Friday, November 9, 2012

Sweet Potato Rolls

Happy Friday!  So okay, when I find that the world is getting me down, I tend to cope by cooking a ridiculous amount of food.  Yesterday the world kind of slammed me, so I delved deep into the cupboards in my kitchen to see what I could find to make a ridiculously huge meal.  I decided to use up the rest of the tofu in my fridge making marinated tofu and onions, discovered a bag of stuffing mix and a box of instant mashed potatoes (I know, I know - I always make things from scratch, but they were there and needed to be put to good use), a carton of vegetable broth that I made homemade gravy with, and.....a HUGE can of sweet potatoes.  Now, I'm not even sure where this can of sweet potatoes came from, because I hate the canned kind.  I think maybe my mom might have given it to me in one of her famous huge boxes of canned goods she tends to give me.  I wanted to use it as part of this huge "cabinet cleanout" dinner, but eating them on their own - all mushy and covered in disgusting corn syrup - was not something I was trying to do.  So instead, I decided to mash them up, combine them with a bread recipe, and see what took shape.  And what took shape?  Deliciousness!

I took the easy way out and made these in a bread machine, although I've included instructions for how to make them for those without a machine as well.  I encourage anyone who wants to make any sort of bread on even a semi-regular basis to get a bread machine because it makes everything so much easier with hardly any mess.  Even if you don't bake bread much now, you might start if you have a bread machine at your fingertips.  Bread machines tend to be expensive, but check out your local thrift stores and you can check freecycle as well.  It's a Yahoo group where people list things they are giving away for free in an attempt to give to the community and keep things out of landfills.  Just go to to find a group in your area.  My mom gave me my bread machine as a gift, and I'm pretty sure that's where she got it, and I got my awesome, kickass '70s era food processor from freecycle as well.  It's totally awesome, so check it out!
I used the canned sweet potatoes for this, but you can use fresh sweet potatoes in this recipe as well; just bake them until very soft, peel off the skin, and continue with the recipe as written.  I'll definitely be making these deliciously puffy golden rolls again - especially because I still have lots of leftover sweet potatoes from that can in the fridge!

Sweet Potato Rolls

This recipe makes 1 dozen BIG rolls!

1 cup peeled and diced cooked sweet potato, canned or fresh
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup non-dairy butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour, plus more for kneading/dusting 

Step #1: If you are using canned sweet potato, drain the can and give the pieces a quick rinse to remove most of the syrup.  Mash the diced potato very well in a large bowl until very smooth.
If you are using a bread machine, add the mashed potato and all the rest of the ingredients to your bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer, set the machine to the "dough" setting and wait until the cycle is finished to continue with the rest of the recipe, starting at step #2.  If you do not have a bread machine, dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a large bowl.  The yeast should start to form bubbles after a few minutes, if it doesn't, it means your yeast is dead and you need to start over with new yeast.  Add the mashed sweet potato, milk, non-dairy butter, and salt to the yeast mixture and stir.  Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.  When the dough gets too stiff to mix with a spoon, knead it with well-floured hands.  The dough should come together into a smooth ball, but it shouldn't be too dry.  Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead well for about 10 minutes.  Place the dough in a large bowl that is lightly oiled with non-dairy butter or canola oil.  Turn the dough to coat the outside with oil.  Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for one hour.  Continue recipe at Step #2.

Step #2: Turn the dough out of either the bowl or bread machine onto a floured surface.  Divide the dough into 12 equal portions.  The easiest way to do this is to pat the dough into a roughly square shape on your floured surface.  Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife (kitchen shears are easiest), cut the dough in half.  Cut each half in half again so you have four pieces of dough that are roughly equal in size.  Use your knife or shears to cut each piece into three equal portions.  Roll each portion into a rounded shape.  They don't have to be perfect; just try to get them as round-ish as you can.  Place the rolls on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with a towel, and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.  Before baking, brush the tops of the buns lightly with non-dairy milk.  Bake in an oven pre-heated to 375 degrees F. for 22-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  Serve warm.

Tips and Tricks:

1. These would also likely work with leftover mashed white potatoes to make regular potato rolls.

2. If you like your rolls sweeter, add a Tablespoon or two brown sugar or maple syrup.  You can also try adding cinnamon, ginger, or other spices.  I may try this with my next batch - will let you know how it turns out!

3. These go stale rather quickly.  To store leftover rolls, wrap in plastic wrap or a plastic bag and store on a kitchen counter or cabinet.  Don't refrigerate!  It will make them harden faster.  Leftovers make an excellent breakfast toasted, either smeared with non-dairy butter or jam, or made into sandwiches with some tofu scramble, sliced tomato, and avocado.

4. These make rather large rolls, so they would also be great sliced and used as homemade veggie burger or sandwich buns!

That's all for today, ninjas.  This Fur Ninja has a very busy day today (going thrift store shopping, yay!) so I won't get the other recipe I created last night (baked tofu and onions marinated in sweet white wine and herb gravy) up until this weekend.  Also, Mike loves to cut recipes out of the paper he reads at work for me (my love is so wonderful with encouraging my cooking - or maybe he just loves all the good food!), and he recently brought me a recipe for stuffing with brussels sprouts that I will be toying with and adding some signature ninja twists, so hopefully that turns out well and will go up on the site soon.  Trying to plan our Thanksgiving menu as well (I might be cooking for Mike's grandmother, eek - gotta whip out my bestest ninja skills on this one and make a good impression) so there will be recipes from our Ninja Family Thanksgiving to come soon too.  Until then, stay warm and full of good food and ninja love!


The Fur Ninja

1 comment:

  1. My mother made this recipe and needed to add more flour - be aware that the humidity in the air, altitude, and even the quality of your ingredients can affect a bread recipe. Even if you are using a bread machine - keep an eye on everything for the first few minutes of mixing to make sure everything is coming together in a smooth ball. If it's too dry, add water; too wet, add flour. Add a tablespoon at a time - you can always add more but you can't take away! Happy baking from the Fur Ninja :)