Ultimate Sweetpotato and Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

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Ultimate Sweetpotato and Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls

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.

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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. www.

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Jamaican Pork and Sweetpotato Stew

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Jamaican Pork and Sweetpotato Stew

From "Easy Soups from Scratch with Quick Breads to Match" by Ivy Manning (Chronicle Books, 2017) The comforting cookbook pairs homemade soups with freshly baked bread in under an hour. Here, Ivy shares a recipe from the book, and the inspiration behind it.

I’ve sampled the dishes from street-food stands all over Jamaica, and my hands down favorite dish is their thick, spicy “brown stew.” The hearty stew is full of whatever local vegetables are around and includes some sort of meat—chicken or goat being the most common. I opt for spice-coated pork tenderloin here. The fruity heat of habanero chile is pronounced, so if your family isn’t fond of spicy food, omit the chile and serve habanero hot sauce on the side.

 

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Jamaican Pork and Sweetpotato Stew

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped habanero chile, or more to taste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 pounds yellow- or orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Soy sauce, for seasoning

Instructions:

  1. Adjust the oven rack so it is 6 inches below the heating element and preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and carrot and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, thyme, and habanero and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables. Add the chicken broth, sweetpotatoes, and Worcestershire. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sweetpotatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. While the soup is simmering, place the pork on the prepared baking sheet and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle the meat with the flour, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, pepper, and salt and toss to coat. Arrange the meat in a single layer and broil, without stirring, until the meat is browned on one side, 4 to 5 minutes (the pork will finish cooking in the soup).
  4. Transfer the pork and drippings from the baking sheet to the pot. Simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded and the soup has thickened a bit, about 10 minutes more. If you’d like the soup to be still thicker, use a potato masher to mash some of the sweetpotatoes. Season the soup with the lime juice and soy sauce.
  5. Ladle the stew into bowls and serve immediately.

Note: This recipe doubles easily, tastes better the next day, and freezes well. Go easy on the habanero; just 1/2 of the finely chopped chile will be plenty, as the stew will become spicier the next day. Store in airtight containers or zip-top plastic freezer bags in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or the freezer for up to 3 months.

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Sweetpotato Toast Bites with Figs, Blue Cheese, Flaked Salt, and Honey

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Sweetpotato Toast Bites with Figs, Blue Cheese, Flaked Salt, and Honey

As you might imagine, we love sweetpotato toasts. But we also love taking that idea and turning it into bite-sized snacks and apps! Just like full-sized toasts, sweetpotato toast bites can be topped with pretty much anything you like—try a dollop of dip and a sprinkle of nuts, a slice of ham and a chunk of cheese, or a spoon of peanut butter and your favorite fruit.

This particular version, dressed up with dried figs, blue cheese, and a sprinkle of flaked salt, is easy yet impressive. Serve it for company, holidays, or any time you’re in the mood for something special.

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Sweetpotato Toast Bites with Figs, Blue Cheese, Flaked Salt, and Honey

Makes 12

Ingredients:
12 crosswise slices sweetpotato (about 1/4-inch thick) (see note)
2 ounces good-quality blue cheese (about 1/4 cup packed)
3 Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, stemmed and quartered
12 small rosemary sprigs
About 1 teaspoon flaked sea salt
About 1/2 teaspoon pepper
About 1 tablespoon honey

Instructions:

  1. Cook the sweetpotato slices in your toaster oven as you would small slices of bread, using the most well-done setting, until tender (you might have to do this in batches, and each batch might have to cook two times). Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. Top each sweetpotato slice with 1 teaspoon of blue cheese, 1 fig quarter, and a rosemary sprig, arranging them on plates or a platter. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper, then drizzle with the honey and serve.
  3. Note: If you don’t have a toaster oven, use 3 or 4 lengthwise slices of sweetpotato and cook them in your toaster using the most well-done setting (you might have to do this two times). Then cut each toasted slice into 3 or 4 pieces to make 12 smaller toasts.

