Low-Fat Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Icing

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People often ask me where I get my inspiration in the kitchen. It’s a hard question to answer, because it comes from all sorts of places. Sometimes its a simple as a restaurant menu, a childhood memory, or a random item that catches my eye in the grocery store. Other times it’s a little more random – a color, a texture, a feeling. The inspiration for these pumpkin cinnamon buns came from a question. Someone on twitter asked how they should use up some leftover pumpkin cream cheese icing. My mind immediately went to cinnamon buns. Pumpkin and cinnamon goes so well together, and I thought pumpkin cinnamon buns sounded fabulous. I did some research, attempted a few recipes, and finally came up with a pan of buns that I couldn’t keep my hands off of.

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In addition to these being dangerous since they’re so difficult to resist, there were a few other things that I would have like to have come out differently. I wanted soft, flaky Cinnabon-style buns, but substituting pumpkin for the butter results in a more bread-like dough. To get flaky rolls, you need a lot of butter. It works on the same premise as croissants or pie crust – butter is worked gently into the dough, and melts when it get heated, leaving behind pockets of air. Pumpkin doesn’t melt the same way, resulting in a denser final product. On the plus side, cutting out all of that butter also means cutting out a lot of fat!

That being said, these cinnamon buns are a fun weekend project that will make your house smell fabulous. They can be frozen before baking (just add a few minutes to the baking time) and also keep really well in an airtight container after they’re baked, so they can be made ahead. If you have guests coming in for Thanksgiving, these would be a great breakfast treat!

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 2.5 tsp yeast (2 envelopes)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4-1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 stick butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 oz low-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 drop of vanilla extract

Heat milk in a microwave for 30 seconds, or until luke-warm. Add the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Stir and allow the yeast to proof for 5 minutes – the yeast should grow and become foamy. If it doesn’t, discard and start over with new yeast.

In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin puree with the remaining granulated sugar and the salt. Beat in the eggs until incorporated. Add 2 cups of flour and beat until combined. Beat in the milk mixture, being sure the include any yeast that settled to the bottom. Slowly add the remaining four.

Cover and let rest in a warm place until doubled in size – about 1 hour.

Divide dough into four pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into a large rectangle, about the size of a cookie sheet. Transfer to a cookie sheet and stick it in the freezer. Repeat with remaining four pieces of dough.

In a small bowl, blend 1/2 stick butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Divide the cinnamon mixture between the four sheets of dough, spreading it in a very thin layers. Roll the dough up, starting with the long edge. Cut each dough log into 12 slices (each will be about 1-inch thick). Transfer to a large roasting pan (I recommend lining the pan with a silpat or some parchment paper for easy clean-up), leaving a little bit of room between each roll. Cover and let rise for one hour.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Combine the cream cheese, 1/4 stick of butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. If desired, you can thin this mixture out with a splash of milk.

Remove buns from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before frosting.

Yields 4 dozen buns.
Each bun contains Approx: 85 calories, 2 grams fat, 0.5 grams fiber, 2 grams protein

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The BloggerAid cookbook is finished! Unfortunately I never submitted a recipe for this project, but I’m excited about ti anyway! The book contains recipes from bloggers all over the world, and proceeds go to benefit the United Nations’ World Food Programme. I think this would make a great gift for anyone interested in cooking, and is a great way to give back to those who do not have access to all of the nutritious foods that we take for granted every day. Click on the image below for more information.

The BloggerAid Cookbook

Comments

  1. wow, they look so delicious and pumpkin too, amazing, wish I could have one right now with my coffee.

  2. They look so delicious. It’s painful to look at them with an empty stomach. Wish I hv some now.

  3. Oh man these look great! I love the combination of pumpkin and cream cheese…one of my favorites :)

  4. Wow, these look great. Have you tried them with the “I can’t believe its not butter” sticks to see if you could still get a good tasting product with lower calories? I’ve been thinking of trying that stuff and I was wondering what you thought.
    Thanks!
    Lisa

  5. These sound really great!!!!!! I must try them.

  6. Wow only 85 calories? How big are they. That is an amazing stat!

  7. Why didn’t I have this for breakfast? Plus, low fat?! This is healthier that the stuff out there. I’ll take this any time with my coffee.

  8. These look wonderful – I can’t believe they’re low fat!

  9. If we had to come out of our pumpkin stupor, this would be a good way to go about it.

  10. These sound wonderful. I’ll have to give them a try during the holidays.

  11. CG- not huge, but not tiny either. About the size of a Pillsbury bun (not the jumbo ones though!) – so maybe 3 inches in diameter? I was happy with 1, but at only 85 calories, 2 wouldn’t be ridiculous. ;)

  12. All of my favorites rolled into one! What scrumptious treats! Love that their lower in fat and calories.

  13. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie says:

    These look so adorable and absolutely scrumptious! I so would love at least one with my tea right now!

  14. All of the recipes you make look awesome. Pumpkin is so good and I am loving the idea of using it in cinnamon buns. nom nom

  15. Once you stick it in the freezer, how long are you supposed to leave it in there? What is the reason for doing that?

  16. Cooking Bride: I just stuck mine in there while I was dealing with the rest of the dough – so 5-10 minutes. The dough is super soft and kind of sticky; chilling it firms it up and makes it easier to work with/ cut.

  17. snack-girl: I haven’t tried the I can’t Believe its Not Butter sticks, but I’d imagine they would work well. This recipe is less than a stick of butter divided by 48 rolls though, so I’m to sure how much of a difference it would make. I prefer to use real butter, but if you try it with the alternative stuff let me know how they come out!

  18. Oh, yum! I’ll probably go with high fat (whatever’s in the fridge), but these sound fabulous. I think I found a use for leftover squash puree!

  19. looks amazing – I am bookmarking this for my baking weekend this coming weekend! Can’t wait to taste these!

  20. Great job on these. I don’t know if I could make then though since I would eat the whole batch!!!!! Beautiful pictures.

  21. oh WOW. pumpkin buns!!!! love that idea.

  22. Beautiful and perfect for the season!

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  24. these sound delicious!! perfect for thanksgiving morning breakfast, no? :)

  25. With the holidays here it is time to bake our homemade true cinnamon buns.

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