Pumpkin Painting

Day 22:
When researching for these 31 days of pumpkins I came across a couple of fun looking designs for pumpkin painting. My two favorites were the candy corn pumpkins and the minion pumpkins.
candy corn pumpkin

Eeeee!

Eeeee!

Candy Corn for us because we love it, and Minions for Penny because she loves them.

So we went to the store and grabbed a family of pumpkins for ourselves. A Daddy pumpkin, a Mommy Pumpkin and a baby Pumpkin. We also picked up some paint and brushes.

When we got home I set up the paint space while Sarah made us dinner. Penny had her smock on and I had the newspaper down. It was time to get going. As fun as the two designs were I decided to just make something up. Partly because I wanted to get Penny involved and I didn’t think she was going to follow a pattern. Also, because I wanted to do my own thing.

Let's Do it!

Let’s Do it!

Working Hard

Working Hard

Started off as just a Jack O' Lantern

Started off as just a Jack O’ Lantern

Penny's Rainbow

Penny’s Rainbow

Watching Paint Dry

Watching Paint Dry

I had initially was doing a run of the mill Jack O’ Lantern face, which turned into a witch face, which turned into a clown face, which turned into the Luchador thing above. Penny’s is rainbows and other colors. Sarah kept us fed so she didn’t paint with. She said she would carve her pumpkin later. But that is a post for next week.

-Chris

 

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Can’t Wait Until Breakfast

Day 21: Spiced Pumpkin Scones.

I made a mistake when scheduling this month. The mistake was putting Scones today. Because both Sarah and I were quite busy today, the scones couldn’t be made until late evening. I am writing this and it is nearing 9pm and the scones are still in the oven, tantalizing me with their wonderful smell. They have yet to be baked fully. They have yet to be cooled. They have yet to be glazed. What I am saying is, I do not know if they will be ready before I go to bed. Maybe I will eat one before bedtime. OK, probably I will eat some before bedtime. But that is still a ways away. At least I can look forward to a delicious breakfast tomorrow morning.

From Inspired Taste.

Ingredients
FOR Pumpkin Scones:
  • 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose  flour
  • 1/3 cup (70 grams) brown  sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) cold unsalted  butter (1 stick of butter)
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) pumpkin  puree
  • 1 tablespoon unsulphured molasses  (we use Blackstrap Unsulphured Molasses)
  • 3 tablespoons half and half
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
FOR Simple Sugar Glaze
  • 1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar,  sifted
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons half and  half
FOR Spiced Glaze
  • 1 cup (125 grams) powdered sugar,  sifted
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 nutmeg
  • 1/8 ginger
  • 1/4 cinnamon
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons half and  half

 

Method
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F  (200 degrees C) then line a large baking sheet or two small baking sheets with  parchment paper (you can also spray with non-stick cooking spray if you do not  have parchment paper).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the  flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and all the spices together  (cinnamon, ginger, clove and nutmeg).
  3. Then, cut the cold butter  into small cubes (it is very important that the butter is cold for this). Add  butter to flour mixture then use two knives or a pastry cutter to “cut” the  butter into the flour mixture – this should take about 5 minutes by hand. By the  end, the mixture should look like coarse cornmeal or crumbs. (You could also use a food  processor for this – if using, add flour mixture to bowl of a food processor  then add the cold butter cubes. Pulse three to four times until the mixture  looks like coarse cornmeal or crumbs).
  4. Now, in another medium  bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, molasses, half and half, vanilla extract  and egg until blended.
  5. Stir pumpkin mixture into  flour and butter mixture with a spoon just until a soft dough forms.
  6. Transfer the dough to a  floured surface then knead it three to four times until it comes together.
  7. Then, pat or use a rolling-pin to roll the dough into a 10 inch by 7 inch  rectangle. Use a knife or pizza cutter (pizza cutter works best) to cut the  rectangle in half lengthwise then cut into 4 even pieces crosswise, making eight  rectangles. Now, cut each rectangle into two triangles.
  8. Transfer scones to the  prepared baking sheet(s) then bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and a  toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to  cool completely.
  9. Once scones have cooled,  make the glazes. To make the simple sugar glaze, add sifted powdered sugar to a  medium bowl then add one tablespoon of half and half. Stir then judge the  consistency. If when you pick a spoon up and out of the glaze it slowly drizzles  back into the glaze, it is fine. If it is too thick, add a little more half and  half (a little goes a long way, here). If it is too thin, add a little more  powdered sugar. Dip each cooled scone directly into the glaze then place glazed  side up back onto the cooling rack.
  10. Next, make the pumpkin  spiced glaze. Combine sifted powdered sugar, pumpkin puree, spices (cinnamon,  cloves and nutmeg), and then add one tablespoon of half and half. Stir and check  consistency. Adjust the same way as you would the simple glaze. Use a spoon to  drizzle a zig zag pattern across each scone.
  11. Wait about 15 minutes until the glaze has set then enjoy!
No Glaze