Recipe developed in partnership with Valley Fig Growers

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Turkey, Sweetpotato, and Fig Curry

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Turkey, Sweetpotato, and Fig Curry

Here’s a great way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey, but don’t let that keep you from enjoying this curry any time of year with turkey, chicken, pork, or beef, or make it vegetarian additional vegetables. In any incarnation, it's quick, comforting, flavorful, and—thanks to California figs and California sweetpotatoes—a little bit sweet.

Turkey, Sweetpotato, and Fig Curry - any usage must include -photo by Annelies Zijderveld- - for web use.JPG

Turkey, Sweetpotato, and Fig Curry

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon coconut oil or other high-heat cooking oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons curry powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups cooked shredded turkey
1 pound orange- or yellow-fleshed sweetpotatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 cups halved Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, (about 5 ounces)
One 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1 cup water
Cooked rice, for serving
Chopped scallions, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, boil or steam the sweetpotatoes until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and pepper and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the curry powder and salt and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the turkey, figs, coconut milk, and water, scraping up any browned bits in the skillet. Stir in the sweetpotatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the ingredients are heated through, about 5 minutes.
  3. Serve the curry over rice, garnished with scallions

Recipe and photo by Annelies Zijderveld

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Sweetpotato Crostini with Red Wine California Figs

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Sweetpotato Crostini with Red Wine California Figs

Start your holiday party with this easy appetizer, pairing sweet-savory California sweetpotatoes and wine-plumped California figs. The combination is irresistible!

Sweetpotato Crostini with Red Wine California Figs - any usage must include -photo by Annelies Zijderveld- - for web use.JPG

Sweetpotato Crostini with Red Wine California Figs

Makes 30 crostini

Ingredients:
1 large baguette, sliced into thirty 1/4-inch rounds

For the sweetpotato spread

1 pound orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

For the red wine California figs

1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 cup sliced Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs (4 ounces)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Toast the baguette slices until stiff, about 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, make the sweetpotato spread: In a medium saucepan, boil or steam the sweetpotatoes until fork tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. In a medium microwaveable bowl, combine the honey, olive oil, and rosemary and microwave until warm, about 25 seconds. Add the sweetpotatoes and mash the mixture to a paste. Add the salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
  5. Meanwhile, make the red wine figs: In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the  wine, orange juice, and brown sugar and heat until just boiling. Add the figs, cover, and set aside for 5 minutes.
  6. To assemble the crostini: Drain the figs. Spread the crostini with the sweetpotato mixture, top with one or two sliced figs, and serve.

Recipe and photo by Annelies Zijderveld

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Sweetpotato, Fig, and Pancetta Dressing

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Sweetpotato, Fig, and Pancetta Dressing

Sweet and savory flavors mesh together beautifully in this dressing featuring shredded sweetpotatoes, dried figs, crisped pancetta, and fresh thyme. It’d be great alongside your Thanksgiving turkey, of course, but also with roast chicken, pork, lamb, and beef.

It also works great as a do-ahead dish—you can prepare the dressing though step four in advance, then store it covered in the refrigerator. Take the casserole out of the fridge to return it to room temperature before proceeding.

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Sweetpotato, Fig, and Pancetta Dressing

Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:
8 to 10 ounces diced pancetta (see note)
1 1/2 cups sliced shallots (6 to 8)
12 ounces orange-fleshed California sweetpotatoes, coarsely shredded
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup stemmed, sliced Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Figs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper, or more to taste
12 cups 3/4-inch diced or torn French or Italian bread, with crusts (from 12 to 16 ounces of bread)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray a 2 1/2- to 3-quart casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 13 to 15 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a bowl or plate. Set aside to cool.
  3. Add the shallots to the pancetta fat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the sweetpotatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweetpotatoes are al dente, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broth, figs, thyme, salt, and pepper and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside 5 minutes to plump the figs.
  4. Transfer the sweetpotato-fig mixture to a very large bowl. Add the bread and 3/4 of the pancetta, stirring gently to evenly moisten. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining pancetta on top. Dot the top with the butter and cover with foil.
  5. Bake until heated through, 30 to 40 minutes. Uncover and bake until browned on top, 5 to 10 minutes.

