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Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

Vegetarian

Here at Tao of Spice, we’re all about doing things a tad bit “extra”, thus the birth of Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls. These spirals of pumpkiny goodness are pillowy soft, packed full of fragrant chai spice, and lavishly drizzled with cream cheese icing.

pumpkin cinnamon rolls with chai spice half iced from above in pan

It’s that time of the year in Kansas that the ground is sprinkled with colorful leaves, daylight hours continue to dwindle, and the air is crisp. The season for bright, fresh salads and barbecue is but a distant memory and we’re craving nothing but warm, cozy dishes. There’s no denying it; fall is in full force.

When I think about fall three things come to mind: pumpkin, chai spice, and cinnamon rolls. These items just scream fall, right? You wanna know what screams fall even louder? Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Chai Spice!!!

small mug of chai tea atop table with mini pumpkin

So what’s so great about these cinnamon rolls? Well let me tell ya. These spirals of pumpkiny goodness are pillowy soft, packed full of fragrant chai spice, and lavishly drizzled with cream cheese icing. What’s not to like?!? Nothing if you ask me! I do want to warn you though; these things are rich! Just one cinnamon roll and you will surely be satisfied.

I have no doubt you are going to fall head over heels for these fall-inspired cinnamon rolls. *swoon*

So what do you need to make these cinnamon rolls?

  • Milk
  • Sugar: Brown, white, and powdered.
  • Dry-active yeast
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Eggs
  • Pumpkin puree: The consistency of the pumpkin puree is key. I have tried several different brands of pumpkin puree, one of which was thin and runny. I had to adjust the amount of flour significantly to make it work. For this recipe you will need a pumpkin puree that is thick and paste-like.
  • Butter: For the dough, filling, and icing.
  • Spices: Cardamon, cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg.
  • Cream cheese
  • Vanilla extract

How do you make pumpkin cinnamon rolls with chai spice? ( + tips)

First you prepare the sweet roll dough. This dough does require yeast. If you’ve never worked with yeast be forewarned that it is kind of finicky, so proofing it properly is essential. Start by warming your milk to 105-110 degrees. This may be done in a saucepan over low heat or by microwaving your milk for 10 seconds at a time until it reaches temp. To touch, it should feel like a nice warm bath. Ah, another fall favorite! Add the yeast and sugar and let rest for five to ten minutes.

After five minutes, there should be a foamy layer on top indicating the yeast has proofed. If not, you will have to give it another go.

proofed yeast in measuring cup from above

In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, combine the flour and salt. Add the eggs to the yeast mixture and whisk until combined. Pour the yeast mixture and pumpkin puree into the mixing bowl with the flour and salt; mix well. Slowly add butter until thoroughly combined. Mix on low for eight more minutes. The result should be a smooth and elastic dough that is still somewhat sticky.

pumpkin cinnamon roll dough in cream bowl from above

Grease a large bowl, place your dough ball in it and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Leave to rise in a warm location for one hour or until double in size.

pumpkin cinnamon rolls dough after rising in cream bowl

Once the dough has doubled in size punch it down, spread flour on a flat surface and knead a few times. Flatten dough into a rectangle using your hands, then using a rolling pin flatten rectangle to approximately 14×18 inches. Try to keep the edges even and the thickness as uniform as possible. There is no need for perfection, however, so don’t stress yourself out!!

pumpkin cinnamon roll rolled out into rectangle

Next combine the brown sugar and filling spices in a medium bowl. Brush the dough with butter covering the entire surface area and then sprinkle with the sugar and spice mixture.

pumpkin cinnamon rolls dough rolled out into rectangle layered with sugar and spice mixture

Roll the longer (14″) end of the dough as evenly and tightly as possible; pinch ends shut. With a sharp knife or un-waxed dental floss slice dough into 12 pieces, place into a greased 13×9 inch baking dish and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rise for approximately 30 minutes or until double in size.

pumpkin cinnamon rolls with chai spice in pan after rising

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover the cinnamon rolls and place on middle rack of oven; bake for 20-22 minutes or until the tops of rolls are a slight golden brown.