No Glaze

First Glaze

First Glaze

Second Glaze

Second Glaze

-Chris

I tried them before turning in for the night. Yeah, they are good. Real good. The Scone itself has a good spiced flavor and the glazes are sufficiently sweet. The only issue we have is that they are not as hard as we like are scones. They are moist and soft which is great but not the qualities we look for in a scone. Still, I will love them again in the morning.

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Making Shirts and Making Memories.

Day 20:

Early in the month when we were deciding which pumpkin activity/recipe we would place on each day to get organized we knew that we would be out of town visiting our nieces, Maddie and Bettie.  This would surely be the highlight of the month 🙂  We had to plan for the fact that recipes would probably not happen and we would need activities to contain 3 incredibly active young ladies while their parents were away.  Pumpkin Tie Dye Shirts!! This seemed like a fun activity and kids love stuff like this, right?  (http://www.curlycraftymom.com/2010/10/tie-dye-pumpkin-shirts.html)

This is the goal from the online photo we found.

Penny and Bettie were over the moon with excitement but Maddie was a little apprehensive.  She did not want to make a pumpkin shirt although she protested she was the one who woke up this morning with the words “let’s make the pumpkin shirts!”  This was still while I was waking from sleep so Chris held the girls occupied with mundane Sunday morning activities like eating bits of breakfast and playing games until I could get my stuff together.

We gathered most of the materials yesterday so that we would have it easy this morning.  We hit the craft store on the way home from the Pumpkin Show in Circleville (see blog from yesterday for more on this) and although the girls were excited, they were tired and as we were about to checkout “we” started melting down.  Now, the “we” that I mentioned was not exactly everyone in the group.  These 3 young girls had been having fun all day and need a little time to unwind so instead of taking care of the lost fabric marker and the white t-shirts from store #2, we headed home to chill out and get ourselves together only to have to return to the store later in the day AND today. Did I mention that we are not incredible organized people?  It seemed like enough to make a vague plan but then when details were needed things got tough.

In the end…WE DID IT! The girls were in charge of deciding what size pumpkins they wanted on their shirts and how many (adults made sure the rubber bands were attached as tight as possible).

Penny chose 1 big pumpkin

Penny chose 1 big pumpkin

Bettie wants lots of pumpkins

Bettie wants lots of pumpkins

trying to dye shirts without dyeing anything else in the house

trying to dye shirts without dyeing anything else in the house

 

The shirts achieved a really nice shade of bright orange.  Now it was each girl’s turn to decorate the pumpkins with jack-o-lantern faces.  They decided to do that and more.Image

completing her project

completing her project

Maddie focused on her artwork

Maddie focused on her artwork

 

You will see from their shirts below something that I could never have imagined; the girls made these beautiful works of art that were creative and showed off their unique talents and interests.  One part of me wanted to say, “no, no girls you are just supposed to decorate the faces” but I am so thankful that I did not interrupt their process.  The shirts started out as an activity and became a little snapshot into their minds at this moment.

3 pumpkin shirt-wearing girls

3 pumpkin shirt-wearing girls

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Pumpkin Show

Day 19:

Just a quick one tonight before I head to bed. We took Penny, Maddie and Bettie to the Circleville Pumpkin Show today. The rain kept the crowds away but also soaked our shoes. We rode some rides and ate some fair food. I had pumpkin pizza which was unusual in that the pumpkin used had all the spices of pie on it, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc, yet the pizza was still made with tomato sauce and cheese. It shouldn’t have worked, but it did. Tomorrow morning we will have some of the pumpkin donuts that we bought. Enjoy the pictures!

-Chris

Fun House

Fun House

Mini Tumbler

Mini Tumbler

Where we got Popcorn

Where we got Popcorn

Should have gotten Pumpkin Waffles

Should have gotten Pumpkin Waffles

SO MAny Pumpkins

So Many Pumpkins

The Pumpkin Tower and the girls

The Pumpkin Tower and the girls

We wanted to sit in this one.

We wanted to sit in this one.

The biggest one.

The biggest one.

