Thanksgiving is coming in just a couple days! Josh’s family always gathers together for turkey day, and there’s tons of folks about. This year, the turnout was thought to be around 45 hungry people, so I offered to make a couple of things to help spread the cooking around a bit. I wanted to make a Thanksgiving-y type of roll so I figured I’d slap these together.
Please note: the cheat sheet recipe is for about 18 rolls, whereas when I made this, I made quite a bit more because of the number of people I was providing for. Just bear in mind when you look at the photos that if you follow the recipe you’ll come out with less than is actually pictured here.
I can already hear you out there: “If they’re made with sweet potatoes, why aren’t they orange?!” Calm your outrage. If you think sweet potatoes are supposed to be orange you have been fed yams your entire life and lied to about it. Yams are orange. Sweet potatoes are not. Make peace with that right now, call your mom crying about the lies, and realize that there are things you learn as an adult. Moving on.
The first thing you have to do is peel and chop your sweet potato(es) into chunks and dump them in a pot of boiling water. I love leaving the skins on my regular potatoes, so this is always a little difficult for me, but the peels must come off.
Once they are soft, drain and mash the heck out of them. Set them aside to cool for a bit.
Place your water in a bowl. If you aren’t accustomed to working with yeast, grab a thermometer. If your water is too cold, it won’t activate the yeast, and if it’s too hot you’ll kill it. It should be between 105 and 115 degrees. Add in your yeast and stir it up a bit before letting it groove on its own. The two ingredients will react and begin to foam and bubble.
Add 1/2 cup of the flour and stir it up to form a sloppy paste. Set it somewhere warm for about an hour or so. The batter will rise and then fall intoitself. Pour it in your mixer bowl and add eggs, your mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, and your flour (gradually) and mix it up with your dough hook.
Knead the dough mixture until the dough is smooth and elastic and begins to leave the sides of the bowl. Add your softened butter and knead until all ingredients are happily incorporated and the dough is still smooth and stretchy.
Put your dough in a bowl and cover it with a clean towel and allow it to rise in a warm place until it is doubled in size, about an hour.
Line your baking pans with parchment paper. Transfer your dough to a well-floured work surface. Turn your dough around a bunch to fully coat it with the flour. Cut it into equal pieces, and make sure that each piece is covered with flour. Believe me, this stuff is worse to fiddle with than melted cheese, and the flour makes your life way easier. Shape your pieces into balls and place them on your baking sheets about with room to grow. Cover with a towel and allow to rise for about 30 minutes, or until they are doubled in size.
Go ahead and warm up your oven. You want it at about 375 degrees. I decided to make my rolls pumpkin-shaped for the holiday, but you can sure bake them up this way if you like. If you want to make pumpkin-shaped rolls (and why wouldn’t you?), cut 8 slits around the edges of each dough ball.
Combine the egg and water and whisk them together until they are frothy and combined. Brush the tops of your buns with this egg wash. Make an indent on the top of each roll with your finger and stick a cashew in the middle for the pumpkin stem.
Bake them until they are golden brown (deeper brown on top, golden brown on the bottom), about 25 minutes or so. Check the stems halfway through the bake time to make sure they haven’t shifted with the rising dough. If they have moved, just stick them back in place.
Cool on a wire rack. You can serve these warm or at room temperature, but you should probably eat at least one right away. I mean, can you beat homemade bread fresh from the oven?
Happy Trails (and Happy Thanksgiving!),
Here’s your printable cheat sheet!