur’s All-Purpose)
¼ cup plain mashed potato flakes (I use Betty Crocker’s ‘Potato Buds’), finely ground in a food processor or blender
1 envelope instant dry yeast (I use Red Star’s Platinum instant yeast)
1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
zest 1 lemon
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
½ cup canned pumpkin puree (I use Libby's)
¼ cup maple syrup
1 whole, large egg (room temperature)
1 egg yolk (room temperature)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or vanilla bean extract)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

NOTE:  Instant yeast is combined with the dry ingredients and isn’t bloomed like fast acting yeast in water. 


In a large mixing bowl, stir together 4 ½ cups flour, potato flakes, yeast, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest.  Set aside. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, whisk together the milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, egg, egg yolk and vanilla extract.  Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined.  The dough will look very "shaggy" but the flour and wet ingredients should all be incorporated.

Slowly add the butter, a small piece at a time, and continue mixing until a smooth dough forms (about 10 – 15 minutes).  

Butter added.  Still not very smooth but it'll get there.
After adding the butter and mixing until it's just incorporated, you can take the dough out of the mixer and knead by hand to give your mixer a break and give yourself a workout.  

Transfer the dough from the mixing bowl to a lightly floured surface (take the flour from the reserve 1/2 cup) to knead by hand for about 5 - 10 minutes until smooth.

Add a little flour, a tablespoon at a time from the reserve 1/2 cup, if the dough sticks to the work surface and your hands.  It should still be tacky and soft but not terribly sticky.
If finishing in a mixer, the dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl but a small bit usually remains on the very bottom of the bowl (if it’s too sticky in that it literally sticks to your finger when you touch it and isn't just tacky, add a tablespoon of the reserve flour one tablespoon at a time). 
Smooth dough, ready for its first proof.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and turn the dough over a few times in the bowl so that it’s evenly coated.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to proof and rise about double its size in a warm corner of the kitchen about 1 – 1 ½ hours.

(makes 12)

For the filling

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and allowed to cool to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon cinnamon
pinch salt

Mix all the filling ingredients together but the butter in a small bowl.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Roll out the dough into a 18” x 14” rectangle, making sure that the work surface has a very fine layer of flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the surface of the work station (alternatively, spray the work surface and rolling pin with non-stick cooking spray).

Spread the soft butter over the surface of the dough and sprinkle the filling over the butter-smeared area, leaving a ½ inch naked border free from filling on one long end.

Roll the dough into a long log, starting at the long end opposite the naked border like a jellyroll.

Cut the dough log into 12 even pieces.  Arrange the slices in rows, leaving about an inch between them.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow to proof at room temperature for 40-50 minutes until slightly puffy.


Take off the plastic wrap and cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil.  Bake for 25-30 minutes and take off the foil to check how close the middles of the rolls are to done.  Bake 5 minutes more or until the buns are lightly golden brown and baked through.

Alternatively, place only 6 rolls per pan (using two parchment lined pans), tucking the loose end under and allow to proof.

Bun, spaced and loose end tucked under.

For the icing

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
pinch salt
Note:  this makes a lot of icing.  I happen to LOVE a cinnamon bun loaded with the stuff but if you enjoy a less frosted bun, you can half the recipe.

Icing procedure
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix all the icing ingredients until smooth.  Drizzle over the warm buns.

(makes 16)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon coarse, Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Roll the dough into an 8" tall  x 24" long rectangle.  Cut the dough into 16 isosceles triangles and roll into a spiral, starting at the wide end and tucking the narrow tip under.

Place the rolls on a parchment lined sheet pan, spacing a few inches apart.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof until puff, about 1 hour.

Brush rolls with melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.  Take from the oven and brush with more butter immediately, while the buns are still hot.  

(makes 16 donuts and 16+ donut holes)

Roll once proofed dough to 1/8" thick on a lightly floured work surface.  Using a donut cutter, cut out donuts and place on a parchment lined sheet pan lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof until puffy, about 1 hour.

To fry

Canola oil (enough to fill a heavy stock pot with 2 inches of oil)

Attach a thermometer to the pot and bring the oil to 350ºF.  Keep the heat consistent, lowering the flame if need be.

Add the donuts, a few at a time, frying on each side about a minute or until lightly golden brown.  Transfer to a paper towel briefly and then coat with glaze while still warm.

For the glaze

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon dry, powdered non-fat milk
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt

Mix all ingredients along with 2 tablespoons of water until smooth.  If the mixture is too thick, add another tablespoon of water and stir until well combined.  Dip the hot donuts into the glaze, coating them completely on one side.  If you're crazy like I am, I turn the donut over and coat on the other side as well.  Transfer to a parchment lined sheet pan to cool.

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