Truth be told, these aren’t attractive buns. I debated with myself for 45 minutes on whether I should even post this recipe, but then I had a thought: while these buns aren’t pretty on frame, the beauty lies in the first bite. The original recipe was so divine and beautifully photographed with its glaze of angelic white, why mess with it, right? Well, I’ve got a deep and dark nutella addiction and a new distaste for milk, so I went in another direction. Adding a layer of nutella to the mix and nixing the milk altogether made for smaller, perhaps unattractive, rolls, but I promise you these are DELICIOUS.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Nutella Rolls
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, with modifications
For the Dough
6 tbsp (85 grams) unsalted butter, to be divided
1/2 cup (120 ml) coconut milk, warmed (but not over 116 degrees)
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (from 1 .25-ounce or 7 gram envelope yeast)
3 1/2 cups (440 grams) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
1/4 cup (packed) (50 grams) coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1 tsp (6 grams) table salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2/3 cups (160 grams) pumpkin puree, canned or homemade
1 large egg
Oil for coating rising bowl
For the Filling
1/4 cup (packed, 145 grams) coconut palm sugar (or dark brown)
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
1/8 tsp table salt
2 tsp (5 grams) ground cinnamon
3/4 nutella with 1 tbsp coconut milk mixed in to loosen the mixture a little
For the Glaze (optional, I didn’t make this)
4 ounces (115 grams) cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp (30 ml) milk or buttermilk
2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
Few drops vanilla extract (optional)
Make the dough: Melt your butter over medium heat, stirring as the butter gets foamy and frothy. You want a nutty aroma to waft in your kitchen and your butter to slightly brown. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Combine your warmed milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. After 5-7 minutes, it should be a bit foamy. As I used coconut milk instead of regular milk the yeast DID activate, but it wasn’t as robust as regular milk. Translation: the buns were FINE, the dough elastic and wonderful, so I don’t believe this to be an issue. However, I didn’t get as much yield out of the dough as I would have liked (10-12 buns instead of 18), but so is life.
In the bottom of the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine flour, sugars, salt and spices. Add just 1/4 cup (or two-thirds of; leave the rest for assembly) of your melted/browned butter and stir to combine. Add yeast-milk mixture, pumpkin and egg and mix to combine. Switch mixer to a dough hook and run it for 5 minutes on low. You’ll notice the dough will start to become elastic and have the consistency of taffy. This is a good thing! The dough is meant to be sticky and elastic.
Scrape mixture into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 1 hour in a draft-free place; it should just about double. Since I used coconut milk my dough grew by a third, but I was happy with this.
While it is rising, line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans (8-inch round should work too, as does an 8-inch square) with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan and the paper.
Assemble the buns: Scoop dough onto a very well floured surface (trust me, do this) and flour the top of it well. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to an approximately 16×11-inch rectangle. Brush reserved melted/browned butter over dough. Layer the nutella with an offset spatula or a thin butter knife. Stir together remaining filling ingredients and sprinkle mixture evenly over dough. Starting on a longer side, roll the dough into a tight spiral. It’s going to make a mess because the dough is crazy soft and some stuff spills off the ends; don’t panic. It’s just a cinnamon roll.
Here’s how to cut cinnamon rolls without squishing their pretty spirals: With a sharp serrated knife, using absolutely no pressure whatsoever (only the weight of the blade should land on the dough) gently saw your log with a back-forth motion into approximately 1-inch sections. When a soft dough like this is rolled, it tends to grow longer, which means that you’ll have the option to either make more buns (say, 18 instead of 16) or just cut them a little larger (in generous inches).
Divide buns between two prepared pans. You can sprinkle any sugar that fell off onto the counter over them. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes.
If you’re doing this ahead of time, you can now put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, leave them out for an hour to warm up and finish rising.
15 minutes before you’re ready to bake them, heat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, you can make the glaze. Beat your cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Drizzle in milk until you get the consistency you’re looking for, either thick enough to ice or thin enough to drizzle.
Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 and leave on a rack to completely cool before eating (or drizzle the glaze if you fancy)