Pumpkin-Chocolate Swirl Buns

I know that I just lamented about pumpkin, but, truth be told…I’m not even close to being over it yet.

I’ve been eyeing this recipe for Chocolate Swirl Buns since I saw them on Smitten Kitchen over the summer, but I wanted to wait until the air was crisp and the leaves were fallen before I delved into it. There’s just something about baking with yeast when the cooler months start rolling in, that I cannot resist…I can’t resist pumpkin right now either…surprise!

So, given my love of fall-time baking AND pumpkin AND chocolate, these buns were a no-brainer-mega-hit. I had 3, THREE, the day I made them. My husband had a few himself, and the rest got sent to his office and out of the danger zone–aka, my face. The dough is super-soft and tender, lightly flavored with pumpkin and cinnamon, and slightly sweet. The spiced chocolate filling is the best thing when still warm–gooey, melty, and just spiced. The egg wash and sugar crust make for the best crisp-crunch on the tops of the buns. I love the way the buns unravel, allowing you to eat layer-after-layer of perfectly tender, yeasted dough, with bits of crunchy sugar topping, and rich, gooey pockets of chocolate. Though these buns may be nice for an ultra-decadent weekend brunch, they would be perfect along side an afternoon pick-me-up, as well.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Swirl Buns

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 12 buns.

This recipe calls for a bit more liquid and flour than the original and yield buns that are a little larger. I also switched the sugar in the dough and filling to brown, but regular granulated sugar would be perfectly fine. The dough is pretty soft, so work gently and flour the counter and rolling pin liberally to keep things from getting too sticky. Though these are best eaten soon after baking, you can pop leftover buns in the microwave for 10-15 seconds–mimicking that ‘just-baked’ warmth. 


1/3 cup warm milk

1/3 cup plain pumpkin puree

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons yeast

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

4 Tablespoons unsalted, softened butter


3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

8 ounces (1 cup) chocolate chips, or chopped bar

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Egg Wash:

1 egg

1 Tablespoon cream

sugar for sprinkling

In measuring cup, combine milk with yeast and a pinch of sugar. Allow to proof 5 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin and the egg. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attatchement, combine flour, remaining sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the yeast-pumpkin mixture and mix on low to combine. Add the butter 2 Tablespoons at a time, mixing until the butter is incorporated before adding the rest. Scrape dough from the paddle, add the dough hook attachment  and knead on medium speed for 10 minutes. The dough will be quite sticky and stringy. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

While the dough rises, make the filling. In the bowl of a food processor, process all ingredients until all of the butter is distributed and you have an uneven, gravely mixture. Set aside.

Liberally butter a 12-cup muffin tin. Set aside.

Once dough has risen, turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and gently deflate. Allow to rest 5 more minutes, before rolling the dough out into a large rectangle, the short end measuring about 12 inches–the long edge can be about 18-22 inches. Sprinkle the chocolate filling evenly over the rectangle, it will be bumpy, and begin rolling from the short end all the way up into a 12-13 inch log and pinch to seal. Gently saw off about 1-inch spirals, placing each into a prepared tin. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise another hour.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350*F.

Whisk together the egg and cream, brush gently over the tops of the proofed buns and sprinkle liberally with sugar. Bake in the center of the oven for 15-25 minutes. Mine took closer to 25 minutes to bake. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.



  1. says

    Hell to the yes. These look ridiculously good. Pumpkin and chocolate are such a good match! It’s just the truth! And I wish I worked with Sean. Then I could eat three in a row!

  2. jenny says

    OMGGGGGGG. I can’t wait to make these. my only lament is that every food blogger I read is making incredibly delicious carbs right now and I want to bake and eat them allllllll. (I guess there are worse problems to have…)

  3. says

    Ooo, Cindy, these look way too good. I’ll have to take your advice though and make them a day when one of us can bring the leftovers to the office. What is it about that pumpkin-chocolate combination that never fails?

  4. says

    You. Are. Lovely. I can’t wait to try this recipe! I always tend to get intimidated by recipes with yeast, but I’ll definitely set aside the time to make these. They look like they’ll be worth it!

    Also, it’s a joy discovering your blog. Your photography is beauteous. I can’t wait to return! I love it!

  5. Robin says

    These look delicious! I can’t wait to make them! Can you use a bread maker to make the dough? I don’t have a mixer.

    • says

      I am sure if you have experience using a bread machine, you could adapt this recipe. Honestly, though, I have never used one so I can’t say. Sorry for not being able to help on that front. You can make this dough by hand, though.


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