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Pumpkin Brew

Day 18:

This weekend we are in Columbus watching our nieces while my brother and his wife are on a small getaway. So here we are in a house with three girls running around and playing. What a perfect opportunity to enjoy today’s pumpkin theme: Pumpkin Beer!

Tonight I am drinking Smuttynose Brewing Co’s Pumpkin Ale. I don’t have a pretentiously sophisticated palate so I can’t eloquently describe the “bouquet” the beer provides. It’s good and I think it has the proper amount of pumpkin and spices. I don’t think it has much to distinguish it from other Pumpkin beers. But, the case has provided me with some useful brewing history: “In Colonial Times, Brewers sought to extend their supply of costly imported malt with locally grown ingredients such as squash and ‘pompions'” So it’s not just a fun seasonal drink, it’s an American Tradition. I can picture Benjamin Franklin brewing up some pumpkin beer.

Tonight's brew

Tonight’s brew

Speaking of tradition, my pumpkin beer drinking normally starts with Buffalo Bill’s Brewery Pumpkin Ale. It’s not my favorite but it’s usually pretty good. I couldn’t find it this year. So I started this year with Post Road Pumpkin Ale. I thought it was good as well. I think I like my Pumpkin Ales to come in as plain a  box as possible. Just a simple picture of a pumpkin on an nondescript label. I am not even sure if these breweries offer any other types of beers. It’s like they just appear in fall and disappear after Halloween.

Post Road

Post Road

The next one I tried was Shock Top’s Pumpkin Wheat. I like wheat beers in general so I was expecting to love this. At first I wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t until I got to the last one of the pack that I saw the instructions for serving. It suggests pouring all but 1/2 inch into a glass, stirring the last bit and then pouring that in. I was skeptical, but I gotta say, it changed the way it tasted. I thought it was great after that. I am going to try to remember that for future pumpkin beers.

Shocking

Shocking

The last pumpkin beer I had was Unita Brewing’ Punk’n. Sarah picked it up for me and she must have been in tune with my brain because she picked the nondescript label with a simple picture. I think this one is this year’s winner. I know Sarah liked it and I liked it as well.

Punk'n

Punk’n

The truth is I loved them all. Pumpkin beers are my favorite and nothing beats an ice cold one on a crisp fall day.

-Chris

Tomorrow, if the weather cooperates we will be going to the Circleville Pumpkin Show. We haven’t been since Penny was super tiny.

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Indian Comfort

Day 17:

Two weeks ago we tried our first taste of an Indian style Pumpkin dish when we made our Pumpkin Lentil Curry. That was a decent dish but not too exciting. I wouldn’t necessarily make it again. However, when I had it for lunch either the next day or the one after that I thought it was very good. I think all it needed was time for all the flavors to settle in and mix together. Tonight though, we were hoping for something good away. We wanted a tasty dinner and our hopes rested with Cottage Cheese Koftas in Pumpkin Gravy. The recipe comes from the same place we got the Pumpkin Lentil Curry, Lite Bite.

First order of business was cutting the pumpkin. All the previous pumpkins we had processed were gone. I was dreading this process because the last pumpkin I cut was as solid as oak and difficult to cut. My worrying was for nothing and I made quick work of it. I used a little less than half of the pumpkin.

An easier cut

An easier cut

Next up was making the koftas. For this recipe these are balls of cottage cheese, breadcrumbs and some spices crisped to a nice golden brown in a skillet. I made the mix as suggested and put them on the heated pan. Immediately after putting them on I thought to myself, “These are mostly cottage cheese, what is preventing them from just being a blob of melted cheese?” AS it turns out, the answer is nothing. Nothing prevents them from becoming a blob of melted cheese. Oh but what a delicious blob of melted cheese it was.

Yummy Blob of Cheese

Yummy Blob of Cheese

The last step was making the gravy which is just pumpkin, tomato, onion, some spices and yogurt pureed and mixed together. One of the things I love about Indian food is the bright colors. The gravy didn’t disappoint with a nice dark red-orange color. It looked good and it smelled good too.

Pre-Pureed but looking nice.

Pre-Pureed but looking nice.

Since I had time and some cottage cheese left I decided to try again with the Koftas. This time I added a lot more bread crumbs than the recipe called for. The mix was doughier, dryer and more solid. And when I put them on the skillet they didn’t turn into a blob of melted cheese. They still got melty but not as bad.

