In a world forever hung up on whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza, let's not forget another important food alliance: whether you're on Team Glaze or Team Cream Cheese Frosting for cinnamon rolls. I considered myself captain of the glaze squad—that is, until Jenné Claiborne made us forget everything with her sweet potato-pecan cinnamon rolls and equally root veg-ified cream cheese frosting.
The chef behind popular blog Sweet Potato Soul just released her vegan soul food cookbook of the same name, and while each of the 100 recipes stands out in its own way, we love her take on the comforting classic. These are good for up to two days after you make them, but a) good luck making it that far, and b) we're here to help if you have extras.
Sweet Potato-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe adapted from 'Sweet Potato Soul,' by Jenné Claiborne, Publisher
Yield: 12 rolls
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus proofing and cooling time
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes, plus proofing and cooling time
For the Dough:
1 cup plain unsweetened soy milk or other nondairy milk
¼ cup vegan butter
1 cup mashed sweet potato (from 1 baked medium sweet potato)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
¼ cup granulated sugar
One ¼-ounce package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon grapeseed oil
For the Filling:
½ cup brown sugar, coconut sugar or a mix of the two
½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
¾ cup toasted pecans
⅓ cup vegan butter
For the Sweet Potato Cream Cheese Frosting:
½ cup vegan cream cheese
½ cup confectioners' sugar
¼ cup mashed sweet potato (from a quarter baked medium sweet potato)
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Make the dough: In a small saucepan, warm the soy milk and vegan butter over medium heat until the butter has melted; make sure not to boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the mashed sweet potato.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, granulated sugar, yeast and salt. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and use a wooden spoon to combine. Once it gets too difficult to stir, use your hands to combine the ingredients.
3. Flour a clean work surface and transfer the dough onto the prepared work space. Knead it until you've got a smooth dough ball. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in it, cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and let it rise for 1 hour. The dough should double in size.
4. Make the filling: In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon, and set aside. Chop the pecans into small pieces and set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the vegan butter and set aside.
5. Once the dough has doubled in size, preheat the oven to 375°.
6. Press the air out of the dough, then transfer it back onto your floured work space. Roll until it is about ¼ inch thick. You should end up with a roughly rectangular oval, about 12-by-16 inches.
7. Brush the dough with the melted butter, sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar and top with the chopped pecans. Fold the short side of the dough over and roll rightly until you have a log. Carefully cut the log into twelve 1-inch slices. Grease a large skillet or a 10-by-10-inch baking dish, and place the rolls in it cut-sides down. Bake for 25 minutes, or until they've expanded and turned slightly golden on top.
8. Meanwhile, make the frosting: Place all the ingredients in a food processor or stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, blend on high until creamy.
9. Remove the rolls from the oven and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Top with the frosting and serve immediately.