Whole Grain and Delicious Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. Yes, yes they are just that! I know some people will hear the whole grain in baked goods and panic. They are worried it tastes too grainy, flavorless, or even dry. I promise you, this recipe is none of those things. The beauty of partial whole grain recipes is they are so close to the original, most people won’t even know the difference. So, let’s get into these whole wheat cinnamon rolls!
This is a good-sized batch of cinnamon rolls. I like baked goods in larger batches this time of year, as we are always wanting to share with friends and neighbors. This is the perfect shareable size. Well, if you want to share :).
Straight Dough Method
This dough is mixed in what is called a straight dough method. This means, everything is thrown into your bowl and mixed at once. I think it is the simplest bread-making method.
As a note too, this was made in my Bosch mixer. This mixer is my workhorse and handled this large batch without stalling, struggling, or overheating. If you are in the market for a stand mixer, check Bosch Mixers out!
The whole grain I used in this recipe is white winter wheat. I used red winter wheat forever, and love it. My family, however, prefers the milder flavor so the white wheat. So, this is what I mainly use now.
The dough will need a chance to rise once it is mixed well. You can transfer into a larger bowl, but I covered my bowl with a towel and let it go! This dough requires 2 rises. The first after the dough is mixed and the second after you form the rolls. You want the dough to double in both cases.
Forming the Cinnamon Rolls
With the size of this batch, you will either need a big workspace or divide it in 2 to form the cinnamon rolls. You can either lightly dust the countertop with flour, or spray with pan spray. Roll to about 1/2-1/4 inch thick.
Brush with butter. Making sure to leave about an inch at the bottom length for pinching closed. Remember you can’t pinch a roll closed if it is slathered in butter :).
Sprinkle generously with brown sugar. You can my end without butter on the far right side. You will also want to leave that without brown sugar as well.
Dust with ground cinnamon.
Now, roll your rectangle, pinching to close. You can see on the end you will have a beautiful swirl. In rolling a batch of cinnamon rolls this size, just be patient. It is a big roll. I start at one end, rolling a few inches, the move down and roll that space a few inches. Continue the process down the length of the roll. Then start from the opposite end and work your way back. Once you have about 4 inches rolled across, the rolling will become much easier and the weight won’t pull against you as much anymore.
Cutting the Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
It is time to cut your cinnamon rolls. Just remember, whatever size you cut them with here, they will AT LEAST triple. So, decide that size in advance. I use a sharp slicing knife (we called it a citrus knife in culinary school). I cannot find the one I use, as it came with our supplies with the school over 25 years ago :). Here is one that is similar to mine. You can also use the string trick, although I have never been a particular fan of that method.
The Second Rise
I love to place my cinnamon rolls pretty close together. I do this because as they rise, they will rise up, as there is nowhere to rise to the sides. Then you have big exploding cinnamon rolls. If you don’t like those kinds, see the photo below, spread them out a little further. This was such a big batch, I made some in our 9×13 pan, several batches in 6-inch pans, then some in 8-inch pans as well. They were the perfect size for our friends.
The photo below shows the risen cinnamon rolls ready for baking.
Baking the Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Below you can see the finished pan of cinnamon rolls. But how to know when the rolls are done? Great question. You can always go by temp. I like to pull mine when they read about 190 degrees. But, my favorite way to check is by simply pulling carefully on the innermost swirl and checking to see if it is baked through. You want to make sure these are baked all the way, but also not to over bake, so keep an eye on them.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing
On to the icing. Again in my Bosch mixer, I added all my ingredients. Mix until well blended and the right consistency. I like my cream cheese icing for the cinnamon rolls a little more loose, so I added in a little more milk. This icing is also laced with cinnamon which is a perfect compliment to the pumpkin cinnamon rolls.
The Finished Whole Grain and Delicious Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Here is what our finished rolls look like. You will notice we have 2 taste preferences in one pan. My youngest son does not like icing, so 3 for him. My oldest loves icing, 4 for him. Then the hubs and I love ours topped with pecans. So, 2 for each of us. This pan was gone fast and they will disappear quickly in your house as well.
Other Whole Grain Baked Goods
You may have noticed if you have been following me a while now, I love to incorporate whole grains into my baked goods. I don’t go all in and use 100% whole wheat in everything. Most recipes are just like this, partial whole grain. For more ideas and recipes, check these awesome foods out!
Here is a close up on this pumpkin swirled goodness! Seriously though, the pumpkin, the spices, butter, brown sugar, and the cream cheese icing are just so dreamy!!
2cupswarm milkI like to have it at a temp it is just warm to the touch.
1cuppumpkin pureeYou can use canned, like I did, or even fresh roasted and pureed
1cup oil or butterI used canola oil. If you prefer you can use another neutral flavored oil. If you use butter, either soften it really well, or melt it.
1tablespoonpumpkin pie spice
2envelopes instant yeastIf you are measuring, you can use between 5-6 teaspoons. I used 6, but 5 will work as well.
