In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook add your yeast and a couple teaspoons of the sugar. Pour the warmed milk over the yeast and sugar and lightly whisk to combine. Allow your yeast to sit in the warm milk like this for 5-10 minutes to proof.
When you come back to your yeast after 5-10 minutes it should be frothy – this indicates that your yeast is active and good to go. If you come back and your yeast hasn’t gotten frothy or foamed up, discard the contents in your bowl and start over with new fresh packages of yeast and proof again using the same technique.
Once you have proofed your yeast, add the remaining sugar to the mixture as well as the softened butter and turn your mixer to low to begin combining the ingredients. Mix for a minute or so until the softened butter is broken up into chunks.
Add the eggs & pumpkin to the bowl and allow to mix on low until combined with other ingredients.
Whisk together 4 ½ cups flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and salt. Slowly begin to add your flour 1/2 cup at a time allow the flour to incorporate slightly before each addition.
Once you have added all of your flour, turn your mixer to medium speed and allow it to mix the dough until a large smooth mass forms. The dough should be soft and a bit sticky, but not so wet that it is sticking to the sides of the bowl. If you find that your dough is sticking to the sides of your bowl, add a bit more flour 1 tbsp at a time until it comes away from the sides of the bowl. Allow to turn on medium speed for 7 minutes.
Remove dough from bowl – it should be smooth and elastic. Knead with your hands for an additional 2 minutes on a lightly floured surface.
Next, place your dough into a large greased bowl, lightly grease the top of your dough and cover with a dry tea towel. Set your dough aside to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes to one hour or until doubled.
** My oven has a warming function, so I usually set the warming function to low and let my dough sit in here to rise. If your oven has this feature, this is a great way to let your dough rise. If not, simply preheat your oven to about 200 degrees, shut it off and place the dough in there to rise as there will be enough residual heat in your oven to keep it nice a warm.
Next, make the filling. In a small mixing bowl beat together butter, brown sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour and beat until combined.
Once your cinnamon bun dough has risen, punch dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a rectangle that is 1/4 inch thick. This will be a large rectangle about 24" long and 15" wide. Sizes may vary and that's ok!
Spread brown sugar filling out across the dough, leaving a 1 inch border at the bottom. If you'd like to add pecans, sprinkle them across the surface of the dough evenly and gently press down into the sugar filling. The nuts are optional.
Roll dough up jelly-roll style and pinch the end together to seal. Cut into 16 even rolls.
Spray a large 10x15" baking pan with cooking spray. Place the cinnamon rolls cut side up in 4x4 pattern. Cover and set aside to rise again in a warm place for another 30 minutes.
While your rolls are rising, preheat your oven to 350º Fahrenheit. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes before frosting with cream cheese icing. (The frosting will melt in. If you want the frosting to sit on top, wait until the rolls are cooled.)
Cream Cheese Frosting:
While your cinnamon buns are baking, whip up your cream cheese frosting.
In a medium bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese using an electric mixer until completely smooth and there are no lumps. Add maple syrup and beat to combine.
Add in icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating until combined before each addition.
Once all of your icing sugar is mixed in, add in vanilla and turn the mixer onto high and beat for 3-4 minutes until pale and fluffy. If you want your frosting a bit more fluid, just add a touch more maple syrup.
Set aside until your cinnamon buns are ready to be frosted.
Spread a generous helping on top of each cinnamon bun, serve warm, and enjoy!
The calories shown are based on the recipe making 16 rolls, with 1 serving being 1 cinnamon bun with frosting. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**