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Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls with Bacon Filling

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Yield: 9 cinnamon rolls.

For the dough:
½ cup whole milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup granulated sugar, divided
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (90 to 100 degrees)
1 cup mashed sweet potato
1 large egg, lightly beaten
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
3¼ cups all-purpose flour, separated
Olive oil

For the filling:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ pound Neese’s Hickory Smoked Bacon, diced
1 cup chopped, lightly toasted pecans
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the glaze:
¾ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the dough:
In a medium saucepan, heat milk and butter over medium heat just until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Add salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.

In a small bowl, whisk together warm water, yeast, and remaining sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes; yeast will get frothy.

Add the milk mixture to yeast milk mixture and stir to combine.

Mash sweet potato. Place sweet potato and egg in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using a dough hook, beat until smooth and well-combined.

Add the milk-yeast mixture to the potato mixture and beat to combine. Add cinnamon and nutmeg.

With the mixer on low speed, slowly add flour, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

If dough is still extremely sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Note: This is a sticky dough so don’t add too much flour. It will be much less sticky after rising.

Beat dough for 3 to 4 minutes.

Lightly grease a large bowl with olive oil.

Flour your hands well and use them to transfer the dough into the greased bowl. Turn the dough to coat all sides with oil. Cover loosely with a cloth and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours or the refrigerator overnight.

For the filling:
In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy and the fat has fully cooked out. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from skillet and place in bowl. Reserve the bacon fat. Add pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon to bowl with bacon, and mix well. Add enough of the bacon fat to turn the mixture into a paste. 

In a bowl, mix together cooked bacon, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, and enough of the bacon fat to turn the mixture into a paste.

To assemble:
Preheat oven to 300°.

Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan using the bacon fat.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 9-by-12-inch rectangle.

Spread the bacon filling over the dough.

Starting at the wide end, roll dough up. Use a knife to cut into 9 (1.5-inch thick) rolls. Place rolls in the 9-inch square baking pan and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm area to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. They should be golden brown on top and no longer doughy in the middle. They should spring back then touched on top.

For the glaze:
Whisk together powdered sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon, adding teaspoons of water as necessary to smooth mixture out. Drizzle the glaze over the rolls.

This story was published on Oct 05, 1933

Alyssa Wilen

Alyssa Wilen

A Charlotte native, Wilen spent more than 12 years in the restaurant industry where she worked her way up to the role of Executive Chef before opening Chef Alyssa's Kitchen in 2013. She teaches award-winning cooking classes, hosts a Saturday brunch, and has created a family dinner meal service.