Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls

The same weekend I showed up at home with Blood Orange Citrus Bars to surprise my Mom for her birthday, I made these sticky buns for a celebratory breakfast. I wanted to make my favorite Maple-Pecan Sticky Buns, but didn’t plan well enough ahead of time, so I opted for these instead and they were delicious! I’ve never made any type of yeasted dough before that incorporates mashed sweet potato (or any type of squash really), but it helped to keep the buns sweet and moist, and was a wonderfully tasty change.

One of the main reasons I opted for this recipe was because it called for mashed sweet potato as well as whole wheat flour. While I know these cinnamon rolls aren’t actually GOOD for you, but I’ll take a “healthified” recipe that’s still delicious anytime. This recipe definitely fell into that category, and produced a much heartier cinnamon roll, which I really liked that about them. It was filling but not heavy, and had a lot of fun flavors going on.

I think the addition of potato helps the rolls handle all of that whole wheat flour, yet you sacrifice none of the flavor. Sometimes I’m careful not to mess around with too much wheat flour because it changes the composition of baked goods so much, but not this time. I actually used white whole wheat flour for the whole recipe, and I’d do it that way again. There are a lot of bold flavors going on here, so the whole wheat doesn’t haver much prominence, except to lend an ever-so-slightly nutty component.

I also added a large pinch of lemon zest to the glaze, which lent a zesty brightness that I loved. The buns are thick and dense, so the frosting really helps to liven them up.  The sweet and cinnamony filling is also a wonderful burst of flavor in between layers of nutty sweet potato dough. These were really, really good!

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls

adapted from Multiply Delicious

2 (1/4-oz.) envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
1 teaspoon sugar
5 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (can sub in some all purpose flour if you prefer)
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup melted butter
2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Milk (2 to 3 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest, optional

1) Lightly stir first 3 ingredients in bowl of stand mixer, fitted with dough hook, just to combine. Let stand 5 minutes.

2) Add 1/2 cup flour to stand mixer bowl, and run on low speed for 2 minutes.  Add mashed sweet potatoes, next 8 ingredients, and 4 cups flour, and process 30 seconds or until dough forms, coming together to hold a shape.  Dough will be very sticky.

3) Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray.  Cover with plastic wrap and either place in refrigerator overnight to rise or let stand in a warm, draft-free place, for 1 hour to hour and 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

4) Right before taking dough out of refrigerator or before it has risen in a warm place, mix all of the ingredients for the filling together until well combined.

5) Gently punch down dough.  Turn dough out onto a well floured surface; roll into an 18- x 10-inch rectangle.  Spread filling evenly across the dough rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border.  Roll up dough, jelly-roll style, starting at 1 long side.  Cut into 12 (1 1/2-inch thick) slices; arrange in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch pan.  Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place, for 30 minutes.

6) Bake rolls at 400 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes or until lightly browned and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

7) Allow rolls to cool slightly.  While rolls are cooling make icing.  In a bowl, combine confectioners sugar and the vanilla extract, and the lemon zest if using. Gradually add the milk a teaspoon at a time until icing is to a pouring consistency. Drizzle over buns and serve!

3 Responses to “Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls”

  1. They look like the totally unhealthy but delicious version to me, which is a good thing!  

  2. Sacha says:

    I’ve been looking forward to this post ever since you shared that photo a couple weeks ago. These look like the ultimate weekend treat, and the whole wheat flour is just an added bonus!

  3. I’m not actually the biggest fan of cinnamon rolls but I do love sweet potato so this is something I will not say no to! Looks great!

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