Libbie Summers’ latest book, Sweet & Vicious is well what it sounds: fabulous, fearless, and reminds me to brunch with abandon and savor my eggs—poached not fertilized. Although this particular cinnamon roll recipe happens to appear on her gorgeous blog Salted and Styled, with recipes like Post-Coital Chocolate Pie, Salty Pumpkin Spice Cake, and Kickin’ Cornbread, I promise that you need the entire book in your life. Its outstanding wit, gorgeous photos, and occasional dose of sass make it the perfect coffee table book or Christmas gift for that fearless baker in your life. (It does in fact reside on our coffee table between uses.)
Just like Libbie’s wonderful book, these spicy overnight cinnamon rolls with pumpkin cream cheese frosting are not for the faint of heart. They are sweet, seasonal, and slightly sassy, boasting of a warm pumpkin glaze and a kick of cayenne for good measure. Libbie’s original recipe called for caramel cream cheese frosting, which is superb (by the spoonful). That being said, it is “winter” down here in Florida, so at the very least a pumpkin-spice twist was in order. This particular pumpkin cream cheese frosting is adapted from a book written by the folks at Alice’s Teacup—one of my favorite spots from my first visit to New York City, many years ago. As far as Sunday brunch is concerned, this pumpkin cream cheese frosting does not disappoint.
You may have keenly observed that even half a batch of these spicy overnight cinnamon rolls do feed a crowd (Christmas breakfast anyone?), but they also freeze wonderfully for baking in small batches later. After slicing the log, lay individual rolls flat in a ziptop bag to freeze, instead of refrigerating before the second rise. Allow to defrost in fridge overnight, and in the morning complete the second rise and bake as directed.
Don’t fear the heat. Take the risk. I promise your tastebuds and/or tablemates with thank you.
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) plus 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
- 1 cup warm milk
- ¼ cup warm water, more if needed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 5 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground cayenne
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 6 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup pumpkin purée
- Butter the inside of a large mixing bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the milk, water, vanilla, 1 stick of butter, yeast, eggs, salt, sugar, and flour for 4-5 minutes, until a soft elastic dough has formed. The dough should be slightly tacky to the touch.* Once the desired consistency has been achieved, knead the dough for another 5 minutes, until smooth.
- Transfer the dough to the buttered mixing bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size. Meanwhile place spicy filling ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Butter two 9 x 13-inch round pans and set aside. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to a 16 x 24-inch rectangle. Using your hands, spread the remaining 1 ½ sticks of butter on top. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the butter layer. Starting at the long edge, loosely roll the dough into a round log.** Pinch the seam to seal.
- Using a serrated knife gently cut the log into twenty four 1-inch rolls. Space the rolls on the greased baking pan, without allowing them to touch. (At this point the dough can be covered and refrigerated overnight).*** Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F. Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Meanwhile make the pumpkin cream cheese frosting.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter and beat on medium speed about 1 minute, or until fully combined.
- Reduce speed to low, slowly adding the sugar/spice mixture. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the pumpkin, and beat at medium speed until fully incorporated, about 1 minute.
- *If the dough is too dry add more water one tablespoon at a time. Conversely if the dough is too wet add more flour one tablespoon at a time.
- **Libbie notes that rolling too tightly will make the centers of the rolls pop up while baking.
- ***At this point, rolls may be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight. 1 ½ hours before baking, remove cinnamon rolls from the refrigerator and allow to rise at room temperature.