One of the most delicious recipes I’ve concocted yet. We had a leftover sweet potato from Thanksgiving, and I was planning on making cinnamon rolls anyway, so… I put 2 and 2 together and came up with way more than 4. They’re like cinnamon rolls, to the Nth (SALT FREE!) degree!
Yields 16 rolls.
SODIUM CONTENT: 25.2 mg per roll
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 3 c.)
2 1/2 c. water (for boiling – you will reserve 1 c. of this cooking liquid to be added to the dough)
4 1/2 t. dry active yeast
1 c. warm milk
3/4 c. honey
4 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 t. ground cinnamon
6-7 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 T. ground cinnamon
1/8 t. ground cloves
1/8 t. ground nutmeg
1 1/4 c. powdered sugar, sifted
2 T. milk
1 t. pure vanilla extract
Place the diced sweet potato into a saucepan, add the 2 1/2 c. water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer 25 minutes, until fork tender. Remove the pot from the heat, carefully drain the cooking liquid into a measuring glass or bowl (it should be about a cup), and set aside. Mash the sweet potato, then set that aside to cool as well.
Once the sweet potato and liquid have cooled, you can make the dough. Measure the yeast into a large mixing bowl. Add the warm milk, reserved cooking liquid and honey and stir well to combine. Add the egg, melted butter and cinnamon to the mashed sweet potato and stir to combine. Add this sweet potato mixture to the yeast liquid, along with 5 cups of flour, and stir well to combine. Gradually add in more flour, a half cup at a time, stirring until dough begins to form. Once the dough is pretty solid, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and gather together. Begin to knead, adding a little flour as necessary. Knead 7-8 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Grease a large mixing bowl and place dough inside, flipping once to coat. Cover well (I like to use plastic wrap with a rubber band at the top to keep it secure) and place in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
When dough is close to doubled, prepare the filling. Measure the brown sugar, melted butter and spices into a mixing bowl and stir well to combine. The filling should be thick and sugary. Set aside. Grease the bottoms and sides of two baking pans – a 9×13-inch casserole and an 8×8-inch casserole – and set aside.
Once the dough has risen, remove cover and punch down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle, about 1 to 1 1/2-inches in thickness. Spread the filling across the surface of the dough, then roll dough tightly away from you – starting from the long end – so that you are left with a long cylinder. Gently pinch the long seam shut. Using a serrated knife, very carefully cut the long cylinder into 16 equal-width sections, each about 1-2 inches wide. If the knife seems to be sticking or pressing down and squeezing the dough, very carefully flour it and you should see better results – you don’t want to pinch or flatten the rolls, but have them come out round. Carefully place each of the circular sections (buns) cut face down in the pans (there will be twelve buns in the 9×13-inch pan and four in the 8×8-inch pan). Set aside to rise 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
After the time has elapsed, place the pans on the middle rack in the oven and bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool briefly. Carefully run a knife around the edge of both pans, and down sides of individual buns to serve. Serve warm. Cover any leftovers with aluminum foil. Leftover buns taste great cool – or even better if reheated briefly in microwave, about 20-25 seconds each.