Warm the milk in a bowl in the microwave for just about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until it is warm. Add in the sugar and salt, then stir the mixture. Allow it to sit until it is warm, but not too hot (if you have a thermometer, it should measure about 105-110 degrees in order to proof active dry yeast). Add 1 package of yeast right to this milk. Allow the yeast to proof for about 5 minutes. It should get nice and frothy.
Add the softened (almost melted) butter, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and vanilla. Stir this well until it is all blended together.
Gradually add in the flour,1 cup at a time. Add in the last 1/2 a cup and start to knead the dough with your hands until the last 1/2 cup of flour is incorporated in. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and continue to knead the bread for about 7 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Add a bit more flour as you need to during kneading. The dough should still feel sticky, but it will not stick to your hands.
Place this dough in a greased bowl and cover it. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until it has doubled, about 1 hour.
Split the dough into 14 balls. Roll each ball into about an 8" "rope", then make a knot in the rope. Repeat this with all of the dough balls.
Melt one stick of butter in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon for coating the pumpkin knots.
Take each pumpkin knot, dip them in the butter, then cover them in the cinnamon sugar mixture. All sides of the pumpkin knot should be coated in cinnamon and sugar.
Place the pumpkin knots on a non-stick baking mat or a pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and allow them to rise in a cool place for 20-30 minutes.
While the knots are rising the second time, prepare the cinnamon crunch topping. In a small bowl, mix together the cold butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans until crumbly.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Before baking, sprinkle the cinnamon crunch mixture on the tops of the pumpkin knots.
Bake, uncovered, for 15-17 minutes, or until they are cooked through and lightly browned.
If you have a bread maker, you can prepare the dough in the bread maker on the dough setting and then remove it, form the knots, and bake in the oven. If you have a stand mixer, you can use the dough hook to knead the bread for 5-7 minutes using the mixer.The calories shown are based on the recipe making 14 rolls, with 1 serving 1 roll. 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.**