Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls With Maple Cream Cheese Icing - Oh, yes, I did!

What's not to love about freshly baked Cinnamon Rolls? When my son was little, we used to cruise the shopping mall. He'd excitedly beg ask me to buy him a Cinnabon.   How could I resist those baby blues?

 How can you resist that frosting?!

Thanksgiving has to be one of the busiest times to be poking around on Pinterest.   A Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Menu is something my family looks forward to me cooking eating.  Its no secret that I love pumpkin, and could eat it year-round. My husband? Not so much.  Except for pumpkin pie. For that, he's all game.  The problem is, I've bookmarked several bloggers who have made Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls-- and I held back, due to said husband's lackluster feelings about pumpkin. 

A few days ago, an idea hit me--

We all love sweet potatoes-- yams, to be specific.  Yams have a beautiful color to them, similar to pumpkin.  Potato bread is really moist-- so why not make Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls? Of course, once I searched for recipes, I realized this wasn't just my idea.  I borrowed a recipe from "Eat, Live, Run" (I recently won Jenna Weber's book "White Jacket Required".)   I made a few tweaks, and these turned out to be better than I expected.

So, you are yeast dough challenged?  The last time you tried to bake bread, it turned out like a brick? Worse, it turned out like a flat pancake?  I've been there, and it's disappointing. Fear not.  I'll share a few times from an unprofessional baker (that would be moi).  I promise you, these will turn out. Trust me.

So, one baked yam equals about 1/2 cup.  I, upped the amount to 3/4 of a cup = 2 yams, plus extra. I ate the rest of it for lunch. Delicious.   I used pumpkin pie spice (from Trader Joe's) because it has a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cardamon.  Otherwise, you can make your own blend (included in the printable recipe card at the end of this post).

Let's talk about yeast.  I keep SAF Instant yeast in my freezer, and I like it.  However, when I want to speed things up,  I find that Rapid-Rise Yeast is my trusty friend.  I buy mine in a jar, make sure it's not expired and-- once opened-- I keep it in the fridge. Here's the thing about yeast, that I've finally figured out. Yeast likes to be warm and fed.  Yeast doesn't like to be too hot, or it won't work.  I like my house to be at 68F, but yeast likes it at about 110F.  It's warm and cozy. I use an instant read thermometer, so I don't have to guess. How do I know the yeast is working?  I like to add either sugar or honey to the liquid (usually milk or water), then pour the yeast in, give it a stir and wait.  Chemistry (which I failed in high school) starts to work. Within 3 minutes, it starts to bubble and foam.  This means the yeast is happy.  You can relax and know that your dough will rise.  Okay?  Kapish?  

My Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer is my bread baking sous chef.  I used to have a bread maker-- two of them, and they both broke within two years. Each.  My Stand Mixer has been faithful to me for 15 years.   In a separate bowl, I mix unbleached all-purpose flour, sugar, pumpkin spice, and extra cinnamon.  

In the bowl of the stand mixer, I begin blending the baked yam and room temperature eggs.  Then, I begin to slowly add the flour mixture.
TIP: Forget to bring the eggs to room temperature? Fill a bowl with hot tap water and let them sit for a minute or two. 

I've heated whole milk, one teaspoon of honey and 4-1/2 teaspoons of Rapid Rise Yeast to 110F, and I begin to add it to the mixture in the bowl.

I used the paddle attachment to let the machine knead the dough, for about five minutes. It's a bit sticky, but it had elasticity. Good.

This is a great tip:  While the dough is kneading, turn your oven on to WARM for 3 minutes. Turn it off.  

Be sure to flour your hands, as the dough is a bit sticky, okay?  Otherwise, you will be like me, scraping and cleaning off stuck dough from my camera. Not fun.  Dump the dough into a buttered bowl, and cover it with plastic wrap.  Place the bowl into the warm and cozy oven you've created.  The yeast is going to be very happy.  It will be so happy, that one hour later, the dough has doubled quite well! See?

Let's make cinnamon rolls.  Now, you can make your own filling (included in the recipe card.).  Let me say that I am not paid to endorse King Arthur Flour.   I love their baking products, and their Baker's Cinnamon Filling is one of my favorite products.   It has Vietnamese Cinnamon, Extra Fine Sugar and Dry Shortening. When you mix it with water, it turns into a beautiful and thick cinnamon filling. 

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface.  By the way, I don't "punch" my dough down-- it sounds violent!  I press the dough down and roll it into a rectangle.  Spread some very soft butter onto the rectangle, leaving about a 1" border.  Now, add your filling, leaving a border.  Roll the dough, with the short side facing you.

Slice the rolls about 1" thick.  Here's another tip that I love-- cut a long string of (unused, of course) unscented dental floss.  It cuts right through the dough, without smooshing each piece!

I'll give King Arthur one more free plug, because I love this 10" ceramic baking pan. After spraying the pan with baker's non-stick spray, I fit in nine rolls. (The remaining three went into a small baking dish for the next day.)

