makes 18 rolls
To make sponge: dissolve yeast in water in large heavy-duty mixer bowl. Add 1/4 C flour and 1 Tbs sugar and mix in. Cover with plastic and let rise in warm place 45 mins, until very foamy.
When sponge is ready: bring milk and butter just to a simmer in pan on stove-remove from heat and stir to melt butter. Cool 10 mins. Whisk in pumpkin, syrup, eggs, salt, nutmeg, and remaining 1/4 C plus 1 Tbs sugar.
Whisk pumpkin mixture into sponge.
Using mixer with dough hook, mix in enough remaining flour, 1 C at a time, to form dough. Mix until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticky, about 5 mins.
Cover bowl with plastic and a clean kitchen towel; let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour 30 mins.
Grease 2 heavy baking sheets. Punch down dough. Transfer to floured surface and Knead until smooth.
Divide dough into 18 equal pieces. Shape each piece into your favorite roll shape (mine is bowknot!) and arrange on prepared sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 mins.
Preheat oven to 425 deg F. Bake rolls until golden brown, about 15 mins. Transfer to racks and cool slightly.
Be careful when baking-because of the syrup and sugar they will burn easily if left too long in the oven.
These are a really pretty golden-orange color inside!