Spiced Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

Yield: 24 2-inch rolls

This recipe was originally published using sweet potato puree, but I prefer this pumpkin version, which I’ve adapted a bit on my own. You can make these rolls ahead of time (up to 3 weeks in advance) by partially baking for 10-12 minutes until puffed and light brown, cooling them to room temperature, wrapping them well in the baking pan, and then freezing them. When you are ready to serve them, allow 2 hours for them to thaw at room temperature before unwrapping and baking them for 5-10 more minutes, or until deep golden brown in color.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups flour, plus more for the work surface
  • Oil, for greasing proofing bowl
  • Anise seeds or ground pepitas, optional

Procedure:

  1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer; proof for five minutes. If yeast is active, it will dissolve and foam.
  2. Add two eggs and beat on low speed, then add agave nectar, butter, salt, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Beat on low speed for about two minutes, then add pumpkin and mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add the flour, one cup at a time, and mix on low speed until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and is stiff enough to work.
  4. Lightly flour a work surface. Transfer dough to prepared surface and knead for 2-3 minutes. Add flour one tablespoon at a time, only as necessary, to prevent the dough from sticking to the work surface. When dough is smooth and springs back when poked, shape it into a ball.
  5. Coat the inside of a clean bowl with non-stick cooking  spray and place the dough in it, turning to coat evenly. Cover the bowl with plastic and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
  6. Lightly coat two pie plates, or 9-inch cake pans, with non-stick cooking spray.
  7. Punch the dough down and divide it into 3 pieces. Again, divide each into 8 pieces, for a total of 24. Roll each piece between your hand and the counter, into a ball, and divide evenly between prepared pans.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
  9. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Beat the remaining egg and brush on top of rolls. (If you like, you can sprinkle the tops with anise seeds or ground pepitas.) Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Let cool in dish for 10 minutes, then serve!

Source: Original recipe from “Beard on Bread” by James Beard. This is an adaptation of an adaptation…

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