It’s pretty tough to improve on cinnamon rolls… they’re ooey and gooey in the best way possible, and are one of my favourite “breakfast that’s really just dessert” dishes. That’s why these pumpkin spice rolls are just a teeny tweak: adding a full set of 5 spices (instead of just cinnamon) to the filling to bring more cozy fall flavours! I also dyed them orange and black for extra spooky season vibes, but this is of course, optional 🙂
Optional Halloween Colours: Customize Your Creation
While Halloween is known for its iconic colours like orange and black, the choice to incorporate them into your Pumpkin Spice Rolls is entirely optional. Feel free to get creative and customize these delightful treats to match your own Halloween vision. You can experiment with different food colouring shades or omit them altogether if you prefer a more traditional look.
All About the Spice: Pumpkin Spice Rolls without the Pumpkin
While these treats are called Pumpkin Spice Rolls, there isn’t actually any pumpkin in them anywhere. They’re all about the spices and not about the pumpkin itself. You won’t find any pumpkin puree in the dough or filling; instead, I just went for the harmonious blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and all-spice. This spice blend infuses each bite with the classic pumpkin spice flavours, reminiscent of pumpkin pie and those famous Starbucks lattes. So, even if you’re not a fan of traditional pumpkin dishes, you can still enjoy delightful taste of fall in every swirl of these Pumpkin Spice Rolls.
A Handy Trick: Using Dental Floss for Perfect Slices
Here’s a handy kitchen trick that can make slicing your Pumpkin Spice Rolls a breeze while keeping them picture-perfect: dental floss. This is one of those hacks that really works! It’s an unexpected, but highly effective tool for achieving clean, even slices without squishing or tearing the delicate rolls.
To use dental floss, simply slide a long strand of unflavoured dental floss under the rolled dough where you want to make your cut. Cross the ends of the dental floss over the top and pull in opposite directions to create a clean, precise slice. Repeat this process for each roll, and you’ll have beautifully cut, intact pumpkin spice rolls.
My Tip for Breakfast Plans: Prep Ahead
If you’re like me and you like to have your rolls for break, you may want to consider preparing them the day before. They require a few hours of rise time, and making them ahead is the key to enjoying a hassle-free breakfast. Here’s how: after filling, slicing, and assembling the rolls in the baking dish, I cover them tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate them overnight. In the morning, I’ll pull them out and allow them to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes (or as long as the oven takes to pre-heat), and then bake as usual. Whether it’s a special occasion or I’m simply looking for a leisurely weekend morning, this make-ahead method ensures I can start the day with delicious homemade rolls, no early morning prep required.
Here they are before and after their overnight fridge rise:
The Secret Ingredient: Heavy Cream for Heavenly Moisture
This heavy cream trick went viral on TikTok for good reason, but you may still be wondering what the heck it even does! Pouring heavy cream over the top of cinnamon rolls (and these pumpkin spice rolls) before popping them in the oven is a not-so-secret-anymore ingredient that adds an extra layer of indulgence and moisture to these delectable treats. As the rolls bake, the heavy cream infuses them with richness, preventing them from drying out during the baking process. This not only enhances the flavour but also ensures that each bite is soft, tender, and perfectly moist. It’s a little trick that takes these pumpkin spice rolls from delicious to downright divine.
The Irresistible Frosting: Optional but Highly Recommended
Now, let’s talk about the frosting – it’s entirely optional but highly recommended. It’s the classic, delicious combination of cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste, and a drop of orange food colouring for that Halloween spirit. This creamy topping adds the perfect balance of sweetness to the spiced rolls. Whether you go for a light drizzle or a generous dollop, it’s the finishing touch that elevates these rolls to dessert heaven.
Here’s a short video showing the steps:
Pumpkin Spice Rolls
For the Dough:
- 1 cup warm milk
- 2-3 drops orange food colouring
- 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 cups flour
For the Filling:
- 3/4 cup melted butter
- 1 drop black food colouring for that eerie touch
- 1.25 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon all-spice
For the Frosting:
- 6 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/3 cup salted butter softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 drop orange food colouring to match the Halloween spirit
- 1/2 cup heavy cream for pouring over the risen rolls
Preparing the Dough
- Begin by activating the yeast. In a mixing bowl, combine warm milk and yeast. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until it becomes frothy.
- Once the yeast is activated, add the orange food colouring, eggs, melted butter, granulated sugar, and salt. Mix until well combined.
- Gradually add the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough comes together. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
- Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a damp cloth or plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
Preparing the Filling
- In a separate bowl, prepare the filling by mixing melted butter, black food colouring, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and all-spice until it forms a deliciously spooky paste.
Assembling the Rolls
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a rectangular shape, approximately 24×15".
- Spread the prepared filling evenly over the dough, leaving a small border along the edges.
- Carefully roll the dough into a log, starting from the long side. Slice the log into 12 equally-sized pieces.
- Place the rolls in a greased baking dish, cover with a damp cloth, and let them rise for another 30 minutes. *This is where you would stop if you're making the rolls ahead of time. See notes below for more info on that!
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Pour the heavy cream over the risen rolls, and bake them for 25-30 minutes, or until they are golden brown and cooked through.
Preparing the Frosting
- While the rolls are baking, prepare the frosting. In a bowl, beat together softened cream cheese and butter until smooth.
- Add powdered sugar, vanilla bean paste, and a drop of orange food colouring to match the Halloween theme. Beat until the frosting is creamy and vibrant.
- Once the pumpkin spice rolls are out of the oven and slightly cooled, generously slather them with the orange cream cheese frosting.