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Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Pale orange in hue with pecan slivers for stems, these tender, subtly-spiced Pumpkin Dinner Rolls make for a great snack or dinner accompaniment. Makes 32 3-inch rolls
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Rising Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: beverages, Dinner, Snack
Keyword: dinner rolls, holiday recipes, pumpkin, pumpkin rolls, yeasted dough

Ingredients

Pumpkin Dough

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar plus a pinch, divided
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • dash cayenne powder
  • 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Assembly

  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water or 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 16 large pecan halves sliced lengthwise

Instructions

Pumpkin Dough

  • Combine water, yeast, and a pinch of brown sugar in the bowl of a standing electric mixer. Stir to dissolve and let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Crumble saffron into the melted butter, and then add the curry powder, ginger, and cayenne. Remove from heat and add milk, pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and salt. Stir to combine. Add egg and mix well.
  • Add contents of the saucepan to the yeast mixture along with 2 cups of the flour. Add remaining flour, about a half a cup at a time, allowing it to incorporate before adding more. The dough will be very sticky.
  • Switch to the dough hook and knead for 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the dough into the greased bowl, flipping it to coat the entire surface with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours.

Assembly and Baking

  • Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 32 evenly-sized pieces. Working a few at a time, roll each piece of dough into a 12-inch rope on an unfloured surface. Before shaping, lightly dust ropes with flour, and then, with floured hands, turn each one a pumpkin.
  • Create a small loop in the rope with a long tail on one side and a short tail on the other. 
  • Wrap the long tail around the edge of the loop 2-to-3 times. 
  • Hold the remaining end of the long tail on the bottom-side of the loop with a finger to keep it from unraveling as you continue to work. 
  • Wrap the other tail around the edge of the loop, tucking it through the center of the loop.
  • Pinch both of the ends together where they meet on the bottom side of the loop.
  • If you're not happy with the look of any of the rolls, simply set them aside for about 10 to 15 minutes and reshape.
  • Place finished rolls on parchment lined baking sheets. Cover rolls loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for about 10 minutes.
  • Just before baking, brush rolls with an egg wash for a shiny look or butter for a matte finish.
  • Insert a sliced pecan into the center of each roll, pressing so the pecan touches the pan.
  • In an oven preheated to 400° F, bake rolls for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time. Rolls should be golden brown and gently firm to the touch.
  • If not serving right away, shorten the baking time by several minutes and finish baking right before eating.