Once the girls got home it was time to eat. It was good. Both Sarah and I liked it. She thought it was comparable to grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, with just a little bit of spices to it. We felt it was simple, but not in a bad way. I know that sometimes people hear “Indian Food” and are worried about it being too spicy hot, or too spicy weird, and this was neither. I thought it was a good comfort food. We would definitely recommend it and have it again, and who knows, maybe once the flavors get some time to blend together it might taste even better.

Dinner is Served!

Dinner is Served!

-Chris

Cottage Cheese Koftas in Pumpkin Gravy

Ingredients;

For Koftas

  • 1 cup Cottage Cheese (The recipe calls for fresh made cottage cheese. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Though maybe fresh would hold up better in the skillet…)
  • 2 bread slices (I used a lot more bread the second time around. Closer to 6 slices I’d say)
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander leaves (Coriander leaves what are those? Oh, cilantro leaves. Thanks Sarah)
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. oil

For Gravy

  • 1 1/2 cup diced pumpkin cubes
  • 1 tomato (I used a can of stewed tomatoes)
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup yogurt/curd
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds (I didn’t have seeds so I used a couple of pinches of cumin powder)
  • Salt to taste

Method; Crumble fresh homemade Cottage cheese and the bread slices coarsely. In a large bowl add crumbled cottage cheese, bread, coriander leaves, black pepper, salt and mix well. If you are using soya granules, soak them in warm water for 10 minutes. Squeeze completely and add to the cottage cheese and make koftas.

Make small balls with the above mixture. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a flat pan and shallow fry all the balls till they turn golden brown in colour.

Peel and chop onion and pumpkin, dice tomatoes.

Heat 1 tbsp. oil, add chopped onion, diced tomato, pumpkin cubes and sauté for 6-7 minute on medium heat.

Blend sautéed onion, tomato and pumpkin into fine puree.

Heat remaining oil in a wok and add cumin seeds. Pour pumpkin puree in the wok, add chili powder, coriander powder, salt and cook for 10 minutes on medium heat.

Whip yogurt lightly with a fork and add it into the pumpkin gravy. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and take off the flame.

(I made rice to go with it just in case, but there is no need for it. The Koftas and Gravy were enough)

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Candy Pretzel Pumpkins

Day 16: I did not anticipate being home for the candy making process this evening but my plans fell through and, therefore, I got a chance to participate as photographer, Penny helper and blogger for today’s pumpkin activity.

chocolately covered pretzel candies

chocolately covered pretzel candies

We found this candy covered pretzel idea on Pinterest as that is where a lot of valuable information is stored these days for all things clever and crafty.  It was a great way to get the whole family together and get our hands dirty.  Chris and Penny started off the evening sorting out the green M&Ms from other colors and then went outside to play for a little while. SONY DSC

When it was finally time to get started, Chris melted the orange candy disks and I made a real effort to get out of the way.  As the oldest child of seven, I have a tendency to be a little bossy so since this was his show I stepped out of the way.  I returned to the scene when I found Chris’ hands were too dirty to assist Penny with her messy hands.  There is no way she could get messier and she had a great time. In the end we even let her lick her hands.

 

Chris and Penny making candy

Chris and Penny making candy

a good lick-y day

a good lick-y day

She was so excited and replied that it was a “good lick-y day” as she managed to a do a technique I like to call the “lick and squish”.

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Crafty Lass and Lady

Day 15:

Today was a craft day. Penny and Sarah and Penny did some painting. Here are the pics.

Hooray Painting

Hooray Painting

Mommy Helping Out

Mommy Helping Out

Jack O' Lantern and Gourds I

Jack O’ Lantern and Gourds I

Jack O' Lantern and Gourds II

Jack O’ Lantern and Gourds II

Sarah and I are a bit worn out today, thus the small post today. Hopefully we will be better tomorrow when we make some Pumpkin Candy Pretzels.

-Chris

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Soup-er Supper

Day 14:

Over here at our house, we really look forward to the cooler months for one particular reason.  I would like to say that it is the feeling of being alive on a bitterly cold day or any number of fun things one can do during late Autumn and Winter in Cleveland, Ohio but neither fit the bill.  We love the cooler months because it is finally time to get the soup pot out each week to try new hearty combinations to fill our bellies and warm us all the way through.  Soup is a great main course paired with a crusty bread and a nice chunk of cheese, pile of vegetables, or salad.  It is filling and since most recipes we deal with do not use heavy cream they are a great way to get your veggies for dinner.

served with multigrain rolls and edamame

served with multigrain rolls and edamame

In the case of this recipe we used today, it does have heavy cream in it.  This is our exception because Chris’s cousin, Jen, made this soup for us one day while we were visiting and I couldn’t stop eating it!  I am sure it has nothing to do with the fact that there is heavy cream in it and it is terrible for you.

