Soy-Glazed Pumpkin with Sesame

Soy-Glazed Pumpkin with Sesame - Japan  | A Little Yumminess

Here’s the second recipe from our Japanese curry bento: salty-sweet-sticky glazed pumpkin with toasted sesame seeds. This is a super comforting side dish and a total snap to make, requiring only 3 ingredients in addition to the pumpkin itself. It’s quick braised in the glaze on the stove top which I think is a total genius move since I’m used to thinking that anytime I cook fresh pumpkin, I’m going to need to turn on the oven….. and wait.

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Cozy Pumpkin-Cinnamon Rolls for Lazy Weekend Breakfasts

Adieu for now to our beloved chocolate cinnamon babka…. as much as we have enjoyed justifying all that chocolate on our brunch table, the feeling of fall in the air has turned our cravings in another direction.  The sun’s autumnal slant and the rustle of dry leaves along our walk to school have got us dreaming about sweet pumpkin and big pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg. These pumpkin-ed up cinnamon rolls cozily knit our favorite fall flavors  together and add a decadent glug of icing for good measure.  I know these so totally do not qualify in the “healthy eats” category, but we think they’re just the thing real when gray skies call out for cozy weekend family breakfasts in your pajamas.

This recipe requires a running start ….so for anyone with visions of cinnamon rolls on Saturday morning, you’re going to need to get to work Friday. Luckily for you, it’s only Thursday… there’s still time!!!!

The two dough rises take some time — so no instant gratification here — but none of the steps are too hard and the “hands on” time is definitely not hardcore. And somehow in the end the fact that you have to wait while the yeast does it’s thing maybe, just maybe, makes these taste even better in the end. A little anticipation becomes it’s own kind of “secret ingredient”. We could all use an excuse to slow down and practice a little patience, right? Especially if there’s cinnamon and icing waiting around the corner.

This recipe is like the poster child of blogosphere recipes, coming to you via recipe I spied on the ever-popular Smitten Kitchen who tweaked it from a recipe from the “Baked Elements” cookbook.  Smitten Kitchen has an even more detailed write up which you should check out as well as some pictures so gorgeous they will make you get up from your computer right now and run to the store to grab the ingredients for this recipe.  In following Smitten Kitchen’s version of the recipe, I did come up with a few modifications that were more to my liking, like halving the recipe because there is such thing as too much of good thing. How could any family possibly eat two pans of cinnamon rolls especially when they are really only at their most awesome when they’re still warm from the oven.  A re-heated cinnamon roll doesn’t do any where near as good a job at convincing me it’s worth all those sugary calories. I also swapped in half the flour with whole wheat, increased the spices and and made a few other adjustments here and there. For a less guilty version, you might try using our favorite spiced apple-pear butter, instead of the icing.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

(by way of Smitten Kitchen, by way of the Baked Elements cookbook)


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/8 cup for the dough, the rest for brushing when you assemble the rolls)
  • 1/4 cup milk, warmed to 120 degrees or about the same temperature as a baby’s bottle
  • 1  1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (half of a 0.25 ounce packet)
  • 1  cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/3 cup pureed pumpkin (canned works great)
  • 1 egg


