Project Food Blog Challenge #8: Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls



As you can see, my beverage of choice during Project Food Blog has become progressively stronger.

Over the past few months, I went from being a devout Japanese Sencha tea drinker, to a French Press coffee drinker, and now I pour bourbon whiskey into my baked goods.

‘Tis the season.


This year, I am preparing a special holiday breakfast for my family on Christmas morning.

Project Food Blog Challenge #8- to make a sweet or savoury baked good containing pumpkin– suddenly became the perfect dress rehearsal for my special holiday breakfast.

I decided to tackle a baked good I had been afraid to make for a long time…

Delicious, irresistible, gooey Cinnamon rolls.

In this post, I will demystify the cinnamon roll baking process in a step-by-step manner and also show you how to throw together an elegant and unique holiday breakfast that you can wow your loved ones with.

Let’s ROLL!


For the recipes, please see the attached PDF.

First, we start off with a baking science experiment. Grab your lab coat apron and let’s begin!


Proofing the yeast means that we activate the yeast by mixing it with warm water and sugar. It is important that the water you use is not too hot or you may kill the yeast. It should be the temperature you would use for a baby’s bottle.

When the yeast mixture gets bubbly and foamy, it is active (see above photo).


Meanwhile, grab your largest mixing bowl!


This bowl was originally Eric’s grandmother’s bowl and my Mother-in-Law recently handed it down to me.

It was a moment.

I polish it about 10 times a day and I refer to it as the lucky baking bowl.


In a saucepan, mix the wet dough ingredients and heat on low until dissolved. Allow to cool for a couple minutes. It should be warm and not too hot to touch. Think- baby bottle!


For this recipe, I used all vegan ingredients like vegan butter and almond milk, but it also works with non-vegan ingredients. You can adapt it to how you want it.

This saucepan mixture is sweet, buttery, and smooth. I could drink this stuff it tastes so good.

Gather 4 of the 6 cups of all purpose flour in your large bowl.


Mix the proofed yeast with the saucepan mixture and add this to the 4 cups of flour.


Stir with a big ‘ol wooden spoon.


The dough mixture will be very wet and sticky, but have no fear! This is a good thing.

Add in 2 more cups of flour.


Get in there with your hands and roughly knead it all together. Don’t be shy, it won’t bite!


Your dough is now a hot mess.


If you think this is bad, wait until you see what your kitchen is going to look like in a couple hours!

Fill your bowl with hot water and soap and let it soak while you knead the dough.



Thanks to Project Food Blog, specifically the Pizza Challenge, I have fallen in love with bread making and I have since made all kinds of bread recipes.

I’m in my happy place when I’m kneading dough!


I swear that is not the bourbon talking…

Knead the dough for 8 minutes, but first, crank your favourite music.


I grant you permission to consider this your workout for the day.

Tomorrow, you shall awake with arms so toned Jillian Michaels will be envious.


8 minute arms. A future baking workout DVD perhaps? ;)

Now, finish cleaning the bowl and spread some oil all over the interior. This prevents the dough from sticking to the surface as it rises.


The oil is also a great moisturizer for dry winter hands!


Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.


Turn on the light in your oven (it gives off a very slight heat) and leave the bowl in the oven for 90 minutes.

Don’t do something silly and turn the oven on to preheat it while the dough is rising in there.

…Not that that has happened to me or anything!

While the dough rises, prepare the frosting, pumpkin pie filling, and pecan cinnamon streusel.

You didn’t think you were going to rest did you? This is a workout!


This is an incredibly smooth cream cheese frosting.


Stir the icing ingredients by hand.


Feel the burn.

Oh, will it burn.

This is the point where you feel like adding milk because your arm is tired, but you must resist every urge to add liquid. Stay strong, my dear bakers, stay strong.

It will all come together with some elbow grease…



Smooth cream cheese frosting with the perfect consistency for piping.


Now get busy with the fillings.

step7toastthepecans step20cinnamon sugar

After 90 minutes, you will be left with dough that has more than doubled in size.


This is really exciting.

step8pokethedough poketestresized

Poke, poke, poke!

If you poke the dough and it does not spring back up, it is ready!



For this next part you can use a rolling pin, but I prefer to use my hands because I’m all rustic like that.

Make sure there is plenty of flour underneath your dough.


Much better.

Now gently and press (or roll out) the dough to form a large rectangle approximately 15 x 20 inches. Be patient as this process moves slowly and you don’t want to tear the dough.


When you have something that looks like an irregular rectangle, you have completed your mission!


Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to get a perfectly shaped rectangle. We have cinnamon rolls to eat and bourbon to drink!


Grab your man’s BBQ baster dainty pastry brush and spread on the butter.


In my first attempt, I tried using fresh puréed pumpkin and my rolls did not turn out because the fresh pumpkin contained too much water. If you are set on using fresh puréed pumpkin, I would try straining it with a cheesecloth overnight to allow the water to drip out. Otherwise, canned pumpkin works perfectly!

