This recipe is a little time consuming, but well worth it. The dough can be prepared the night before and then the glaze can be thrown together the next morning while the rolls are rising or in the oven.
The original recipe from Smitten Kitchen calls for pumpkin, however, due to a lack of canned pumpkin on this little island I substituted it with sweet potato puree that I made (very easily) myself. I chopped two sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and baked them in the oven at 400 degrees until they were very soft and the skin was easy to pry off with a fork. I removed the skin and hand mashed the sweet potato in a medium sized bowl until it was nice and smooth. Voila, sweet potato puree! You can use the excess puree in oatmeal, sprinkled with brown sugar, raisins, and nutmeg.
I also used instant yeast instead of active dry yeast. This meant I could skip combining the warm milk and yeast, and just add the yeast straight into the dry ingredients and add the room temp. milk into the wet ingredients.
I omitted the optional cardamom, because, well, I have always loathed cardamom. I added vanilla bean to the glaze (in addition to the vanilla drops) because I adore the punch of flavor it gives as well ad how elegant the little flecks of vanilla bean look.
I highly recommend browning the butter. The amazing flavor is well worth the extra couple of minutes! Oh, and I also used salted butter….the rolls still turned out a-m-a-z-i-n-g.
Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
6 tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup whole milk
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
3 1/12 cups flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp (heaped) cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2/3 cup sweet potato puree
1 large egg vegetable oil for coating bowl
1) Melt the butter. Extra deliciousness ensues if you brown it!
2) In the bowl of a mixer, combine flour, yeast, sugars, salt, and spices. Add 1/4 a cup of the butter and combine.
3) Add the milk, sweet potato puree, and egg.
4) Put mixture into a large, oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for about 1 1/2 hours, or until dough has doubled in size.
5) While dough is rising, line the bottom of 1 or 2 pie pans (depending on how many rolls you want) with baking paper and oil paper plus side of pan(s).
6) Flour a clean surface (large enough for rolling out a 16×11 inch rectangle, and roll out dough into said rectangle.
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp table salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2) Roll the dough into a spiral, making sure it´s nice and tight. Very, very gently saw the dough with a serrated knife into 1 inch sections.
3) Gently assemble the rolls in the pie pan(s). I filled one pan, and the stuck the rest of the sweet potato “log” in a ziplock bag and put it into the freezer. Cover the pie pan(s) with a plastic bag and let dough rise for 45 minutes.
At this point it was past midnight and I left the kitchen looking like a tornado had passed through it, and headed off to bed. I got up early before my daughter the next morning and l popped the dough out of the fridge and let it finish rising while I made the glaze and preheated the oven.
4 ounces of cream cheese
2 tbs milk
2 cups powdered sugar
a few drops of vanilla extract
the seeds from 1 vanilla bean (optional)
1) If you have popped the dough in the fridge overnight, take it out and let it rise for an hour more.
2) In a mixer or by hand, soften the cream cheese.
3) Mix in powdered sugar until mixture resembles a paste. Mix in milk, vanilla drops, and vanilla bean seeds.
4) About 15 minutes before your ready to pop the suckers in the over, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
5) Baker for about 25 minutes. Enjoy!