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 }

Sarah November 28, 2010

Angela, when I saw that first picture of the dough all rolled up, I actually had the thought that I wanted to lay my head on that doughy pillow. I’m not sure how my brain went there…but no joke, it did.


Erin @ the office appetite November 28, 2010

I think I have just discovered my ONE reason for wanting a bigger kitchen…
however, that will not stop me from making a complete MESS out the teeny one I have. I must make these!!


Stacie November 28, 2010

You have once again out done yourself! Ooeey, gooey, yummerz! Thanks for the pdf file…as always :) Thanks too for the dental floss trick–genius! Loved your last pic of Santa’s plate taking threw the pitcher of juice. Not only can you cook and bake, you can photograph too! Must do tomorrow: vote for Angela in Challenge #8!!


Lily @ Lily's Health Pad November 28, 2010

Your recipes never cease to amaze!! What a neat idea to have a create your own cinnamon roll breakfast! Btw, is that vegan cream cheese frosting?


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 29, 2010

Yes it is…I used Tofutti brand and it was INCREDIBLE. Maybe the best cream cheese frosting I have ever tasted. I was blown away.


AGS November 30, 2010

Agree! I’m not close to vegan, and I’ve found Tofutti “cream cheese” to be very good (particularly if you are looking to cut out the saturated fat).


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 30, 2010

I think it was the first time I have ever tried it, and I couldn’t believe that it tasted identical to the regular stuff. Awesome :)


Karen November 28, 2010

Holy moly! Everytime I think it can’t get any better and yet, somehow you out-do yourself!!

I usually make monkey bread with frozen rolls on Christmas Eve and then bake them as soon as we get up Christmas morning. I am DEFINITELY trying these this year instead. They look so fabulous!
My mom is kind of famous for her cinnamon sticky buns, but she hasn’t made them in forever because she can’t find her beloved hot roll mix in the supermarket. Maybe I can show her she can do it without the mix! Don’t be afraid of the yeast! Hahahaha

Thanks and good luck! I think you are going to win the whole thing!


Healthy Chocoholic November 28, 2010

Yummy! Cinnamon rolls are some of my favorite breakfast foods.


Faith @ lovelyascharged November 28, 2010

Holy crap, there’s just so much here that I love! Cinnamon rolls in general, bourbon in the baked goods, the progression of your drink strength, the toppings to suit any mood, and the photo at the end! More or less…this whole post blew me away! GOOD LUCK!!!


Potato Chops and Boneless Chicken November 28, 2010

You had me at cinnamon rolls. They look out of this world. I love your take on each personalized version. And your table décor is AMAZING!!!


Bronwyn Coyne November 28, 2010

OMG yum. Sooooo how about I come work for you and you just pay me in food? I promise not to eat too much while I’m baking! :D


Kayla November 28, 2010

Wow, these look amazing! I’ve made homemade cinnamon rolls before, I do it the easy way! Haha, I made dough in the bread machine, then rolled it out and just topped it with butter and cinnamon/sugar. But these look WAY more delicious! I really must make these!

Seriously, why don’t you have your own cookbook yet?! ;)


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin November 28, 2010

These look so incredible!

For Christmas morning breakfast we always just have a simple buffet of toast, eggs, and fruit. I think I need to add these cinnamon rolls to the menu this year to kick start our sweet tooths for the day. ;)


Kayla November 28, 2010

Wow, these look amazing! I’ve made homemade cinnamon rolls before, I do it the easy way! Haha, I made dough in the bread machine, then rolled it out and just topped it with butter and cinnamon/sugar. But these look WAY more delicious! I really must make these!

Seriously, why don’t you have your own cookbook yet?! ;)


Cara Craves... November 28, 2010

Can I just choose you as the winner, cause this is the best idea ever.
You are such a great baker and teacher; you make it look quite effortless.
You should be very proud of yourself.


Leanne @healthfulpursuit November 28, 2010

I agree with Kayla – you need a cookbook!

