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FALL BAKING: Recipe for salted caramel pumpkin buns

09/15/2014 12:01 EDT | Updated 11/15/2014 05:59 EST
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This Sept. 8, 2014 photo shows salted caramel pumpkin buns in Concord, N.H. The bun combines two classics, pumpkin pie and a cinnamon bun, which is topped with a homemade caramel sauce. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
A pumpkin pie. Rolled up in a cinnamon bun. Do we have your attention yet?

That's right... We took our autumn baking to a delicious new level by combining two classics, then topping them with an intensely good homemade caramel sauce spiked with flaked sea salt for added oomph and to contrast to all that sweetness.

When slicing the log of dough into individual buns, a serrated knife works well. You also can use unflavored, unwaxed dental floss (or heavy thread). To do this, hold a length of floss (about 15 inches or so) by both ends. Slide the floss under the log and move it down to where you would make the first cut. Now lift both ends up over the dough log and pull in opposite directions across the log to slice through. Repeat with the remaining rolls.

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SALTED CARAMEL PUMPKIN BUNS

Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours (30 minutes active)

Servings: 12

For the dough:

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups milk, warmed slightly

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon instant yeast

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

For the filling:

2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/3 cup canned pumpkin

1 egg white

1/2 teaspoon ground dry ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For the glaze:

3 tablespoons butter

1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar

1/2 cup light cream

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

1/2 teaspoon flake sea salt

To prepare the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine all ingredients and mix on low until the dough is soft and elastic, about 8 minutes. Alternatively, the dough can be mixed by hand. If so, in a large bowl combine all ingredients but start with 2 cups of the flour, then slowly work in the remaining 2 cups as the dough comes together.

Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead several times. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Once the dough has rested, use a rolling pin to roll it out into a 12-by-18-inch rectangle. If the dough shrinks back, allow it to rest a little longer before continuing.

Heat the oven to 350 F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Alternatively, line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment and coat with cooking spray.

To prepare the filling, in a medium bowl use an electric mixer beat together the cream cheese, pumpkin, egg white, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. Spread the pumpkin mixture evenly over the rolled out dough going all the way to the edge except on one long side (leave 1 inch of that long side bare). Starting with that side, roll up the dough into a log like a jelly roll, pinching the sides to seal.

Using a sharp knife, cut the log into 12 rounds. Arrange the rounds in the prepared pan. If using the 9-by-13-inch pan, the buns will touch. If using a baking sheet, the buns can be spread out (and will cook slightly faster). Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until slightly puffy, about 20 minutes. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and the buns reach an internal temperature of 190 F.

While the buns bake, make the glaze. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, cream and cinnamon. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Stir in the vanilla bean paste and salt. When the buns are cooked, immediately drizzle all over with the caramel. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition information per serving: 360 calories; 100 calories from fat (28 per cent of total calories); 11 g fat (7 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 30 mg cholesterol; 60 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 27 g sugar; 7 g protein; 290 mg sodium.

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