Now it is time to spread on the Pumpkin Pie Filling and pour on the Pecan Cinnamon Streusel.


Pumpkin Pie + Cinnamon Roll = Heaven.


If you aren’t a pumpkin fan you can simply leave out the pumpkin pie filling and still have a delicious cinnamon roll.

Or why not try making apple pie, pecan pie, or cherry pie cinnamon rolls? Have fun experimenting with all different kinds of pie flavours!


Get your roll on.

rollingresized 20101120-IMG_1785


Dental floss isn’t just for your teeth anymore!

Using floss is more effective than a knife when cutting the rolls because the string doesn’t squish or stick to the dough like a knife does.


In a desperate moment, I used mint flavoured dental floss.

Our little baker’s secret. ;)


Pumpkin Pie all rolled up.


Place the rolls in a large casserole dish and cover with plastic wrap. Let them rise for 45 minutes. They will spread beautifully and cover every nook and cranny in the casserole dish.


If you are making these for a holiday breakfast, you can prepare the rolls the night before and just pop them into the fridge overnight for the second rise. In the morning, let the casserole dish sit at room temperature for a half hour before baking.


Bake the rolls for 25-27 minutes at 350F until golden in colour.

The house smells so sweet and delicious it is intoxicating.


You can frost the rolls several ways: 1) Pipe on the frosting with a pastry bag and round tip, 2) Use a plastic baggie with one corner cut off, 3) Spread on frosting with a palette knife, or 4) Drizzle thinned out frosting with a spoon.


If you want to save time, spread on the frosting while the rolls are still warm in the pan.

It creates a roll that is effortlessly chic


These Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls are oozing with sweet, creamy pumpkin and crunchy pecan streusel all wrapped up in fluffy warm bread that melts in your mouth.

While the recipe does require some time and leg work, I was blown away by how easy they are to make! I can’t believe I waited so long to try making them.


For my holiday breakfast, I decided to make a ‘Build Your Own’ Cinnamon Roll Party!


The Frostings:


The toppings:


I rounded out my holiday menu with homemade trail mix, tea, cranberry juice, and fruit.


We made all kinds of crazy flavours that were fun to name…


I was The Indecisive, which was no surprise to Eric.

Eric was of course the Chocolate Ganache, which was no surprise to me. I thought he deserved a self-titled roll!

Oh, check out the Sticky bun bottom…


I rest my case.

By the way, if Santa is visiting your house this year be sure to leave one out for him…


Your stocking will thank you for it. ;)


This is my official entry for Project Food Blog Challenge #8. Voting is now open for Challenge #8. I appreciate your support in advancing me to round 9!

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram (@ohsheglows + @theglowspot), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+

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{ 248 comments… read them below or add one }

Erinn November 28, 2010

AMAZING. Making these Christmas morning for my parents who think all vegans are Birkenstock wearing, dirty, hippies.


Hope November 28, 2010

Its like you read my mind! I’ve had a mad craving for cinnamon rolls lately mm mmmmm!
I love love love your final pic of the one for Santa, its gorgeous!
Totally voting for you!


Courtney November 28, 2010

Incredible! So much more than a cinnamon bun!


CathyK November 28, 2010

Wonderful, wonderful idea, angela!! love your photos and step by step instructions – i think even i (a rather novice baker) could attempt these – and succeed!
we are BIG on “sticky buns,” as we call them, in our family for Christmas Day morning. Long time tradition. So i heartily encourage the making of cinnamon rolls as a part of Christmas!
thanks again for the great details in your post – and your usual humour and cheer! :)


Chelsea November 28, 2010

These look soo delicious! Wish i was at your house for christmas morning!


Corey @ The Runner's Cookie November 28, 2010

SO gorgeous Angela!! These look incredible, and your step-by-step definitely demystifies the cinnamon roll making process. I want to bake these for my family on Christmas morning :)


Holly November 28, 2010

one day i hope to be as fabulous as you. seriously, you are a genius.


Lauren at KeepItSweet November 28, 2010

these look incredible!! love all of the topping options… i’d probably use a little of everything:-)


Madeline November 28, 2010

This is the most pictures I’ve ever seen in a blog post! Incredible! :) Looks taaaaaaassssty.


Shannon, Tropical Eats November 28, 2010

I love how crisp and clean your photos are :)

these look scrumptious!


Lauren November 28, 2010

Beautiful pictures – I love all the different roll variation and their names, cute!


Katie November 28, 2010

Angela, you are a girl after my own heart – cinnamon rolls are my favorite! Seriously, you’ve outdone yourself. I’m going to have to finally figure out how to vote on this project food blog thing, because you truly do deserve to win! Can’t imagine all the work that must go into it – but your entries really are spectacular. Now to talk my mom into helping me make these for Christmas morning!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 29, 2010

Thanks Katie!


Laura @ Backstage Pass November 28, 2010

Adding Bourbon to cinnamon rolls? Now you’ve got my attention!
These look great and can’t wait to try out the recipe.