While cinnamon rolls are baking, prepare the icing in a medium mixing bowl using a whisk or in a stand mixer. Whip cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Once combined slowly add in powdered sugar until fully integrated and smooth. Set aside at room temperature until the rolls have finished baking.

cream cheese icing in blue bowl from above

Remove cinnamon rolls from the oven and spread on the icing. I recommend serving immediately as they are best hot and fresh out of the oven. Rolls will keep for up to four days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

How to store

Will keep for up to three days either refrigerated or unrefrigerated if covered tightly.

pumpkin cinnamon rolls with chai spice in white pan from above
close up of pumpkin cinnamon rolls with chai spice from above
single pumpkin cinnamon rolls with chai spice on white plate sprinkled with cinnamon

If you make these pumpkin chai cinnamon rolls I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment and/or a rating below as I greatly value your opinion. Or snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @taoofspiceblog. Love, light, and happy cooking ya’ll ♥

pumpkin cinnamon rolls with chai spice half iced from above in pan

Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 17 minutes

These spirals of pumpkiny goodness are pillowy soft, packed full of fragrant chai spice, and lavishly drizzled with cream cheese icing.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 cup milk, 110 - 115 degrees (see notes) 
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 package dry-active yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature 
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened 

Filling

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted  
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon 
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Icing

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened 
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar 

Instructions

    1. Add the sugar and yeast to warmed milk (105-110 degrees) and let sit for 5-10 minutes or until there is a foamy layer on top. This indicates it has properly proofed. (See notes for additional information about proofing yeast). Once proofed add eggs and whisk until smooth.
    2. In the bowl of stand mixer, add flour, salt, the liquid mixture from step one, and pumpkin puree; mix until well combined. Add butter one tablespoon at a time and mix for an additional eight minutes. Dough should be smooth and elastic, but still somewhat sticky. (See notes for hand mixing/kneading instructions).
    3. Place dough in a large greased bowl and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise in a warm location for one hour or until doubled in size.
    4. Once dough has doubled in size punch it down, spread some flour onto a flat surface, and knead a few times. Flatten dough into a rectangle using your hands, then using a rolling pin flatten rectangle to approximately 14x18 inches. Try to keep edges even and thickness as uniform as possible.
    5. Combine brown sugar and filling spices in a medium bowl. Brush dough with butter covering the entire surface area and then sprinkle with the sugar and spice mixture.
    6. Roll the long end (18") of the dough as evenly and tightly as possible; pinch the ends shut. With a sharp knife or un-waxed dental floss slice dough the into 12 pieces and then place into a greased 13x9 inch baking dish and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Allow cinnamon rolls to rise for approximately 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
    7. Uncover cinnamon rolls and place on middle rack of oven; bake for 20-22 minutes or until the top of rolls are a slight golden brown. (See note)
    8. Meanwhile, prepare the icing in medium mixing bowl or stand up mixer. Mix cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Once combined slowly add in the powdered sugar until fully integrated and smooth. Set aside at room temperature until the cinnamon rolls have finished baking.
    9. Remove cinnamon rolls from oven and spread on the icing. Serve immediately or store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to four days.

Notes

  • It is essential that the milk is up to temp to ensure successful proofing of yeast. It will need to be 105-110 degrees. You may heat milk in a saucepan over low heat or by microwaving for 10 seconds at a time until it reaches temp. If you do not have a thermometer to gauge the temperature you can simple test it with your finger. To touch, it should feel like a nice warm bath.
  • If the yeast does not have a foamy/frothy layer on top it has not proofed properly. In this case you will need to repeat this step until you have a properly proofed yeast. See the note above about the temperature of the milk and make sure your yeast has not expired. You may also need to allow the yeast to proof for an additional five minutes. 
  • Sprinkle flour onto a flat surface. Knead dough for six to eight minutes adding additional flour as needed (up to 1/2 cup) and allowing the dough to rest for five minutes at the midway point. Resting the dough allows it to absorb more of the liquid resulting in a dough that is much easier to work with. To avoid the dough sticking to your hands, you may want to coat your them with a small amount of oil or water before kneading. The dough should end up smooth and elastic, although still somewhat sticky. 
  • If you prefer gooier cinnamon rolls (which I recommend for this recipe), you should remove them from the oven after 20 minutes. 
  • The recipe for the icing yields a significant amount. If you prefer less icing on your cinnamon rolls you may combine using only half the amount of each ingredient. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 480Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 270mgCarbohydrates: 95gFiber: 2gSugar: 59gProtein: 8g

The nutritional information provided is computer generated. It is only an estimate and intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition details may vary depending on various factors such as origin, freshness of ingredients, etc

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