Homecooking: Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns / by Deborah Clague

Guests at my house have a four in ten chance of sipping out of a mug with my dog's face on it. 

Guests at my house have a four in ten chance of sipping out of a mug with my dog's face on it. 

As mentioned in a previous post, I have had a few disasters in my kitchen while learning to cook. Just last week, I tried using up the remainder of the Moroccan spice blend I created on an exotic version of fish-and-chips. My potatoes ended up dry as heck and the cod I used just wasn't the right choice for this particular culinary experiment. I was disappointed as it made its way into the bottom of my trash bin, however, I look forward to attempting it again. Just as I didn't stop after I made my first disastrous batch of pumpkin cinnamon buns. 

I love cinnamon buns. Like, I REALLY love them. They are in my top three of desserts (next to Italian tricolour cookies and authentic French eclairs), being both delicious and bringing back memories of yesteryear when the sticky roll played a supporting role during some pivotal moments of my life such as at social gatherings or after poignant break-ups when I stuffed my face with them. The absolute best cinnamon buns are located in Winnipeg at KUB Bakery. The insides are ooey-goeey and the surface is covered with a delectable apple topping. This is the benchmark I'm aiming for. 

As I was visiting my mom during Halloween, I thought I would make a seasonal variation with pumpkin to share with her. I have never had these before, much less made them, but I found an online recipe that seemed easy to follow. Seemed. Perhaps to a more seasoned chef, it would have been but I have never worked with yeast before and my first dough was a dry mess that kept breaking as I tried to knead it: 


I suppose I could have let it harden a bit more and made a soccer ball out of it. Oh well. 

I aborted that mission and decided to try again the next day using a new recipe by The Pioneer Woman that a colleague provided. My dough ended up perfect. The only changes I made were adding raisins and subtracting the glaze topping in hopes of also subtracting a few calories (although this dessert isn't healthy by any means; the amount of butter is insane). It was a very fulfilling process to make this from scratch. While the end taste wasn't entirely up to my expectations – I want to be as good, or better, than KUB – recipients who tried the buns really liked them. Now that I know the base, I can play.