Pastry chef Erin McDowell’s recipe for pumpkin spice pecan rolls just upped the ante on classic cinnamon rolls.
What makes these guys so special? “The dough is beautifully soft, and it’s made with canned pumpkin puree—it even stays orange after baking,” the author of The Fearless Baker tells us. “Inside, a buttery spiced pecan filling makes the prettiest spiral once you roll it all up.”
We’d say the creamy icing is optional...but we’d be lying.
4½ cups (542g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (53g) light brown sugar
¼ cup (35g) dry milk
1 tablespoon (9g) instant yeast
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1¼ cups (284g) canned pumpkin puree
2 large (113g) eggs
5 tablespoons (71g) soft unsalted butter
Filling + Icing
1 cup (120g) pecans
½ cup (106g) light brown sugar
⅓ cup (66g) granulated sugar
½ cup (113g) soft unsalted butter
⅓ cup (40g) all-purpose flour
1½ tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of fine sea salt
Egg wash, as needed, for finishing
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Make the Dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix together the flour, light brown sugar, dry milk, instant yeast, cinnamon, ginger, sea salt, cloves and nutmeg until combined, about 30 seconds.
2. Add the canned pumpkin, eggs and butter, and mix on low speed until the mixture comes together, about 4 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.
3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until noticeably puffy, 1 to 1½ hours (it may not double in size).
4. Make the Filling: While the dough rises, in a food processor, process the pecans, light brown sugar and granulated sugar until you have a fine, sandy mixture, about 1 minute. Add the butter and mix to combine; scrape the bowl well before proceeding.
5. Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice and sea salt, and mix to combine. Set aside.
6. After the dough has completed its first rise, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about ½ inch thick and about 14 by 22 inches in size.
7. Dollop the filling all over the surface of the dough and spread it into an even layer.
8. Starting at one of the long sides, roll the dough into a tight spiral. Gently push in the ends of the log to make it about 18 inches long. Slice the dough into 9 even pieces (about 2 inches wide). Place the rolls into a greased 9-inch square pan. Cover the rolls with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.
9. As the dough nears the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the rolls with the egg wash and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until the dough is lightly golden and appears set in the center, 25 to 30 minutes.
10. Let the rolls cool for at least 15 minutes before serving. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, cream and vanilla extract. Drizzle or spread the icing onto the buns and serve.
Filling + Icing