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Ultimate Sweetpotato and Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls


Ultimate Sweetpotato and Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

Reprinted from “Sweet Potatoes: Roasted, Loaded, Fried, and Made into Pie,” by Mary-Frances Heck (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2017)

Make a batch of Sweet Potato Milk Bread Dough (see below) on the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving or any big celebratory weekend. Shape half of the dough into the Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls for a dinner centerpiece, and use the other half to prep these cinnamon rolls to serve for breakfast the next morning. No hangover can resist the power of cream cheese frosting, I promise.

Ultimate Sweetpotato and Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls - for web site.jpg

Ultimate Sweetpotato and Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 9 rolls

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) very soft unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1/2 recipe Sweet Potato Milk Bread Dough (recipe follows), room temperature
Neutral oil or butter, for the work surface
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

For the icing

6 tablespoons cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Butter a 9-inch square cake pan. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Put the dough on a lightly oiled work surface and pat it into a rectangle with a long side near you. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle that is about 18 × 12 inches and 1/4 inch thick; it is more important that the dough be 1/4 inch thick than an exact-size rectangle.

  3. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the soft butter in a thin, even layer over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle the brown sugar– cinnamon mixture over the butter.

  4. Beginning with the long side nearest you, lift up the edge of the dough and roll it away from you into a tight coil. Pinch the edge to seal, and then place the roll on the prepared baking sheet. Pop it into the freezer for 10 minutes.

  5. Using a long serrated knife, cut the chilled log of dough into 2-inch-thick rounds. Arrange the rounds, cut-side up, in the prepared cake pan, snuggling them together as needed. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap. Proof the dough at room temperature until puffy, 45 minutes to 1 hour. (Alternatively, let it proof slowly in the refrigerator overnight. Let the dough come to room temperature before baking.)

  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  7. Make the icing: In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, and beat again until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Icing can be kept at room temperature for up to 1 hour; cover and chill for up to 3 days.

  8. Bake the rolls until golden and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately spread the rolls with the icing. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before eating. Serve warm or at room temperature.

  9. Note: Make extra and freeze them: Shape the cinnamon rolls and arrange them 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until frozen solid, then transfer to a gallon-size plastic zip-top bag. The day before baking, arrange them in a buttered 9-inch square cake pan, cover with plastic wrap, and defrost in the fridge. Let stand at room temperature until puffy, about 2 hours, before baking as instructed.

Sweetpotato Milk Bread Dough

This versatile dough is endlessly adaptable. Use it in the many variations in the following pages.

Makes 3 1/2 pounds dough, enough for two loaves, 32 rolls, or 24 hot dog buns

1 cup whole milk, warmed, plus more for brushing
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1/4-ounce envelope)
1 1/2 cups sweetpotato puree (from 1 pound orange-fleshed sweet potatoes)
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the bowl and the pans
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 cups (27 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, gently stir together the 1 cup warm milk, 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and the yeast. Let stand until the mixture becomes foamy, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add the sweet potato puree, the remaining 4 tablespoons sugar, the eggs, butter, and salt to the yeast mixture. Fit the machine with the hook attachment and mix the ingredients on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. With the machine running, add the flour, 1 cup at a time. When all of the flour has been added, increase the speed to medium and knead the dough until it is silky smooth, about 10 minutes. The dough should be smooth, soft, and a little sticky. (Alternatively, to make the dough by hand, whisk the sweet potato, the remaining 4 tablespoons sugar, the eggs, butter, and salt into the yeast mixture until smooth. Place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the sweet potato mixture into the well and begin incorporating the flour with a wooden spoon. Continue stirring until the dough is too stiff to mix with the spoon. Lightly butter your hands and knead the dough in the bowl until it is smooth, about 10 minutes.)

  3. Brush a large, clean bowl with some melted butter. Shape the dough into a ball and set it in the bowl, seam-side down. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm spot until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Punch the dough down and use immediately or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Note: You’ll notice that the flour amounts are given in both volume and weight. Measuring either way is fine, but I find that, when baking, knowing the weight of flour is helpful, since it is a more accurate measurement.

Copyright © 2017 by Mary-Frances Heck. Photograph by Kristin Teig. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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Spicy Sweetpotatoes and Peas


Spicy Sweetpotatoes and Peas

Enjoy this sweet and only mildly spicy side dish, from Wish Upon A Dish, with grilled foods in the summer, braised meats in the fall and winter, and Easter ham or roast chicken in the spring. If by some miracle you have leftovers, toss ‘em in a salad.

Spicy Sweetpotatoes and Peas

Spicy Sweetpotatoes and Peas

Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon honey
1 chipotle pepper (from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce), minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cider vinegar, divided
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 1/4 pounds orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 4 cups)
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas


  1. In a small bowl, combine the honey, chipotle, cardamom, cinnamon, and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar. Set aside.

  2. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, warm the oil. Add the sweetpotatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, for 5 minutes.

  3. Add the onion, peas (if using fresh), water, butter, salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes.

  4. Add the honey mixture and peas (if using frozen) and cook, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are tender and heated through. Serve hot.

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No Bake California Sweetpotato & Apple Bites


No Bake California Sweetpotato & Apple Bites


1 cup raw pecans or almonds

1 cup raw walnuts

½ cup medjool dates, pits removed

1.2 cup California sweetpotato, cooked and mashed

1/3 cup dried apple slices

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground ginger


1.      Place the nuts and spices in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely chopped.

2.      Roughly chop dates and apple slices and then add to the nut mixture and continue to pulse until the mixture starts to come together.

3.      Add the mashed sweetpotato mix until a dough forms.

4.      Roll the mixture into balls and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or until they become firm. Store in the refrigerator. 

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Looking for a sweet summer snack that can double as dessert and won’t overheat the kitchen? Try these No Bake California Sweetpotato & Apple Bites courtesy of The Zest and Zeal.  These sweet bites are so easy to make and are even sweeter to eat!