3cupswhole wheat flourI prefer a white whole wheat, but you can also use hard red winter or even a rye.
7.5-9cupsall purpose flourThis will be a variable. Every climate is different and measuring is different, so start with 7.5 and go from there.
12tablespoonsbutter, meltedThis will be when you are rolling the cinnamon rolls, so don't mix into the dough
2-3cupsbrown sugarI lay my brown sugar on pretty thick, but you might want to go a little lighter. That is what the variable is for.
1tablespooncinnamonThis is a variable. You only need this to dust your brown sugar,so whatever that will take.
Cream Cheese Icing
8ouncescream cheese softened
4-6cupspowdered sugarThe variable will be based on how sweet you like your icing.
1teaspooncinnamonthis is optional, but really good!
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Add milk, pumpkin, granulated sugar, salt, oil, pumpkin pie spice, yeast, flours (remember to only start with 7.5 cups all purpose) , and eggs. Add them to a mixing bowl. This is a straight dough method, meaning you add all the ingredients in at one time. Mix it for about a minute on medium speed to check the status of your dough. You want it to feel SLIGHTLY sticky to the touch, but not to much. It should also start pulling away from the side of the bowl a little. If you need to add more, I wound up using about 8 cups, add it slowly about 1/2 of a cup at a time. Mixing another 30 seconds to 1 minute before adding more. Once the dough feels good, mix on medium another 5-7 minutes until it is good and smooth. Now, it will probably rise much bigger than your bowl. You can either cover with a dish towel and let ut explode in the bowl, or you can switch to a bigger bowl for the rise. Allow the dough to double. How quickly it doubles will depend on the temperature of the dough and temperature in your house. Mine took about 45 minutes, but it could take up to an hour and 15 minutes. Now, let's start rolling. This is a big batch, so give yourself plenty of space. The dough is slightly wet, so it will stick a little. To prevent this, you can either dust the counter top lightly with flour, or even spray with pan spray. I like to roll mine into a rectangle, about 12 inches by 36 inches. You will want the dough to be between 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Once the dough is risen, melt your 12 tablespoons of butter for brushing. Brush it lightly across the surface, leaving about 1 inch at the bottom on the length of the rectangle. You will need this 1 inch without butter so you can pinch your roll closed. Sprinkle the buttered portion with your brown sugar. Try and spread this evenly. Then dust the brown sugar with cinnamon. Let's start rolling. You will want to roll this fairly tight. Not super tight, but fairly tight. You will want to end with the end that isn't buttered, so start with your opposite buttered end. With a batch this big, the dough will fight you a little bit when you first start rolling. So, roll a few inches at a time, move to the next section and roll as well, then make your way down the length of the. The keep rolling and come back down the length of your cinnamon rolls. Eventually it will get easier to roll once you get a little further down. Once you reach the end, pinch the unbuttered inch to pinch the roll closed. I cut my roll into about 1- 1 1/2 inch sections. Remember, whatever you cut your rolls to, they will at least triple. So, keep that size in mind. Prepare your pans for baking. I used a variety of sizes as we were baking for ourselves, but also for friends. I used 1- 9×13, 3-6 inch cake pans, and 2- 8-inch cake pans. I sprayed mine with a pan release. You can see in the photos, I like to place mine pretty close together. I do this because I want them to rise up and not rise out. Cover your pans and allow to double. Towards the end of this second rise, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Uncover your pans and place in ovens on the middle shelf. I have a double oven, so I baked all mine at once. If you don't just move them through as you are able. If you need to place some pans on the middle and bottom shelf, just remember to rotate them hlafway through the baking time. Baking times on these will vary. It will vary on the thickness of your pan, it will vary based on how thick you cut your cinnamon rolls, it will vary based on the actual temp of your oven, and the temp of your dough starting out. So, here is what I will tell you. They should take between 15-35 minutes. You can take a temperature on them, you will want to pull them out at about 190 degrees. Or my favorite way of checking is to pull up on a center swirl gently and check for doneness. They should be a golden brown. Remove from the oven. If you aren't planning on eating them right away, I like to remove them from the pan, as they can get really sticky and difficult to remove as they cool. On to the icing, below.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing
Combine the cream cheese, softened butter, 4 cups of powdered sugar, vanilla and about 2 tablespoons milk in mixer. Beat on high for about 30 seconds. Check the icing for flavor and consistency. The variation is powdered sugar is for personal preferences. I don't like my cream cheese icing really sweet, but I know plenty of people do! Adjust the sweetness and consistency with the milk and powdered sugar.. I like to beat it on high for at least 1 minute to get red of any lumps and a smooth consistency. Ice generously with icing. I like to do it when the cinnamon rolls have cooled just a little bit. I do this so the icing won't just melt and run off, but it will hold it's shape and stay on top!Now, sit back and enjoy. You certainly deserve it after all that work!!