In the original recipe, Jen uses chicken base to give the soup a full flavor but I like to keep our meals vegetarian when I can so I skip this flavoring.  Usually this does not alter the flavoring much but the soup this evening was lacking something so I tweeked the seasonings to fill in the flavor where there would be chicken flavoring.  I think I did a pretty good job with a combination of salt, Pampered Chef Garlic Garlic (we had run out of real garlic or I would have used that), garlic powder, poultry seasoning, savory, and pepper.  All these together really rounded out the flavor of the soup and it was awesome.  Enjoy! -Sarah

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Jen’s Pumpkin Soup

  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 can (29 oz.) pumpkin puree
  • 1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. chicken base (did not use in our recipe**)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup heavy cream

“Sarah’s seasoning mix”**

  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. dried garlic (or minced garlic)
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1.5 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp. savory
  • pepper, to taste

Saute vegetables in melted butter until soft.  Cook flour for 1 minute.  Add all other ingredients except cream and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer.  Add cream during simmer and stir occasionally.  Adjust seasonings to taste. (**this is where I added my seasoning mix).

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Roll With It

Day 13:

Sunday morning is the perfect time to put a little extra effort into breakfast. Luckily today Penny woke me up bright and early to get started. Actually not bright at all as it was pre-dawn. But, no complaining this morning. I needed all those hours to get the Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls ready.

I got the cinnamon roll recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything. Click on that link if you want the recipe and her PMS story. All I suffered from was a little tiredness from being up so early. But after a cup of coffee and a bowl of O’s I was ready to go. Penny was ready to help to and all she needed was some raisin bran. Penny is a big fan of dumping the dry ingredients which I allowed her to do. She’s usually pretty good with it, although today she dumped some spices on the counter. No big deal. She’s also pretty handy with a rolling-pin.

Roll Out

Roll Out

I am pretty sure this is the first time I have ever attempted to make homemade cinnamon rolls. If I did make them before it was a long time ago. These came out pretty amazing. Another winner!

Pumpkin Cinnamon  Rolls with Caramel Frosting
 

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup  milk
  • 2  tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup  canned pumpkin
  • 2  tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4  teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1  tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg,  beaten
  • 1 (1/4  ounce) package dry yeast
  • 2 cups  bread flour (you can use regular all-purpose flour but bread flour makes them  lighter) (I used Bread Flour)
  • 1/2  cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2  teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2  tablespoons melted butter
CARAMEL FROSTING: 
  • 1/4  cup butter
  • 1/2  cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2  tablespoons milk
  • 1/4  teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4  teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 dash  salt
  • 3/4  cup sifted confectioners’ sugar (Sifted? Yeah, I didn’t do that, though this may make the frosting less thick)

Instructions

  1. In  small saucepan, heat milk and 2 tablespoons butter just until warm and butter is  almost melted, stirring constantly. In large mixer bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar,  nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Add milk mixture and beat with electric  mixer until well mixed. Beat in egg and yeast.
  2. Add  half of the flour to pumpkin mixture. Beat mixture on low-speed 5 minutes,  scraping sides of bowl frequently. Add remaining flour and mix thoroughly (dough  will be very soft). Turn into lightly greased bowl, then grease surface of dough  lightly.
  3. Cover  and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Spray  a surface with cooking spray or turn onto floured surface. Knead a few turns to  form a smooth dough, sprinkling with enough additional flour to make dough easy  enough to handle. Roll dough into 12×10 inch rectangle.
  4. In  small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Brush surface of dough with melted  butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Beginning with long side of dough,  roll up jelly roll style. Pinch seam to seal. With sharp knife, cut roll into  twelve 1- inch slices. Place rolls, cut side up, in greased 11X17 inch baking  pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. Bake  rolls at 350 degrees about 15-20 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan to  waxed paper-lined wire rack. Cool 10 to 15 minutes. Drizzle with Caramel  frosting. Makes 12 rolls.
  6. For  the Caramel Frosting: In small saucepan, heat butter until melted. Stir in brown  sugar and milk.
  7. Stir  in brown sugar and milk. Cook over medium low heat 1 minute.
  8. Transfer  to small mixer bowl and cool mixture. Stir in vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, salt,  and confectioners’ sugar. Beat with electric mixer until well blended. If  necessary, add more confectioners’ sugar for desired consistency.
Pre-Baked

Pre-Baked

Baked

Baked

So good.

So good.

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