The lack of cold weather this season put a little damper on what I perceived to be the idea Christmas. The warmth and sunshine just didn’t feel like the Christmas mornings I was familiar with in years past. But I guess holidays can’t always be picture perfect. The Christmas decor in our neighborhood is slowly finding its way back in to the attics and basements where it will nest for the next three-hundred and forty-nine days or something like that.
Breakfast in our home took shape in many different formats. One of your first options was to choose from the three or more different types of cereals in the cabinet, we could send dad out to grab breakfast sandwiches from the nearest drive-through, or mom had just enough energy after long hospital shifts to cook grits, sausage patties, and hard scrambled eggs…and Pillsbury biscuits, but don’t judge her, we loved it. But as I got older and my palate began to mature and I became so much more aware of all the things other people were eating for their morning meal. The fact that I discovered lox, bagels and the schmear so late in life often makes me sad but I’m sure that has been remedied by my glutinous consumption of it since the discovery.
All this talk of breakfast and I almost forgot why we’re here and that’s to discuss these pumpkin butter biscuit cinnamon rolls (go ahead, take a moment to drool). There was a period last year when I became consumed with the variety of things I was able to do with biscuit dough. One just has to be imaginative and be willing to screw up a few batches to find out what works and doesn’t work. My counter tops have seen the demise of many-a-biscuit from pimento-cheddar, cinnamon streusel with Nutella and roasted turnip and thyme. This recipe creation randomly occurred one morning when I was trying to think of ways in which to use my pumpkin butter from Williams-Sonoma, every time I teach a cooking class there I’m always grabbing something, I blame my mom for that impulse gene. And might I remind you that it was right before Thanksgiving so pumpkin anything for breakfast just felt right.
While this is a very simple recipe, keep in mind that you do not want to overwork your biscuit dough or your rolls will be tough. I learned that while doing the first batch but I also wanted a tight roll, but clearly I kneaded and rolled one too many times while trying to achieve this so word to the wise – take it easy. They should still be on the moist side, and keep flour near to keep from sticking too much to your work surface and hands, best of luck and tweet me questions – @thesaltedtable!
Pecan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
4 cups unbleached, AP flour (White Lily, preferably)
2 1/2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 stick of chilled unsalted butter, diced
2 cups cold full-fat buttermilk plus more
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 dark brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 Tablespoons whole milk
1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Rub one tablespoon of butter inside of a large cast-iron skillet or a 9×13 metal pan. set aside.
2. whisk your flour, salt, baking powder together, cut the butter into the flour mixture using your fingers until the mixture is crumbly and the nothing is larger than a kernel of corn. Make a well in the middle of the bowl and add your buttermilk. You will have to determine how much liquid you need which is why I say “plus more’ in the ingredient list. Biscuits aren’t the easiest thing to interpret because you just have to get in there and be confident, it’s an art and a little science (wink). So you need to determine if your dough is still dry, add a few splashes of buttermilk at a time so that you don’t overdo it but there should no dry ingredients left.
3. Dust your work surface with a little flour and pull the dough on to the table. Dust the top of your dough ball with a little more flour. Gently pat it down until it’s about an inch thick, fold it in half towards you and fold it again from the left over to the right. dust your hands with flour and gently massage the outside of the dough just getting it to take shape of a square, it won’t be perfect but close enough is perfect. Using your rolling-pin, gently begin to roll out your dough using a bounce-like motion as to not be to tough on the dough. Alternate rolling the dough out side-to-side until it is about 1/2 inch thick.
4. Spread an even layer starting from the center of the dough and working your way out until you’re about 1/2 inch from all sides of the dough. Now, this is where it gets sticky and fun. Make sure you have sharp knife, preferably serrated, handy to cut your rolls. Also have an offset spatula near you to help lift any dough that may have stuck while you were rolling.
You are going to begin rolling your dough in to a cylinder away from you but be careful not to move to fast or you will lose all your filling.So you want to run your offset spatula down the bottom side of the dough with every new turn. Do this until you have a complete roll that is ready to be cut.
5. Cut the rolls about an inch thick and begin placing them in your skillet starting from the outside in. If you’re using a 9×13 pan, you will single-file line them until the pan is full. And your rolls should be snug so they can push on each other and this helps them to rise and the filling to stay inside.
6. Cook for about 20-35 minutes or until you puncture the dough layer and it comes out clean. Let rest and for 10-15 minutes before drizzling your icing on top. Mix you powdered sugar, lemon juice, milk until combined and is thick but pourable, you may need just a splash more of milk to reach the right consistency. Enjoy!