Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls


Are you a pumpkin spice lover or hater? I’m a lover. You haters must have a wee bit of a hard time this year as pumpkinpalooza explodes over everything-showering us with “punkin” delights. Ohhh…me- I love everything spice. Spice is the fruit of life; it’s what makes everything better. Have you ever had a cinnamon roll that just fell flat and didn’t have enough goo or cinnamon between the layers? yeah. I know. It’s a crime. Sooo calorie not worthy. There’s nothing worse than blowing your diet for a non calorie worthy bite. Of anything. This pumpkin roll will not disappoint. This is the roll where you eat salad all week-saving up your calories for just the right moment on a Sunday morning with a cup of Joe for. Promise. I can guarantee you it’s worth every calorie. Truth be told I think I had one roll on the tray that the very inner middle was a wee bit underdone. It was extra gooey and saturated with cinnamon goodness and extra pillowy soft. The Husband exclaimed “Honey, I think it’s a bit underdone” and I retorted; “Yeah, well some people would pay for that inner bite of goo”. He left it on the plate and I’m telling you….I went for that bite and it was pure nirvana. NIRVANA! He was born in Asia; so he didn’t grow up with cinnamon rolls where you know the most coveted bite is that inner piece of cinnamon jackpot bliss. His loss, my gain. Ok, enough of me waxing poetic, and onto the recipe…..

p.s. I cannot tell you how soft and luscious this dough is to work with and roll out. Shout out to Melskitchencafe for her recipe. I doesn’t fight you back when rolling; truth be told I pressed it out almost 80 percent and then just finished by rolling it even. It is that easy to work with. Something to do with that added moistness of the pumpkin makes it a divine dough.


Pumpkin Dough

( dough recipe from Mels Kitchen cafe)

3/4 Cup buttermilk, warmed to ~ 110 degrees F

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg

2/3 Cup pumpkin puree (I swear by Libby’s it’s the only one I use)

1/4 C granulated sugar

1 Tbsp. instant (rapid rise yeast)

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

4-5 Cups all purpose flour (I use unbleached)

In the stand mixer bowl add the warmed buttermilk and butter and mix together. With the mixter running add in the pumpkin, egg, spices and 1 cup of flour. Switch to the dough hook and add in the flour and add a cup of the flour at a time until the dough collects on the hook and beat/kneed until the dough becomes tacky but not sticky. When you touch the dough it should not stick to your finger when you pull it away from the dough; it will feel tacky but no residue of dough will stay; that’s when you know the dough is ready.

Remove dough and shape into a ball and place into a large lightly greased bowl. (The paper from the butter wrapper is perfect to grease the bowl with). Place in a warm spot and over with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. You can speed up the rise if you place in a lightly warmed oven. I turned on my oven to 150 ° F then immediately turned it off; waited 5 mins then parked the bowl in the turned off oven. My dough rose in one hour this way.

When the dough is ready turn it out onto a lightly greased counter and press into a rectangular shape. Roll out gently until it is 16 x 12 inches. Spread the softened butter onto the dough leaving about a centimeter of space on all sides and sprinkle over all the cinnamon filling. It will seem like a lot of filling; but make sure to use it all. Press gently with the hands to allow the filling to adhere to the butter. With the long side in front of you roll up the dough as tightly as possible and pinch the dough together to seal. Cut into 12 equal pieces and place in lightly greased 9×13 inch pan or line the pan with parchment paper.

Cover the pan of rolls and allow to rise one more time in a warm place. (used the oven trick again for this and mine took only 40 mins to rise).

Preheat the oven to 350° F and bake for 22-25 mins or until lightly golden and cooked through. Mine took exactly 22 mins. Check at the 20 min mark though because you don’t want to over bake them. You want them still pillowy soft.

Let the rolls rest for about 6 mins, then pour over the glaze while they are still warm.


Cinnamon Filling

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

3/4 C brown sugar ( I used 2/4 and 1/4 dark)

2 tsp. cinnamon ( I use Saigon cinnamon) (use what you have)


Cream Cheese Icing  (my recipe)

4 oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

3 Cups confectioners sugar

2 Tbsp. whole milk as needed to adjust consistency (depending on how runny you like your icing)

Cream the cream cheese and butter together until combined. Add in the sugar a cup at a time and beat until smooth; (I just do this in a bowl; no need for the mixer). Stir in the vanilla and milk. Adjust the consistency with the milk as needed. Let the rolls rest about 6 mins then pour over the warm rolls.