Katie November 28, 2010

AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love this! I am rooting you to win this! U have it all, talent, heart, and dedication!!!!


Tracey November 28, 2010

These look AMAZING! Great job, I can’t wait to try them! By the way, I made your spiced nuts to take to my family’s house for Thanksgiving and everyone loved them! I think they may be my new favorite snack, however, they are so addicting!


Emily @ SunnyBeans November 28, 2010

These look amazing!!! I will be making these cinnamon rolls over my winter break. I now dream of a day baking…yummy!


Felicia (a taste of health with balance) November 28, 2010

Angela. This is unbelievable. You have my vote!! Your heart and soul has been poured into every single post, this one is beyond amazing. You will always have my vote girl! AMAZING JOB!!


Melissa November 28, 2010

Oh my! These look so delicious! I can’t wait to make them Christmas morning (or probably sooner)… Great idea to use dental floss to cut the rolls! You’ve got my one and only vote, once again!


Lisa November 28, 2010

Wow, Angela, these are so beautiful and delicious looking! You definitely have my vote :)


Meghan November 28, 2010

You are SO incredible and talented. This looks absolutely mouthwatering, you certainly have my vote! Good luck! Oh and…which one were you? the romantic? :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 29, 2010

The Indecisive….haha ;)


Little Bookworm November 28, 2010

Amazing! They sound incredible. I have never had cinnamon rolls but may have to try to make them after seeing this recipe. :) Good luck for Challenge 8!


Lauraa November 28, 2010

Love it! Good job, you can tell how much work and thought you put into these challenges!
Enjoy your time out west!


Madeleine@ Stepping to the Brightside November 28, 2010

There are no words… Almost. I wish I could virtually zap one to my desk as I type… I better get to voting!


Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow November 28, 2010

Amazing girl! Amazing. I think me, my fam plus a few more may be visiting YOU for Christmas this year. :)


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey November 28, 2010

Angela, you never cease to amaze me – I have been scheming to make cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning, and these are the winners. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!


Emma @ Getting There & Going Places November 28, 2010

Awesome! Great post! So much fun to read!
Beautiful pictures too!
These cinnamon buns look absolutely amazing!
I love how you give multiple options! Each variation sounds awesome to me!
How do you do it?! ;)


Wei-Wei November 28, 2010

Amazing. Adorable. Genius. Intoxicatingly yummy. What else can I say?


salah@myhealthiestlifestyle November 28, 2010

OMG those look soooo divine!!!! OMG, the hippie one is all I want to eat right now!!


elise November 28, 2010

holy S%#T i wish i lived with you…id be so dang fat and happy. you are truly an amazing chef my dear! if only these could ship – id order them from you by the case!!


Jennifer@ knackfornutrition November 28, 2010

This post is unreal! Seriously, from the photography to the recipe…it is absolutely amazing!


kristin November 28, 2010

Again, you’ve done an amazing job! You have put so much effort into your entries…I think this competition is yours! You have my vote…absolutely! Congrats on another amazing, mouth-watering entry.


Liana @ femme fraiche November 28, 2010

These look like quite the labour of love. What a fun weekend-day activity and the results look like they’re totally worth it! Good luck this round:)


Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine November 28, 2010

I LOVE this!! Absolutely mouthwatering, and I love that you included all the little tips and tricks of the trade. I need to get over my fear of yeast and make these!


Linda November 28, 2010

Incredible!!!! these pumpkin pie cinnamon rolls are amazing.. I haven’t words!!


Allison November 28, 2010

Oh my yum! I have had such failures with rock hard, unrisen cinnamon rolls in the past, but after mostly mastering your Fluffy White Dinner Rolls for Thanksgiving, I may have to give these a shot.


Krystina (Basil & Wine) November 28, 2010

OH.MY.GOD. Those are the cinnamon rolls dreams are made of.


Alison (Fueling for Fitness) November 28, 2010

Mmmmmmmmmm… that’s all I can say right now :)


Alison (Fueling for Fitness) November 28, 2010

Okay, I’m calm again.

Those look soooo amazing! I can’t even remember the last time I had a cinnamon roll, but I need to change this asap! The only problem is, I kind of have a feeling none of them will compare to yours. :)

PS. I was going to share your Delight Glo Bars with friends and family, but after tasting my first one, I kind of want to be greedy and keep them to myself. They are definitely my new favourite flavour!!! :D


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 29, 2010

I’m so glad you like them :)


Jackie (Peaces of Earth) November 28, 2010

OMG, can I come over for breakfast?? I love the build your own idea!! I want a bourbon espresso one, please.


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 29, 2010

Sure, I have lots of dough in the freezer right now!


Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) November 28, 2010

This is AMAZING Angela! What a great idea, and it looks UNBELIEVABLY yummy! You’ve got my vote! :D
And I like the look of The Eric myself! :P


Laura @ Starloz November 28, 2010

omfg, drool


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