I don’t always do a lot of bread baking during the summer, when it is hot outside and I don’t want to run the oven for long periods of time, but I start right back up again as soon as fall begins. The cooler, crisp autumn air just begs to be filled with aromas of warm spices and yeast breads. You can easily hit both those targets by baking up a batch of these Pumpkin Spice Raisin Buns. These simple yeast bread rolls are bursting with warm pumpkin spice flavor, and they’re versatile enough to make an appearance at a holiday brunch or as a side dish at dinner.
The buns are lightly sweetened with brown sugar and have a generous dose of pumpkin pie spice, as well as a hint of vanilla. In spite of these sweet elements, the finished bread is only slightly sweet. Most of the sweetness comes from the raisins studding the dough, not from the dough itself. The buns have a light, tender crumb to them that makes them a good vessel for spreading with butter, cream cheese or jam. You can also pair them with a savory dish without a problem. Personally, I like them slightly warm and spread with a little bit of salted butter.
I used a food processor fitted with a dough blade to prepare this dough, however you can use a food processor with a regular metal blade or a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook instead. If you are using a food processor with a metal blade, stir the raisins in by hand, rather than using the mixer to do it for you. You can also mix this dough entirely by hand, kneading the dough for about 2-4 minutes before the first rise until it is smooth. I baked my buns in a muffin tin, which makes it not only easy to portion the dough, but easy to bake and serve the buns. You can shape the dough into round rolls and bake them in a 9×9-inch or even a 9×13-inch baking pan if you don’t want to bake them in muffin cups, however the dough is a bit on the sticky side and it is much easier (and likely faster) to divide the dough into muffin tins for baking. When making the buns this way, you can simply divide the dough into the muffin tins as you would with a thick quick bread batter, no special skills needed. These tasty buns will be a hit however you serve them!
Pumpkin Spice Raisin Buns
1/4 cup water, warm (approx 100-110 F)
2 1/4 tsp active dry/rapid rise yeast (1/4-oz)
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk (any kind)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup raisins
In a small bowl, combine warm water and active dry (or rapid rise) yeast. Allow to sit for 3-4 minutes, until yeast is foamy.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a dough blade, combine flour, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, buttermilk, milk, vanilla extract and vegetable oil. Add in yeast mixture. Process until dough comes together and is smooth, about 4-5 minutes. Allow dough to rise in the bowl of the food processor, with the lid in place, until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
If you are using a stand mixer, follow instructions above using a dough hook attachment and kneading until the dough comes together into ball that starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Add additional flour a tablespoon at a time if the dough is overly sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise until doubled in size.
After dough has risen, add in raisins and pulse to knock dough down and evenly distribute the raisins, about 12 strong pulses. (or gently knead with the dough hook).
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
Divide dough evenly into prepared muffin tin. Let rise for 20-30 minutes. If extra sweetness is desired, brush tops of buns with melted butter and sprinkle generously with sugar.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and an instant read thermometer registers 200F when inserted into the center.
Remove buns from muffin tin and allow to cool on a wire rack before serving.