  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch kosher salt


  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  1. Activate the yeast by adding it to the warm milk. Give it a quick stir and then let it sit about 5 minutes. It should smell “yeasty” and look clumpy and foamy, that’s how you’ll know it’s alive and kicking. The yeast will not be happy if the milk is too hot (you can kill it), or too cold (won’t activate).
  2. Melt the butter in a sauce pan. I recommend taking Smitten Kitchen’s advice to cook it for a minute or so past when it melts so that it turns a light brown. Be careful not to let it get too dark, so pour the browned butter into a cool bowl once it’s as brown as you like.
  3. In a bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, combine all the dough ingredients (flours, sugars, spices, salt, yeast/milk mixture, and 1/8 cup of the browned butter — save the rest for brushing on the dough later).  Knead for 5 minutes with a dough hook. [You can do this by hand if you don’t have a stand mixer]. NOTE: the dough will be pretty sticky.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm part of your kitchen for 1 hour during which time it will puff up and double in size.
  5. Meanwhile prepare a baking pan (9″ round or 8″ square). Cut a circle of parchment to fit the bottom of the pan, then butter the sides and parchment lightly (or use cooking spray).
  6.  After the dough has risen for one hour and has puffed up, flour your rolling out area well. Use your hand to flatten the dough and sprinkle a little flour on top and roll it out  into a rectangle about  8 1/2″ x 11″ (or the size of a sheet of paper). Use enough flour to keep it from sticking.
  7. Mix the filling ingredients, then brush your dough rectangle first with the remaining browned butter, then the filling. Roll it jellyroll style along it’s longer edge, then cut it into 1″ rounds. Use a sharp knife and light pressure to avoid smushing the rounds. Place the rolls into the prepared pan.
  8. If making right away, let them rise in the pan for 30-45 minutes before baking at 350 F degrees for 25-30 minutes. If making the day ahead, cover with plastic after putting the rounds in the pan and refrigerate overnight. Give them 45 minutes to an hour to rise before baking them from a refrigerated state.


  • Beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar and milk until smooth. If you want to be fancy about it, sift the powdered sugar before adding it to the bowl to get rid of any lumps. While it has no impact on the flavor, the lumps aren’t so pretty and they’re nearly impossible to get rid of them later.
  • Add a little more powdered sugar or milk to thin or thicken the glaze as needed. Spoon the glaze over the warm cinnamon rolls and devour!

Leslie’s Favorite Pumpkin Muffins

My friend Leslie is a rock star of healthful eating among many, many other things — a parent who has a true passion for eating well both in the flavor and nutritional sense. Whenever we stop by her house (even spur of the moment), there’s bound to be something homemade and yummy at hand. With the goal of making an even bigger impact, she recently got involved in her son’s school cafeteria program with the goal of getting healthier (but still kid-friendly) choices on the menu. Way to go Leslie!!!

Since I was a little girl and old enough to stand on a chair in the kitchen without falling, I have enjoyed baking with my Grandmother, Mother and Sister. Now that I am a Mom I found myself back in the kitchen this time with one or both of my boys standing on a chair next to me baking muffins and other delicious and healthy eats. I started making muffins for my first son.  I found it so easy to make muffins in a mini muffin pan and wrap for storage in the freezer.  It was very handy to reach into the freezer grab a muffin or two and toss them in my bag. By the time my son was ready for a snack the muffin had thawed!  I laugh now as those 24 mini muffins last maybe 3 days with two boys in the house!   I cannot remember the last time they actually made it into the freezer! One of my most popular muffins is made from pumpkin. These are a hit at school when I am in charge of bringing snacks!

I adapted this recipe from a Junior League Cookbook for Butterscotch Pumpkin muffins. I think what makes them so good is the combination of ginger, cinnamon, cloves and mace.  As you read the recipe you will see the Butterscotch, refined sugar and majority of flour is either removed or improved. Muffins pair nicely for breakfast with a delicious smoothie!


  • 1 ¾  Cup  Flour.  Use half whole wheat and half white flour or all whole wheat.  Use what your tastes like or are used to.
  • ½   Cup Maple Syrup  (Grade B ) (Increase by 1/8 cup if you prefer a sweeter muffin)
  • ½ Teaspoon Ginger
  • ½ Teaspoon Mace
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ Teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup pumpkin (I have used canned and puree from a sugar pumpkin, both were great)
  • ½ Cup butter, melted.  [Variation to omit butter:  ½ cup milk, 2 tablespoons canola oil, 1/3 cup ricotta cheese.]

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, ginger, mace, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Create a well in the middle of the mixture.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin and butter (or other), and maple.  Pour into well of dry ingredients.
  3. Fold together just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Do not over mix (tough one if you have helpers…)
  4. Spoon batter evenly into mini muffin tins (or regular).  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean.  Place on a rack to cool.


As I was making Leslie’s recipe, I took a minute to take a look at the nutritional facts on my can of pureed pumpkin. Pumpkin is very high in Vitamin A (a good source of the anti-oxidant beta carotene) and rich in fiber in case you needed another incentive to run out and make this recipe.

These muffins don’t last long around my house!