I cannot wait to make these for Christmas morning, gluten free of course. I’ll let you know how that goes… and the vegan cream cheese icing!? How fantastic! Thanks for another amazing recipe!


Rachel (tea and chocolate) November 28, 2010

These look incredible! I’ve made homemade cinnamon rolls before, but this recipe sure beats the one I used. Good luck on the challenge!


Jillian @ Reshape Your Life November 28, 2010

Awesome job Angela! These look AMAZING! Completely drool worthy! I will HAVE to try to make these… Although the whole “yeast” thing scares me.


runblondie26 November 28, 2010

Wow, those look absolutely out of control.


Melissa @ I Never Imagined November 28, 2010

Ange!!! This is amazing!!!!! Congratulations!!! I can’t wait to vote!!!


saffity November 28, 2010

Totally making these for a gathering tomorrow!!! These sound DELISH!


Ravenous Rowie November 28, 2010

Holy deliciousness! Those look amazing! Unfortunately, now I want cinnamon rolls instead of dinner…


Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) November 28, 2010

No words! This whole post is spectacular and the photos are breathtaking! I hope you win :)


Lynna November 28, 2010

Your Project Food Blog posts are the best! I really like how you named all the different topping combinations! Also, the font you used in the photos is great. Everything looks so professional!


Shanna, like Banana November 28, 2010

May I come over for your Christmas breakfast? ;)


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 29, 2010

Sure :) Please bring Eric chocolate. ;)


Fanta November 28, 2010

Wow… you’ve really outdone yourself here. This was a successful project and the directions and illustrations are perfect. Thank you!


Sandy November 28, 2010

Elegant and amazing! Great job!


Amber from Girl with the Red Hair November 28, 2010

Amazing! I can’t wait to try making these for my family at Christmas!!


Kris November 28, 2010

The amount of work and heart and soul your pour into these challenges truly shines through in your posts!!!! Simply AMAZING! You deserve to win this hands down. You’ve got my vote! :-)


Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul November 28, 2010

What a fun and delicious idea!


Mastering Public Health (@MasPublicHealth) November 28, 2010

I am speechless. What a fantastic effort! — every time.


Elle November 28, 2010

you are simply an over-achiever. simply…. and you ROCKED the cinnamon roll. wonderul.!!


Ally November 28, 2010

These looks fantastic and I love that they are vegan!! I love the idea of having different toping options. How fun.


Laura November 28, 2010

Absolutely Stunning!
Im so in the mood for cinnamon buns and christmas.


Alaina November 29, 2010

I could practically taste it! Those look AMAZING!!! :-P


sassy molassy November 29, 2010

Oh my lanta, Angela, that looks amazing! I made pumpkin cinnamon rolls last week w/ pumpkin mixed into the dough. They were absolutely delicious. I love the topping bar idea and the various options for drizzling the frosting. Brilliant! I bet Eric loves having these goodies around to “test.” I know my boyfriend LOVES it when I want to make something new. :)


Ashley November 29, 2010

Those look so amazing. Beyond words amazing! I’m jealous at your creativity with food. I’m definitely trying these out in the future!


Andrea @ November 29, 2010

I am one hundred percent, totally, completely, can’t hardly stand it, in love with you. This post is radiating with talent, passion, and grace. You really really won this. I know I’m gushing, but your level of dedication is unparalleled; I’m so inspired. Best of luck this round- you deserve it!


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 29, 2010

Aww i luv u!


Alicia November 29, 2010

Your seriously amazing, btw I’m totally drooling. I think you’ll win this next one no problem :)


christyn @ All Ways Nutritious November 29, 2010

gorgeous! you are the next Martha. i have been contemplating cinnamon rolls and am thankful to have step by step instructions from OSG. i love the floss cutting idea. you have my vote!!


Steph in Dubai November 29, 2010

LOVE IT! You are amazing!


Amanda November 29, 2010

Incredible…. really really incredible. That post must’ve taken forever to write and photograph!


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