These sweet potato cinnamon rolls have pecans and marshmallows in the filling, along with a cream cheese frosting that is perfect for the Fall! (Jump directly to the recipe.)
“Is it ever Fall weather there in San Francisco?” asked my sister on our weekly conference call with the family. Every Sunday my parents and siblings get on the phone to catch up with everyone else. As usual, weather was a topic, and it turns out that the east coast was cooling off as per the normal autumnal cycle. Here in California, not so much. It’s still pretty warm and sunny and I for one have not complained. Of course, in my kitchen, I’ve been embracing fall. Last week I made pumpkin spice muffins and this week I went with sweet potato cinnamon pecan rolls. I just couldn’t help myself. The weather may not be traditionally “autumnal” but that doesn’t mean I can’t make it smell that way in my apartment.
Truth be told, these cinnamon rolls came about as most recipes come about in my household, out of sheer desperation. Though I adore sweet potatoes, I had recently made a couple of batches of sweet potato casseroles for a client and one can only eat so many servings of the stuff. I gave a lot of it away to my mom and dad but I decided that I could repurpose the sweet potatoes into a fall breakfast treat. Cinnamon rolls never tasted so good.
The trick to these cinnamon rolls is not only the pecans (giving these a sort of sticky bun sort of feel) but is the sprinkling of old school marshmallows. Sure you see them on the top of the classic sweet potato casserole, but I decided I wanted to add them to the filling of the rolls as well. Because of the baking oven heat, the marshmallows do melt away, so don’t expect that gooey marshmallow filling, but rather an elusive candy sweetness that works so well with the pecans and brown sugar. Even though the weather here in San Francisco is suppose to reach the 80s in the next couple of days, these rolls will remind me that Autumn really is here and I’m ready for it!
Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls with Pecans and Cream Cheese Frosting
By Irvin Lin
You can use the fresh roasted or boiled sweet potatoes for these cinnamon rolls or you can rework leftover sweet potato puree from a sweet potato casserole for the rolls. You can even use canned sweet potatoes if that’s all you have. The use of marshmallows in the filling seems a little unorthodox but they add a slight candy sweetness that is reminiscent of the old school sweet potato casserole.
Sweet Potato Dough
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 1/4 teaspoon (1 package) active dry yeast
1 cup (265 g) sweet potato puree (see headnote above)
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1/4 cup (50 g) white granulated sugar
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
zest of 1 orange
4 1/2 cups (630 g) all-purpose flour
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (95 g) chopped pecans
3/4 cup (45 g) small marshmallows (or about 6 larges ones chopped into 1/2 inch pieces)
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
4 tablespoon unsalted butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (115 g) powdered sugar, sifted to remove lumps
1. Combine the milk and orange juice in a small saucepan and heat until warm (this should only take about 5 to 10 seconds on high heat). You just want to take the chill off the milk and juice, not make it hot. Pour the liquid into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Sprinkle the yeast over the liquid and stir to dissolve. Let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbles start to form on the surface of the liquid.
2. While the yeast proofs, mix the sweet potato puree, melted butter, egg, sugar, salt, cinnamon and orange zest in a medium bowl. Once the yeast has proofed and there are bubbles, add the sweet potato puree mixture to the bowl and the flour.
3. Turn the mixer on slow and mix until a dough starts to form. Switch the paddle attachment to the dough hook and knead the dough on medium speed for 4 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer and scoop the dough out of the bowl and put it on a clean surface. Spray the pan with cooking oil, then place the dough back into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest and rise until it’s double in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
4. Once the dough has risen, empty the bowl onto a clean surface dusted with flour. Roll the dough into a 12 x 16 inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the melted butter in the filling. Mix the brown sugar with the spices and salt in a small bowl then sprinkle over the buttery dough. Sprinkle the pecans over the brown sugar, then sprinkle the marshmallows over the pecans.
5. Roll the dough up from the long side, so you have a 16-inch log. Cut the log into 12 even pieces. Spray a 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan with cooking oil, then place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Place the cinnamon rolls in the pan, spiral side up. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 hour or until the space between the rolls have closed up and the rolls are butting up against each other.
6. About 15 minutes before the rolls are done rising, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Once risen, bake the rolls for 25 to 30 minutes or they look golden brown on top. If you have an instant read thermometer, the center of the rolls should read 185 to 190˚F.
7. Let the rolls cool completely in the pan. Make the frosting by placing the cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until cream and then spread over the rolls.
Makes 12 rolls.
If you like these sweet potato cinnamon rolls, check out my sweet potato chocolate bread pudding recipe.
Also checkout these other cinnamon rolls on my site:
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Easy Cream Cheese Caramel Sauce
Super Quick Cinnamon and Spice Rolls
And finally, check out these other sweet potato recipes from around the web:
Crazy for Crust’s Sweet Potato Crumb Cake
Sally’s Baking Addiction’s Loaded Sweet Potato Skins
Ambitious Kitchen’s Parmesan Garlic Baked Sweet Potato Chips
Cookie and Kate’s Spicy Sweet Potato Hummus
Garnish with Lemon’s Rosemary Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Onions