Note: Look for pre-diced pancetta in the deli section of your supermarket. If you can’t find it, buy a hunk from the deli, then dice it at home.

Recipe developed in partnership with Valley Fig Growers

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Grilled Sweetpotato Tacos with Queso Fresco and Cucumber-Tomato Salsa

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Grilled Sweetpotato Tacos with Queso Fresco and Cucumber-Tomato Salsa

Grilled sweetpotato wedges are delicious alongside burgers, hot dogs, or anything else off the grate, but they’re also great as a featured ingredient in tacos, salads, and sandwiches. Here, they’re dusted with Mexican spices, then tucked into tortillas and topped with creamy cheese, crunchy lettuce, and fresh salsa. Add a watermelon wedge or a side of grilled peppers, and you’ve got a near-perfect summer meal!

Grilled Sweetpotato Tacos with Queso Fresco and Cucumber-Tomato Salsa

Grilled Sweetpotato Tacos with Queso Fresco and Cucumber-Tomato Salsa

Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 to 3 limes, divided
1 cup 1/4-inch diced tomatoes
1/2 cup 1/4-inch diced cucumber
1/4 cup 1/4-inch diced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound yellow- or orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes, cut lengthwise into 3/4-inch wedges
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Eight 6- or 8-inch corn or flour tortillas
3/4 cup crumbled queso fresco (see notes)
1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce or green cabbage
Hot sauce, for serving (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Squeeze one or two of the limes to yield 2 tablespoons of juice. In a medium bowl, combine the lime juice, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and garlic. Add salt to taste and set aside. Cut the remaining lime into wedges and set aside.
  2. Heat a grill to medium-high.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the sweetpotatoes, oil, salt, coriander, chili powder, and cumin. Wrap the tortillas in foil.
  4. Arrange the sweetpotatoes on the grill and cook until lightly charred and tender, 6 to 8 minutes, turning halfway through. Place the tortillas on a cooler part of the grill and cook until warm, 5 to 8 minutes.
  5. Arrange the tortillas on plates or a platter and top with the sweetpotatoes, queso fresco, lettuce or cabbage, and salsa. Serve with the lime wedges and hot sauce, if using, on the side.

Notes: Look for queso fresco in the Mexican cheese section of your supermarket. If you can’t find it, substitute crumbled feta or goat cheese.

To make this simple recipe even more so, omit the first seven ingredients and the first step of the instructions, and substitute one lime, cut into wedges for serving, and two cups of store bought salsa.

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Grilled Sweetpotato Wedges

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Grilled Sweetpotato Wedges

Grilled sweetpotatoes are easy to make and easy to love, and they’re perfect alongside burgers, hot dogs, or anything else off the grate. Start with this basic recipe, then experiment with adding your favorite herbs and spices—for example, chopped fresh rosemary, cinnamon, or smoked paprika would all be awesome. (Want more ways to enjoy sweetpotato wedges? Try our recipe for Grilled Sweetpotato Tacos with Queso Fresco and Cucumber-Tomato Salsa.)

Grilled Sweetpotato Wedges

Grilled Sweetpotato Wedges

Serves 3 or 4

Ingredients:
1 pound yellow- or orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes, cut lengthwise into 3/4-inch wedges
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling

Instructions:

  1. Heat a grill to medium-high.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the sweetpotatoes, oil, and salt.
  3. Arrange the sweetpotatoes on the grill and cook until lightly charred and tender, 6 to 8 minutes, turning halfway through. Sprinkle with more salt and serve.

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Ash-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle-Orange Sauce

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Ash-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle-Orange Sauce

Inspired by the signature sweet potato dish at the acclaimed Cala restaurant in San Francisco, this simple, sublime recipe--created by Carolyn Jung of TheFoodGal.com--will make you look at sweet potatoes in a whole different light. It features whole sweet potatoes buried in ash, and roasted until blackened on the outside, and sweet, smoky and luscious within. The flesh gets spread on warm tortillas with a dollop of creamy chipotle sauce. Sounds amazing, right? Visit Carolyn's site for the recipe.

Ash-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle-Orange Sauce
Photo by Carolyn Jung/FoodGal.com

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