Blog :: Ramblings of a health nut

Autumn Celebrations

Posted on 22 Sep 2012 by maisha (posted in: blogs)

Oh my! I can't believe today my blog turns TWO. How quickly she grows *sigh*. She doesn't talk as much as she used to (2011), but when she talks it's from the heart. She'd really like to change her looks and E vehemently promised her a makeover well over a year ago (!), but alas...
Perhaps that is why she's been absent at times.

But seriously you guys, I can't believe I've been blogging consistently (albeit less frequent than before) for two years now. And as time became more of an issue and life sort of got in the way, my blog became more of what I wanted it to be. Instead of feeling pressured to write or post in a certain style or about predefined topics, I just let it run wild. Sharing what I wanted to and if I didn't feel like sharing, I simply kept quiet. The itch to write always came back, because it gives me an enormous sense of fulfillment. As does cooking, running, exercise, and photography. And you just cannot imagine how often I look back at my old blog posts for recipes and memories!

So how paradoxical it is that on my second blogiversary I announce that I will very likely be blogging sporadic the next 6 months. With good reason(s) though!

  • Reason number 1: Brazil! My parents' love story started in Brazil and stayed there for 20 years. Now we (my dad and I) are going back to drink cafecinos, among other things ;-) It was a sort of spur of the moment/once in a lifetime chance to do this with my dad, and although timing wise it really sucks for me, I am so, so, glad that we just decided to DO it! So I'll be back by the end of October with entertaining stories, too much photos and a suitcase full of Brazilian coffee.
  • Reason number 2: Australia! Believe it or not, I'll be kickstarting 2013 in Australia with my in-laws who so graciously asked me along on a 5 week (!) trip. I know, they are too generous!
  • Reason number 3: Moving to the (wild, wild) West. E starts his first postgraduate job in October. I'll be leaving mine at the end of December. Together we will move to the west of the Netherlands and once again I'll be on the hunt for a new job.

But let's not dwell on what may or may not be blogging-wise. Instead let's celebrate two years of stories, photos, and recipes. And let's celebrate the first official day of fall.
I <3 fall. For me fall is pumpkins, apples, spices and gingerbread. It's warm hues, red yellow and orange leaves. It's crisp air. It's many beautiful things.
With E's secret talent of bread braiding and my creative recipe making skills, we baked a bread that personifies fall in all her glory.

This Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Challah exceeded our wildest expectations. It is by far the most beautiful bread I've ever created.

It was inspired by this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and several pumpkin challah recipes. When I came across this recipe for pumpkin cinnamon rolls using challah dough, I decided to reverse things and make pumpkin challah with cinnamon roll filling.

Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Challah (makes 1 large, beautiful loaf, which you can slice as you like, but we decided on 12 generous slices)

Nutritional info per slice (based on 12 total):


  • 200 g (about 3/4 c) pumpkin puree (made from fresh pumpkin)
  • 40 g (3 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 egg yolks + 1 whole egg
  • 500 g (4 c) organic all-purpose flour
  • 10 g (0.3 oz) active dry yeast
  • 5 g (1 tsp) sucanat
  • 8 g (1 tbsp) speculaas kruiden (or use pumpkin pie spices)
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1-2 tbsp water
    Cinnamon Roll Filling
  • 20 g (about 1 tbsp) super light margarine
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 15 g (1 tbsp) sucanat
    Egg wash
  • 1 egg yolk whisked with 1 tbsp water


  1. Mix the dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the wet and with a dough hook attachment mix on the lowest speed until incorporated. Keep running at low speed for about 5 minutes, adding 1-2 tbsp water as needed to get a smooth dough that let's go of the sides of the bowl.
  2. Transfer the dough to an olive-oil coated bowl, cover with plastic wrap/bag, and set aside for 1 hour, or until almost doubled in size.
  3. After your dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured counter and divide it in half. Roll the first half of the dough into a wide rectangle. Spread half of the margarine evenly over the dough, stopping short of the edge, and sprinkle half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture on top. Roll the dough into a long, tight log, trapping the filling within. Then gently stretch the log as wide as feels comfortable and divide it in half. Repeat with remaining dough and cinnamon roll filling.
  4. Weave the dough as shown in the photos, or check out the written instructions on Smitten Kitchen.
  5. Let the challah rise for another hour (it will grow quite a bit!). Brush with egg wash and bake in the oven until browned and it sounds hollow when tapped on (about 45 minutes).

Slice&serve! Fluffy orange clouds of perfection laced with sugar & spice:

It tastes beautiful with some homemade agave roasted cinnamon raisin swirl peanut butter...


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