Festive Pumpkin Dinner Rolls with Cinnamon Butter

pumpkin dinner rolls

Yield: 15 rolls
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Time: 2 hours

This whimsical side dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser on your Thanksgiving table!

Ingredients for the rolls:
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) of instant yeast
1 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs (each egg is used at different stages of the recipe)
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Pecan halves for the “stems” (pretzel sticks may also be used)

Ingredients for the butter:
1 stick salted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions for the rolls:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir the yeast, milk, sugar, butter, pumpkin, one egg, and salt until well combined. Gradually add the flour and knead on medium-low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Continue to knead the dough on medium-low speed for another 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and smooth. If it seems too sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Transfer the dough to a large, greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces and shape them into balls. Use the palm of your hand to just slightly flatten each ball. With a butter knife, score 8 vertical “slices” around each ball to create the pumpkin’s ribs, being careful to slice deep enough to make an impression but not so deep that it slices all the way into the center. You should have a pumpkin shape now. Cover dough and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Using the end of a chopstick or your finger to poke a small indentation in the center of each roll to create the space for the “stem.” In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with 2 teaspoons of water and brush all over the rolls. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Place a sliced pecan piece into the indentation of each roll.

Directions for the cinnamon butter:

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 30 seconds, or until pale in color.
Add the powdered sugar, honey, and cinnamon and beat until well combined, light, and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Serve immediately or store, covered, in the fridge for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.