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Prep 20 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
This recipe is easily prepared in any moderate to large food processor, though you can also make the dough in a stand mixer with a dough hook or by hand. The rolls bake up moist and tender, though the recipe calls for minimal added fat. Canned, unseasoned pumpkin puree adds plenty of moisture, along with autumnal flavor and beautiful color. Maple syrup, rather than refined sugars, gives the rolls a delicate, earthy sweetness. For the best flavor, use dark B grade maple syrup. In a pinch, you can substitute an equal amount of dark brown sugar for the syrup. These rolls are best served hot from the oven, but you can also let them cool for reheating in a 350 degree F oven for 5-8 minutes when needed. Or freeze in a zip-close plastic bag for up to two months. Reheat wrapped in foil in a 350 degree F oven. The rolls are delicious on their own but are quite nice served with apple butter or a spoonful of cranberry sauce. In the unlikely event that you have any leftover, they make an excellent base for a mini-ham sandwich spiked with a grainy country-style mustard. Prep time includes rising time as well.
- In food processor, combine 2 cups of the flour, the cornmeal, yeast and salt; pulse to combine. (Alternatively, in a medium bowl, whisk the ingredients together then proceed with the recipe using a stand mixer).
- In small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
- Add the pumpkin puree, 3/4 cup milk and maple syrup.
- Stir over low heat just until very warm, about 120 F to 130 F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Add the warm pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and process or mix until thoroughly combined.
- Pulse or mix in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft, sticky dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl.
- If using a processor, process for 2 minutes to knead.
- If using a stand mixer, knead with a dough hook for about 5 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, shape into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Coat two baking sheets with cooking spray.
- Uncover the dough and cut it into 16 equal pieces.
- In the palm of your hands, roll each piece into a smooth round ball.
- Set the balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets and cover them loosely with plastic wrap.
- Let the rolls rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-1 1/2 hours.
- Near the end of the rising time, place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
- Brush the tops of the rolls with milk and sprinkle with a dusting of cornmeal.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until browned.
- Serve warm, or let cool and reheat before serving.