While I was shaping the rolls, I repeated my WARM oven trick.  After 35 minutes, I removed the rolls and set them on top of my oven (where it's nice and warm) and  45 minutes later, the rolls had doubled!   Preheat the oven to 350F and bake these between 22-25 minutes.  

MAKE AHEAD: At this point, you can cover the rolls with plastic wrap and refrigerate them the night before.  The next morning, use my WARM OVEN trick, and let them come to room temperature and rise.  Then proceed to bake them.  

Let's make the glaze:

4 oz. of cream cheese and 4 Tablespoons of salted butter, very soft... add up to 2 cups of powdered sugar,  in 1/2 cup increments.

Whisk until it's thick and creamy.  Yams and Maple Syrup = delicious. So, why not add some maple syrup to the glaze? Yeah?  If not, then add some vanilla.  

So, here they are --"Naked Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls".   Go ahead. Dig in. What're you waiting for?  You want icing with that? Me, too.

This reminds me of my childhood years-- my mother would buy those cinnamon rolls in the tube.  It would come with that plastic bag of frosting.  Oh, how I loved squeezing the frosting on those hot rolls!  Well, here ya go-- pour that frosting on each, hot-out-of-the-oven roll.... that glaze melt.

 Pull down the shades, so nobody can see that you are about to be involved in food porn.

What is it about Cinnamon Rolls that is so darn seductive?  Look how these rolls love the camera?!

They are such a beautiful Fall color, aren't they?

TASTING NOTES:   Oh, wow.  I'm really in deep trouble right now. I have so set the bar high for cinnamon rolls.  These are really tender-- and moist.  My son was, eagerly, standing by with a cup of coffee in his hand.  We both began to eat one of these...and then... well, we had to go back for seconds. Yes, I confess my son. We each ate two.  

My son, who has become a very honest taste tester said these are "awesome".  Can I taste the sweet potatoes? Well, not really.  I think the sweet potatoes add a gorgeous color and they do, indeed, add moisture and tenderness.  I have to say, that I love my "go-to" cinnamon rolls, but these...well, I think they just moved to the top of "favorites".

Go forth and splurge.  Still afraid to work with yeast?  C'mon.  You can do it?! I've made some dismal failures, in the past.  Listen to me-- fresh yeast, keep it warm and cozy and feed it with something sweet-- tuck it into a warm and cozy place, and it will do it's job.

Your family will love your for it.  Just don't tell your Weight Watchers sponsor. I won't!

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Danielle Imstuffed said...

beautiful and delicious. Love the floss tip!!

Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust said...

These are absolutely gorgeous!

Velva said...

Holy cow Debby,...I would swoon over these sweet potato cinnamon rolls. This is a beautiful addition to the holiday morning or brunch meal.


Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Kathleen said...

Oh girl these look crazy delish!!!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

...and I am very glad that you did!

I much prefer sweet potatoes to pumpkin. Good call!

Anne @ Webicurean said...

These look incredible! I have two breadmakers too, but I definitely let my KitchenAid do all the heavy lifting when it comes to kneading dough (especially when making raviolis)!

Christine said...

These sound so wonderful! Love the dental floss idea for cutting them!

Joanne said...

I actually totally stopped being scared of yeast after I learned to add a bit of sugar and see if it foams or not before forging ahead. These cinnamon rolls look amazing! And since they have a vegetable in them, they're obviously health food right?

Monica H said...

Those look so darn good! I've made them with pumpkin and I've made sweet potato rolls, but never thought of this. yum!

Roz P. said...

Debby, you are doing an excellent job of tempting me to totally blow my weight-loss efforts! But I can always tell myself that since there are sweet potatoes included it is healthier for us! I will probably not stop by before Thanksgiving, so I'd like to extend a wish for a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours, Debby!

Big hugs,

Gloria said...

absolutely amazing!

Mrs. Jeffries said...

I made these for a big family breakfast over the holiday weekend... the recipe was easy to follow. The dough did what it was supposed to. It was a dream to work with. They were beautiful! Even before baking they looked divine. But they TASTED EVEN BETTER! I am very thankful that I found your blog. You helped me provide a beautiful breakfast gift for my family.

Debby Foodiewife said...

Mrs. Jeffries,
I wish you had an email, so I hope that you check back. Thank you for telling me that these were a success! Thanks for your kind words.

Alisa said...

The recipe cards on your site seem to have vanished! We can't see any of them and have tried a couple of browsers. I really want to see the cinnamon roll recipe! If you could fix it or email me that would be great. Thank you!

Pinoy Kitchenette said...

That is so deliciously beautiful... im not that good in baking but you've just inspired me to try it now!
New fan and follower here..

Debby Foodiewife said...

Alisa, the recipe cards are there. I use Mozilla, but can also see them with Explorer and Google Chrome. If you send an email to me I will send you the link.