The second secret is this: If you happen to know how to make something really yummy, do not let anyone know about it. Because if you do, you will be stuck making it for every holiday party/gathering/potluck/whatever for the rest of your life.
Since I had to make
Please forgive me. It will be worth it, I promise.
Now I'm going to show you how to make a pumpkin roll. And I blame the fact that I have to make these every holiday on my mother. She started it.
The cast of characters: Flour, granulated sugar, eggs, canned pumpkin, cinnamon, baking soda, cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and a 20 oz bottle of
Then take a cookie sheet, and line it with tin foil. Make sure your piece of tin foil is big enough that you have overlap on the sides. This will be important later.
Spray the lined cookie sheet with Pam or other cooking spray. My mother used to just rub a stick of butter all over it. That works too, but I've found that the spray is more convenient, not to mention less calorie-laden. Because at this point, we care about calories, right?
Pour your lovely pumpkin mixture into the cookie sheet, and spread it out evenly with a spatula, covering the whole pan.
It will look something like this. Slide this into a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. Yesterday, 13 minutes was just about perfect.
While your pumpkin mixture is baking, take a white linen baking cloth (I've also used clean kitchen towels before, don't tell, ok?) and sprinkle it generously with powdered sugar. I mean really...don't skimp here. There's no such thing as too much powdered sugar.
You can tell it's done because the edges will have started to pull away slightly from the pan, and they will be a nice golden brown. Don't mind the little hole in the middle there...that's where I stuck my finger to see if it was done. It will never show when we're finished.
Now, starting from the bottom edge, roll the bread up in the cloth like a jelly roll. Take your time and be gentle. We're going to let this sit rolled up for exactly 30 minutes. Don't ask why. All I can tell you is that I've tried less than 30 minutes, and I've tried longer, and neither one works out very well. Just trust me.
While our bread is rolled up and cooling, we're going to make the filling. Start with two 8 oz packages of cream cheese. The filling-making goes much easier if the cream cheese is soft.
Add one cup of powdered sugar.
Then two tablespoons of butter...
And a teaspoon of vanilla. If you are trying to make five pumpkin rolls in one morning, you may be tempted to double the recipe and make two batches of filling at once. While this might seem like a great idea, if you only have a 4-quart bowl, it is not a great idea.
This is why. I'll bet this never happens to Martha Stewart. Because she has the industrial Kitchen Aid mixer with the 6-quart bowl and the automatic lifter thing. Also, she's Martha Stewart. And I'm not.
If you make just one batch of filling at a time with your 4-quart bowl, it works much better. It also works better if you have the paddle attachment, instead of the whisk. Have I mentioned that my paddle thing went missing? If you want to know what to get me for Christmas...a replacement paddle would be great. For the mixer, I mean.
When the 30 minutes is up, unroll your pumpkin bread and spread the yummy cream cheese/powdered sugar mixture evenly all over it.
Then carefully roll it back up again, this time without the cloth. If you're lucky, the bread will not stick to the cloth, and it won't crack. But even if it does, the cream cheese makes a pretty good glue. It took some practice before I got to the point where my bread didn't burn, stick to the cloth, and rip in places. If you get it right the first time, more power to you. You can be Martha Stewart.
For my office potluck, I sliced two rolls into about 3/4" pieces and brought them in that way. For Thanksgiving at my mother-in-law's, I just took the roll whole. Three of them. I am not allowed in their house unless I am bearing pumpkin rolls. That's how it's always been. On the bright side, that's the only part of Thanksgiving dinner I'm required to make.
Yum, yum, and more yum. Doesn't that look delicious? I brought these to my office yesterday, and the most frequent comment was, "Oh my gosh, these are awesome! You really made these?" Because apparently, I don't look like someone who can make...something. So here, pictorial proof, that yes, I actually do make these myself. But only when I'm forced to.