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 }

Em November 28, 2010

You’re amazing! I’ve been thinking about making my own cinnamon rolls for the longest time, I may just have to do it now. Thanks for the never ending inspiration!


Charlie November 28, 2010

These look amazing! I tried to make cinnamon rolls a couple of weeks ago. It was my first experience with yeast and it was a total flop :p. When I try again, I’ll definitely use your step by step guide ;).


Katie @ Healthy Heddleston November 28, 2010

Wow. Wow. Wow. Enough said.


ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska November 28, 2010

I’m normally not a huge cinnamon roll fan (too much bread!) but these look amazing! Yum!


Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen November 28, 2010

Incredible!! Seriously…the rolls…and then all the sauces?? Magic!


Georgie @ Georgie Goes Healthy November 28, 2010

I’m with everyone else – WOW. I loved all of the “decorated” rolls and the names you gave them! I so want to try the “romantic” one.


Gina November 28, 2010

Angela, these sound delectable! Amazing job!
Oh She Glows for the win :)


Maria November 28, 2010

You always have the greatest tutorials! I always love your in-depth, step by step pictures!


Clare @ Fitting It All In November 28, 2010

Look INSANE. Your pictures, especially the rolling ones, are so beautiful!! Good luck!


Allie (Live Laugh Eat) November 28, 2010

If this is what happens when you drink Bourbon, please DRINK MORE!! Actually, let’s have a round together :). Your dough-kneading is beautiful. Has anyone told you that lately? :)


Devon November 28, 2010

I might be wrong, but these are the most amazingly delectable things you’ve ever made, and that is saying a LOT. YUM! Can’t wait to try them!!


Laura November 28, 2010

These look amazing, Angela, well done! Best wishes for getting through to the next round, although I’d be very surprised if you didn’t!

I’ve never had a northern hemisphere style cinnamon roll. In New Zealand, I think most families grow up making cinnamon pinwheel scones instead, which are also insanely good. You make a basic (English-style) scone dough recipe, with the butter rubbed in, then just roll it out, spread over a mixture of cinnamon and sugar and softened butter, roll it up, slice, then bake. No yeast required, and I highly recommend it! I’m sure it would veganize well too, if you used non-dairy spread and milk.


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 28, 2010

Oooooooooh my goodness. This is by far my favourite PFB entry yet. Ange you are absolutely AMAZING!!! At this rate I hope you’re going to be issuing a mass apology to the world because Santa isn’t going to want to leave your house!!


Amanda (Eating Up) November 28, 2010

I’m gonna be sad when PFB is over because I am loving everyone’s posts! Although I always love your posts so I guess it’s not really a problem!


Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 28, 2010

Holy cow. These are unreal.


Miranda @ MirandasJeans November 28, 2010

OMG! :-o Can you sell these on your GloBars website? I want I want I want :-D.



Angela (Oh She Glows) November 29, 2010

I would love to, but I don’t think they would ship very well…hehe


Miranda @ MirandasJeans November 29, 2010

Yeah a girl can still dream though *ahhhh* :-) lol.


Maddie (Healthy Maddie) November 28, 2010

Oh my gosh! Those look delicious! I can not wait to make them :)


bitt November 28, 2010

Wonderful job! I am sad I can’t vote yet. Until tomorrow.

So glad you won the last reader’s choice! You deserve it!


stacey-healthylife November 28, 2010

Wow nice job, that was top notch. Everything looks and sounds amazing, excellent job.


anonymous November 28, 2010

Amazing! Ya got my vote :D


Michelle November 28, 2010

These look delicious!!! I’m a little confused though. Did you already have the family Christmas breakfast or you will make them again for Christmas breakfast?


Natalie November 28, 2010

Amazing, just amazing. Such an inspiration, and so yummy! :)


Danielle November 28, 2010

I think that quite possibly this post is my favorite yet from your blog! And that’s saying something ’cause I love ’em all!


Alexia @ Dimple Snatcher November 28, 2010

You’ve inspired my current greediness.
Thank you.


Anne P November 28, 2010

Good… lord. Drooling.


The Peanut Butter Addict November 28, 2010

These look amazing! I wish I was coming to your holiday breakfast :D


Ashley November 28, 2010

out.of.CONTROL. just fabulous!!!


Lindsay McAlester November 28, 2010

Wiping the drool of my face now. :) I have tried making cinnamon rolls in the past for Christmas morning. I did NOT succeed. :( I KNOW I can do it now with your help! Thanks for the great recipe and step by step. So excited to try these out! :)

BTW~ I make your Vegan Enchiladas almost every week. My two kids and husband LOVE them!


Elena November 28, 2010

Thank you for posting this! my husband is crazy about cinnamon rolls but i am yet to find a great recipe for great vegan rolls. I will be trying this one for sure!


Kamaile November 28, 2010

I’ve made vegan cinnamon rolls but never with PUMPKIN! YUM!


Katie (Sweet Tater) November 28, 2010

girrrrl, if you don’t win this thing, i don’t know who will. you’re killin’ it. :)


Tiffany November 28, 2010

Those look incredible!


Jolene ( November 28, 2010

You are so creative Angela! Another incredible entry!


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) November 28, 2010

So you whipped these up in like 10 mins flat, right?!


Omg. Angela. The work. The photos. The editing. The posting of it. Aside from the actual RECIPE which is divine…the work in this post…I am shuddering to think how long you spent, but thanking you…big time!

“Japanese Sencha tea drinker, to a French Press coffee drinker, and now I pour bourbon whiskey into my baked goods.”–LOL!!! love it! I use Tj’s Bourbon Vanilla Extract in anything i can possible add it to :)

And the toppings/frostings for these bad boys…oh choc ganache and bourbon espresso (i want to just drink that!) and cream cheese…WOW!!!

You blew my mind!!!



Jenny November 28, 2010

You do such a beautiful job with these entries. Love the way you frosted the rolls. Just when I thought cinnamon rolls couldn’t get any better, ya throw in some pumpkin :)


Halley (Blunder Construction) November 28, 2010

WOW, that’s all there is to say! You have managed to exceed yourself every challenge! Of course, you deserve to win it all. Really, really, beautiful and I know that they must be tasty!


Andrea November 28, 2010

Wow! Amazing!


Shannen November 28, 2010

what a beautiful post!! so gorgeous 8D I AM SO. MAKING THESE. i really admire your dedication and effort, YOU HAVE MY VOTE (as always)


Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table November 28, 2010

I just thought I was full from dinner – my stomach growled when I saw these! The topping bar is a great idea. I’m partial to “The Eric.” Never enough chocolate! :)


Katy (The Singing Runner) November 28, 2010

This looks great! My mouth is watering! Maybe I’ll make these for my friend and I when she visits later this week!


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