Blackberry Berliner Donuts

I don’t know why but for the last 2 weeks I’ve been craving a donut.  I pushed it back into the corners of my mind and tried to wage war on it by eating yogurt every day. Then I added granola with berries to my yogurt.  That SO did NOT work. On about the 8th day I woke up again and craved a donut. On the 9th day I started fantasizing about what kind of donut exactly it was that I needed. Not just any donut would do. However, I like my donuts simple. Nothing too crazy usually. That does not mean that for time to time I won’t experiment and come up with something outrageous; it’s just that when it comes to a donut craving it’s usually a simple sugar rolled donut or an “old fashioned” donut that calls me. I like my donuts pillowy soft and somewhat plush.  I knew that a cake donut would not do. It had to be yeast, soft, and FRESH. The kind of donut you sink your teeth into.

This is that donut-a pillowy soft, fluffy interior kind of donut. When you bite into it, the sides envelope you like a feather bed kind of hug, then the sweet and tangy blackberry filling oozes just enough in contrast to the grainy sugar crystals that dance across your lips. Uh huh. You reach for your slightly bitter coffee to wash it down. Yep, I know. Some things are worth waiting for….

Happiness is a blackberry filled donut; pillowy soft on the inside and rolled in sugar

blackbery berliners

Make them large or small; below are donut hole sizeblackberry filled donut holes

Blackberry Berliners

yield: about 1 dozen

recipe: adapted from “Glazed Filled Sugared & Dipped” by Stephen Collucci


3 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

1 1/2 Cups (room temp-slightly warm) whole milk

3 Cups bread flour

3/4 Cup all purpose flour

1/4 Cup sugar + more for rolling donuts in

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/ tsp. nutmeg

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

Vegetable oil for frying

Blackberry seedless preserves for filling (I like Dickensons)


1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment combine the milk and yeast on low speed for 2-3 minutes. You should see bubbling on the surface.

2. In a medium bowl combine the flours, sugar, salt, and nutmeg with a fork. Add the mixture to the stand mixer bowl and mix to combine. Switch to the dough hook, add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Add in the butter and mix on medium speed until well combined. Mix the dough for about 5-8 minutes until the dough gathers on the hook and pulls away from the bowl. The dough should feel mostly smooth but a little sticky. Form the dough into a smooth ball by gently working it with your hands or with a little floured work surface.

3. Grease a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place bowl in a warm, draft-free place and let dough rise until tripled in size. Line a sheet pan with wax paper- you will use this to place the cut donuts onto. Line another sheet pan with paper towels and place a wire rack over the towels.

4. Turn the risen dough onto a floured work surface and lightly flour the top of dough and roll gently into about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 3 inch circular shapes or smaller if desired, place on prepared sheet pan lined with wax paper.

5. Fry donuts 1-3 at a time in a 350° F oil for about 1-2 mins per side until donuts are golden brown. Resist the urge to over fry donuts too dark as that will take away from the dough staying pillowy soft. Allow donuts to cool slightly over a sheet pan lined with paper towels over a wire rack. While donuts are still warm poke a hole in the side of each donut. Roll donuts in sugar and allow donuts to cool completely. When cooled then fill donuts with blackberry (seedless) preserves.

6. To fill donuts use a pastry bag fitted with a start tip (I used Ateco 822 size) and gently fill the donuts by squeezing the filling inside the holes of each donut.

Buttery Crescent Dinner Rolls

Okay, I have a confession. I buy crescent rolls from a can. Sometimes. I know, I know…. Probably only twice a year. My son loves them and I admit I kind of like them too. I know I preach about not buying cinnamon rolls from a can so I feel kind of weird admitting this. Wednesday I accidently forgot to buy the can of rolls; and there was no way in heck I was going to maneuver the gauntlet store on Thanksgiving day just for a can of silly rolls. I always have packages of yeast in my cupboard, so I did what I should have planned from the beginning. I made rolls from scratch, and I’m so glad I did.


crescent rolls


crescent rolls ready for the oven

proofed, pillowy soft,  and ready for the oven…

tray of crescent rolls

out of the oven and ready for melted butter to be brushed onto each one…

buttery crescent rolls

Crescent Rolls

original recipe from: thekitchenmccabe

yield: 24 rolls

3/4 Cup milk (2 % is fine)

1/2 Cup  unsalted butter, divided

1/2 Cup (scant) sugar

1/2 an egg: (whisk and egg w/ a fork in a small bowl, then use 1/2-comes out to about 2 Tbsp. if you measure it).

