If you're a lover of Fall spices and sweet flavor, then these Homemade Pumpkin Chai Cinnamon Rolls are the best thing you’ll ever taste–seriously! Thick, fluffy, tender, brioche-like rolls that come completely smothered in a rich, but light chai spice cream cheese glaze. Hands down------these cinnamon rolls are sure to be the newest Fall craze! Overnight + Vegan options available.
3cupsOrganic All-purpose flour(I use Bob's Red Mill; See Notes!)
2cupsArtisan Bread flour(I use Bob's Red Mill; See Notes!)
1packetRapid Rise Yeast(That's 2 1/4 tsps!)
1cuporganic pumpkin puree(NOT Pie filling!)
1/2cuporganic brown sugar + 1 Tbsp
1 1/4cupAlmond milk(You can use your fave plant-based milk!)
2largeeggs, room temp.(Don't include for Vegan option!)
1/4cupunsalted butter (That's 4 Tbsps!; For Vegan option, use 6 Tbsps vegan butter!)
1Tbspground cinnamon(See Notes!)
3Tbspsunsalted butter, melted(For Vegan option, use vegan butter!)
1/2cuporganic brown sugar
Chai Cream Cheese Glaze:
4-5cupsorganic powdered sugar, sifted
4oz.organic cream cheese, at room temp.(That's 1/2 a pack!; See Notes!)
2Tbspsunsalted butter, softened(For Vegan option, use vegan butter!)
1Tbspchai spice mix (See Notes!)
2-4Tbspsorganic heavy cream(For Vegan option, use Plant-based milk!)
FOR THE DOUGH:
Start by combining the yeast and 1 Tbsp brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and then slowly pouring in the warm water, while stirring everything together. Allow 10 minutes for the mixture to sit and the yeast to activate (It'll become foamy when done right!).
Meanwhile, melt the butter and milk together over the stove top on low to medium heat, stirring frequently until the butter has fully melted. NOTE: You don't want the mixture to get too hot or boil! Set aside and let it cool until WARM.
Add lukewarm butter-milk mixture to yeast and mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time and continue mixing on low speed until well combined. Add in pumpkin puree and mix until well combined.
Next, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, brown sugar, sea salt and spices to the wet ingredients and mix on low-speed until well combined.
Change “mixer head” to kneading accessory and knead dough for 5-10 minutes on medium-high speed until dough ball becomes smooth and elastic and dough springs back when lightly pressed with 2 fingers. NOTE: If dough is too sticky, add 1 Tbsp of flour at a time until texture is achieved!
Once dough ball is perfectly kneaded, add it to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit and rise for 1 hour to an hour + 15 minutes.
In the meantime, you can work on the filling!
FOR THE FILLING:
Melt butter and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon and brown sugar and set aside as well.
Once the hour has gone by and your dough has risen (about double it's original size), preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, flour a flat surface and place the dough on it and using a rolling-pin, roll it out to a rectangle (approximately 9"x14), trimming the edges if needed. NOTE: Try not to make the dough too thin or else rolling it up will be hard to do!
Then, generously brush melted butter overtop of dough and spoon the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the butter. NOTE: I also use a 'pastry brush' to sweep sugar mixture evenly across the dough to ensure that every bite is sweet!
Tightly roll dough (long-ways) and using a pastry cutter, cut dough into 1.5" rolls, placing each roll into a large baking dish (lined with parchment paper!).
Then place plastic wrap over the baking dish with rolls and let them rise again (for another 20 minutes).
Once the rolls have doubled in size (once again!) or have gotten significantly larger, brush the tops of the rolls with a little more melted butter and then bake them for approximately 35-40 minutes in the preheated oven.
While all the baking magic is happening, make the Chai Cream Cheese Glaze and set aside.
FOR THE GLAZE:
Simply combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer & beat together on medium-high speed until fluffy.
Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, chai spices, and heavy cream, continuing to mix on medium speed until you reach the desired consistency. **Add more heavy (1 Tbsp at a time if too thick) or powdered sugar (for more thickness).*
Remove the rolls from oven and wait 15-20 minutes or so (until it completely cools), and then spread the glaze atop the rolls using a rubber spatula.
TO STORE: Cinnamon Rolls can be kept fresh at room temperature when tightly wrapped or sealed for up to 3 days. Fresh for up to 1 week in the Refrigerator. Baked rolls can be frozen up to 2 months.
VEGAN OPTION: Instead of cream cheese, you can substitute with maple syrup (1/2 cup WARMED) and continue the steps for glaze. See Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls recipe for help.
OVERNIGHT OPTION: If you don’t want to make your Cinnamon Rolls on the same day, you can simply follow all steps (including the initial 1+ hour rise) and after cutting rolls and placing them into your baking pan, just cover them tightly (using foil paper of plastic wrap) and refrigerate them overnight or for 8-12 hours instead. The following day, remove from refrigerator and keeping them covered, let cinnamon rolls rise at room temp 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
RAPID (INSTANT) RISE YEAST VS. ACTIVE DRY YEAST: If you’re not using the Rapid Rise Yeast for this recipe, please know that the rise time will be twice as long (about 3 hours) since regular Active Yeast doesn’t work as quickly.