One day I went to my parents' home and they were baking something in the oven. I smelled some smokiness coming out of it and decided to wait until it was done. It turned out to be just several sweet potatoes that they were baking. "Here, have a piece, " offered my dad. I was not very hungry by then but the smell of just baked sweet potato roused my appetite. I peeled off the skin and sinked my teeth into its soft and hot flesh. That was when I realized I was hooked. This leads me to eating baked sweet potato for snack from now on.
Ever since my dad shared his baked sweet potato, I'm reintroducing myself to the appreciation of eating plain, baked in-skin sweet potato. Hot from the oven, nothing equals to its natural sweetness; this is one root vegetable that has now become my favorite. And not to mention it is a very healthy vegetable, dubbed as number one nutritional star of vegetable, loaded carotenoids, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
But, even though I love it plain, I love it even more in cinnamon rolls. Since I bake it quite often, I have some leftover that was ready to be made in cinnamon rolls. My son have been begging me to make cinnamon rolls for ages, it was finally a dream came true. Now, which recipe would I try? I had been eyeing Yukon Gold cinnamon rolls from Bon Appetit a while back and thought that would be a great base recipe to make it to sweet potato cinnamon rolls. I had to tweak the recipe since I wouldn't start with boiling the potatoes in the water. What I had was approximately the same amount of baked sweet potato for the recipe and went to the next step. The rest of the instruction will be in the recipe below.
What I got from it was one of the best cinnamon rolls ever. The texture of the dough was soft and melt-in-your mouth without overly sweet. What I also like when making this was that I could let the dough rise for the second time in the refrigerator till the next day. Come morning, it's time to pop the rolls in the oven. Breakfast is ready when the rolls come out of the oven, hot and smelling amazing, and slathered with sweet icing.
So choose your sweet potato, plain or iced? ;)
Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls
About 1 pound sweet potatoes
For the dough:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs
4 1/2 cups (or more) bread flour
1/2 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
3 1/4-ounce envelopes active dry yeast (scant 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons sugar
For the filling:
1 1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature
For the glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons (or more) whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Preheat oven to 400F. Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes and place in on the middle rack. Bake for about 1 hour or so, or until the they are soft when pierced with a knife. After it's done baking, let cool for a while until they can be peeled. Cut into 2-inch cubes and add butter and mash until butter is melted. Whisk in eggs, then 1 cup flour; mash until very smooth. Let sweet potatoes stand until barely lukewarm.
Make the dough:
Pour 1/2 cup warm water into large bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment; stir in yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add sweet potato mixture into the yeast mixture; mix on low speed until well blended, 2 minutes. Mix in 3 cups bread flour, 1 cup at a time, beating well. Since the sweet potatoes are not cooked in water, you might want to add some water if the dough looks too dry. My experience when making this was that sweet potatoes are much moister and didn't need any more water. Beat until sticky dough forms.
Spread 1/2 cup flour on work surface. Scrape dough out onto floured work surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls if dough is very sticky, about 8 minutes.
Coat large bowl with butter. Transfer dough to bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm, draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Make the filling:
Mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour in medium bowl. Using fork, mix in butter.
Bake the rolls:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 425°F (do not preheat oven if you plan to rise it in the refrigerator). Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Turn dough out onto well-floured work surface. Roll out dough to 24x16-inch rectangle. Sprinkle filling evenly over dough. Starting at 1 long side, roll up dough jelly-roll style, enclosing filling. Using large knife dipped in flour, cut roll crosswise into 12 pieces. Transfer rolls to baking sheet, spacing rolls about 3/4 inch apart. Cover baking sheet loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, about 20 minutes (rolls will be very puffy). Or you could let it rise in the refrigerator overnight.
Bake cinnamon rolls until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool rolls 10 minutes on baking sheet. If the rolls are refrigerated, get it out 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 425°F, and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.
Make the glaze:
Whisk powdered sugar, melted butter, 2 tablespoons milk, vanilla, and coarse salt in small bowl. If glaze is too thick to spread, add more milk by 1/2 teaspoonfuls as needed. Spread glaze over warm rolls.
Source: adapted from Bon Appetit, March 2009.