4 1/2-5 1/2 Cup flour, divided

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. active dry yeast

1 Cup warm tap water

1 1/2 tsp. sugar


1. In a small saucepan combine the milk, 1/4 Cup butter, and scant 1/2 Cup sugar until the milk is very warm (scalded) but not boiling. Pour this mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.

2.  To the mixer: Add 1 C. of flour, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and the 1/2 egg to the milk mixture and quickly stir together with a dough hook attachment. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and turn on to low speed to help the mixture cool down while  you quickly prepare the  yeast

3. To prepare the yeast: in a small bowl combine the 1 Tbsp. yeast, 1 Cup warm (not too hot-or you will kill the yeast) water and 1 1/2 tsp. of sugar. Stir quickly to combine then let sit for about 5 minutes or until the mixture bubbles and appears foamy. Once yeast has bubbled, add it to the mixer bowl and continue to mix on slow/stir mode while you prepare to add remaining flour.

4. Add 3 C. of flour and mix together on medium/low speed. When mixed together, slowly add in enough remaining flour a little at a time until the dough is just slightly sticky. The dough should gather around the dough hook.

5. Prepare a large bowl greased with butter. (I used the paper from the butter to do this). Scrape the dough into the prepared bowl and cover lightly with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place to proof until mixture appears to have doubled. This should take about 40 minutes.

6. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts and roll each ball into a circle on a floured surface so that the thickness is a little less thick than 1/4 inch. Rub the circle with 2 Tbsp. of softened butter. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedge portions (like you would a slice of pizza). Roll each wedge crescent style starting from the back edge and place on a greased baking sheet. You want the tip end of the rolls turned under when you place them on the sheet pan. Place rolls on sheet pan so that across you have 3, and length wise; 8 deep.  Prepare and roll out the 2nd ball of dough the same, and  place rolls until all 24 rolls are placed on sheet tray. Curve the ends of the rolls forward slightly. Cover tray lightly with plastic wrap and let rolls rise until doubled. The rolls will push each other and touch until snug. This is what you want.

7. Bake the rolls in a preheated 350° F oven for about 15-20  minutes or until rolls are just turning lightly golden. Remove from the oven and brush top of rolls with melted butter. Let cool and serve warm or at room temp.


Orange and Clementine Sweet Rolls

I have an abundance of “cuties” (clementines) in my fruit drawer. We love them but sometimes they seem to linger around a bit before we can eat them all. Anyone who knows me, knows I love citrus of any kind. I especially love citrus desserts or snacks. These little cuties were calling me from the fridge to use them in breakfast. So I did. You could certainly make these rolls with just exclusively orange and they would be great. Enjoy~

orange sweet rolls

Orange & Clementine Sweet Rolls


3/4 Cup milk

1/4 Cup unsalted butter, softened

3  1/4 Cups all-purpose flour

1 package (1/4 oz.) fast rising yeast

1/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 Cup water

1 egg

1. In a small sauce pan scald the milk, then remove and add in the butter and stir until melted. Add the water. Set aside to keep lukewarm.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk 2 1/4 Cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar and salt. With the paddle attachment add in the milk mixture and blend. Add in the egg and beat well. Add in the additional cup of flour a bit at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Note; depending on the humidity you might have to add an additional 1/4 to 1/2 cup more of flour. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough using the mixer for about 5 minutes until the dough comes together in a ball.

3. Coat a large bowl with a little oil and place the dough inside the bowl and cover with a tea towel and let dough rest for 15 minutes.

4. Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 16 x 13 inches. See recipe below for filling. Prepare the filling by using your fingers to spread the 1/4 Cup of softened butter all over the surface of the dough except leave a border about 3/4 of an inch on all sides. Combine the sugar and zests well in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the butter. Scatter the candied orange zest over the sugar mixture. Using your hands pat the filling mixture down into the butter. Roll the dough into a log starting at the bottom edge. Pinch the seam down the length of the dough. Trim the ends of the log if necessary if too thin. Using a sharp serrated knife cut the log in half then each half cut into 6 equal pieces so you have 12 equal pieces. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan liberally. Place the rolls cut side up 3 across. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

5. Spray a piece of tinfoil (large enough to cover the pan) with non stick spray. Cover the rolls loosely with tinfoil. Bake the rolls at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes, then remove the tinfoil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Let the pan cool slightly on a wire rack while you make the glaze.

6. For glaze: whisk together all the ingredients in a medium bowl until combined. Pour over the warm rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature. Once glaze sets cover rolls with tinfoil to keep from drying out.


1/4 Cup unsalted butter, softened

1 Cup granulated sugar

zest of one large orange

zest of one clementine

1/4 Cup finely diced candied orange peel

Clementine glaze:

2 Cups confectioners sugar

2 clementines, (cuties) juiced

zest of 2 clementines

**Note: If you like, you could use orange cream cheese icing instead of the clementine glaze. For the recipe click here:

Soft Buttered Pretzels

This recipe is great on a cold Winter day. I’m probably a week or so late though since the polar vortex in the Midwest and Eastern United States has past. For my peeps in the Midwest; keep this in mind for the next time it gets really cold or you need an activity to keep the kiddos busy. The pretzels are really fun to make, so it’s great to get the kids involved to have a go at shaping the pretzels. Chances are you have all the ingredients already on hand. You will need granulated (active dry) yeast though. An added bonus if it’s really cold is these bake at a pretty high temperature so the house gets nice and toasty. You could also shape these into little 1 inch bits (dip size) and make them for the “Big Game” or a fun party snack served with different types of mustard. The recipe is from Alton Brown and I added an extra step by brushing the pretzels once they come out of the oven with butter; just like the ones you get in the mall. If you like a sweet version, dip the pretzels in cinnamon sugar on both sides. Another alternative is you could sprinkle on some pizza type seasoning, or sprinkle with chopped jalapeno/chopped green chili and shredded cheddar cheese.

pretzels sweet or salty tray

Salty Classic or Cinnamon/Sugar Soft Buttery Pretzels

pretzels buttered and salted

salty version (with kosher salt)

pretzel cinnamon sugar variety

Cinnamon-Sugar (my fave)

pretzels out of the soda bath

Shown: pretzels out of the soda bath and brushed with egg yolk mixture ready for the oven. Note: The pretzels puff up in the soda bath, (and in the oven), (next time I would make the rope a little longer than the recommended 24 ” so it is thinner-say 26 “) to define the shape a bit better

Soft Buttered Pretzels (sweet or salty)

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
  • 2 ounces (1/4 Cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil, for pan
  • 10 cups water
  • 2/3 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Pretzel salt (or coarse sea salt or kosher salt would be fine)
  • Optional: cinnamon sugar (mix 1/2 Cup sugar with generous 1/4 tsp. cinnamon in a shallow bowl)

1. Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.

2. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes (the dough should make a slapping noise as it hits the side of the bowl and you know it is ready).

3. Remove the dough from the bowl, (it will be sticky and that’s normal). Place it in an oiled large bowl and turn dough over so both sides are oiled. Cover with an oiled piece of plastic wrap or wax paper (I like wax paper) and put in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

5. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-26 inch rope. (The original recipe says 24 inches, but I think a bit longer would be better). Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and fold down the tails towards you to press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

6. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 at a time, for 30 seconds. (I find it easy to place the pretzel onto a very large spatula; like a pancake turner size and then place into the water- the pretzel will release on it’s own). Remove from the water. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt (omit the salt for cinnamon sugar version). Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving. Brush with softened butter while pretzels are still warm. (I find it handy to use the other half of a stick of butter; just peel off a bit of the paper and “brush” over the pretzel).

7. For cinnamon sugar version: omit the salt before baking and after resting for 5 minutes, brush pretzel with butter as above and dip both sides generously into a shallow bowl filled with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

For 1 inch pretzel bits: bake ~ 10 minutes