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Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls

 

 

Yields:  18-20 rolls      Prep Time:  35 minutes       Total Time:   1.5 hours

 

These sweet potato cinnamon rolls are packed with extra nutrients, including vitamin A from freshly steamed sweet potatoes as well as fiber from whole wheat flour.  Yet, they hang on to their traditional reputation of having a soft, sticky peel apart inside with the perfect balance of brown sugar, cinnamon and butter, and are topped with a light drizzle of icing.

 

Ingredients

For the rolls:

1 cup sweet potatoes, peeled, steamed and pureed (about half a large potato makes 1 cup pureed)

3/4 cup warm water

3 teaspoons dry active yeast

2 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour plus 1/2 cup for rolling out dough

1 cup unbleached white flour

3/4 packed brown sugar, plus 1 teaspoon

4 tablespoons melted butter

1 egg

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

 

For the filling:

3 tablespoons melted butter

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

For the icing:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

4 teaspoons whole milk

 

Directions

1. Peel, dice and steam sweet potatoes.  When cooked, pureed in a food processor and set aside.

 

2. Place warm water, 1 teaspoon of brown sugar (the sugar helps the yeast grow) and yeast in a bowl and let sit 5 to 10 minutes until yeast has doubled. 

 

3. In a separate bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup unbleached white flour, cinnamon and salt. 

 

4. In a large bowl combine 1 cup pureed sweet potatoes, 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla, 4 tablespoons melted butter and 1 egg.  Mix in yeast mixture. 

 

5. Slowly incorporate the dry mixture into the wet mixture until ingredients form a dough.  Dough may be sticky, but that’s ok.  Cover and let rise in a warm (like empty microwave) for 45 minutes.

 

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

7. Divide dough in half.  Using the extra 1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour, lightly dust where you are going to roll out dough.  Using a rolling pin, roll dough out about 1/2 inch thick.  It does not have to be perfect.

(See, it's not perfect.  Fingerprints all over!) 

 

8. Mix together the ingredients for the filling, and with a pastry brush, brush half the filling mixture over the entire section of the rolled out dough.  Gently roll the dough up starting on one side and going to the other.  You should end up with a log at the end.

 

9. Gently cut slices off of the rolled log, about 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide.  Place on a parchment paper lined baking tray about 1 -2 inches apart. 

 

10. Repeat steps 7 – 9 with the second half of dough.

 

11. Bake at 400 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.  Let rolls cool.

 

12. Mix together ingredients for icing, and with a fork or a spoon, lightly drizzle icing over all of the rolls while still on the baking pan.  This is helpful because they are still pretty close together and you don’t waste much of the icing.  Enjoy immediately or freeze for future enjoyment!

 

Every time my husband has a holiday from work and he does the grocery shopping, premade cinnamon rolls make it into the cart (along with piles of other packaged, yet somewhat tasty, products)!  Don’t get me wrong, I love the taste.  But I have such a hard time feeding these to the kids – much less myself – for breakfast.  They are soooo sweet and I feel so icky afterward. 

 

So, I thought we could compromise.  I wanted to make a cinnamon roll a little healthier, with a naturally sweet fruit or vegetable mixed right in.  And boy, did these do the trick.  Yes, they have butter, sugar and cinnamon, so that does make things taste good.  So, why not boost the nutrition since your already using deliciously foolproof ingredients such as the three mentioned above?

 

Plus, they are not too crazy to make either.  I’ll admit, the first time through, I was guessing here and there, so it felt a little intense.  However, whipping these up a second and third time, everything came together so simply.  The longest part is the waiting for the dough to rise. 

 

And don’t worry about perfection in rolling the dough out, or even cutting up the individual rolls.  Part of the charm of these cinnamon rolls is the cinnamon filling leaking out, the texture of the dough hanging off one side.  They are truly homemade goodness, and are reflected as such in the handmade process!

 

As a bonus, these little guys freeze well and make an excellent addition to a fancy holiday meal or a simple Saturday morning health(ier) indulgence!

 

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