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Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls


Great tasting cinnamon rolls are best with fresh ingredients and good cinnamon. Invest in another jar of fresh spice if you think your cinnamon has been sitting around in the cupboard for years.

After using this recipe, I made some changes it in it. I cut the sugar added to the dough to one quarter cup. I also cut down the amount of brown sugar in the filling from 2 cups to 1-1/2.  I thought even that was a little too much, so next time I will probably cut the packed light brown sugar to a cup.  (The recipe below reflects these changes.)

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls

2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
5 1/2 cups flour
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons  grated orange rind (try to not get any of the white, just zest)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Non-stick cooking spray

Filling:
3/4 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
3/4 cup dried cranberries OR currants OR raisins
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Glaze:
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

SweetPotCinRolls5

Boil peeled, diced sweet potatoes until tender. Drain and mash.

For Rolls: Pulse yeast, water and 1 teaspoon sugar in a food processor 4 times or just until combined, using the metal blade. Remove metal blade, scraping yeast mixture into food processor bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. (If making by hand, stir together these ingredients in a large bowl and let stand 5 minutes.)

 Stir cooled potatoes and 1/2 cup flour into the yeast mixture and blend well, then add the rest of the flour.

Stir cooled potatoes and 1/2 cup flour into the yeast mixture and blend well, then add the rest of the flour.

Insert short plastic dough blade into food processor; add 1/2 cup flour to processor bowl and process 2 minutes. Add mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, buttermilk, the rest of the sugar, butter, orange rind, salt and and soda, along with 4 cups flour; process 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup flour, and process 2 minutes or until a dough forms, coming together to hold a shape. (If making by hand, mix in ingredients and stir in same order as above, then knead the dough on a flat, lightly floured surface, for at least 5 minutes.)

Place dough in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

If you're making by hand, turn dough out on a floured surface to mix and knead a few times before placing it into a clean, lightly oiled bowl, covered, to rise in a warm place.

If you're making by hand, turn dough out on a floured surface to mix and knead a few times before placing it into a clean, lightly oiled bowl, covered, to rise in a warm place.

Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a 10- by- 18-inch rectangle. Spread evenly with Filling. Roll up dough, jelly-roll fashion, starting at 1 long side. Cut into 12 (1 1/2-inch) slices, and arrange in a lightly greased 13- by 9-inch baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes. (For me, this dough made closer to 18 cinnamon rolls.  These fit just fine into a buttered 9-by-9-inch baking pan.)

 Roll out dough in a large rectangle and spread on brown sugar and cinnamon filling. Start rolling the dough in from one of the long sides, as you would for a jelly roll. Then, start cutting rounds from one end.

Roll out dough in a large rectangle and spread on brown sugar and cinnamon filling. Start rolling the dough in from one of the long sides, as you would for a jelly roll. Then, start cutting rounds from one end.

Bake rolls at 400° for 10 minutes. Remove rolls from oven; drizzle Glaze slowly over rolls, starting at 1 edge of pan and drizzling in a circular pattern.

Bake rolls 7 to 10 more minutes or until lightly browned and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove rolls from oven, and invert onto a baking sheet. Invert again, glaze side up, onto a serving platter. Let cool 20 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.

When rolls are done, let them cool awhile before you put on the glaze or icing (while the rolls are still warm).

When rolls are done, let them cool awhile before you put on the glaze or icing (while the rolls are still warm).

For Filling: Stir together butter, sugar, pecans, raisins or dried cranberries, until blended.

For Glaze:  Stir together sugar, corn syrup, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a light boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in cream and vanilla.

Makes 12-15 rolls.

Adapted from Domino Sugar

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Griffin to Go: A Nut for Lychees


Lychee

Lychee

Despite common usage, the lychee is not a nut. It is a fruit that grows well in warm, tropical climates.

It is also an addiction for those of us with a sweet tooth. For the lychee — or litchi, as it is often spelled — is truly sweet.

You wouldn’t think it to look at. In the market or on the tree, the rough, knobby exterior looks more like a hard strawberry. According to research on the subject, lychees are often referred to as alligator strawberries in some cultures — the deep South or India, depending on whom you believe — though it’s a term I’ve never heard. The skin feels like an alligator’s or a file you’d use to sand a 2-by-4.

Until I moved to Florida, I was only familiar with the canned variety of lychee, sometimes served as a dessert in Asian restaurants along with its cousins, rambutan and longan. But the evergreen trees thrive in the eternal sun and the humidity, far better than some of the humans. When a colleague brought a box of the red fruit with the milky white center into work, I had to be shown how to peel them, how to pick the best ones and how to determine which ones to avoid.

Now that they are in season and you can find them in neighborhood groceries (I found them in a box in the produce section of my nearby H-E-B; they were even on sale), I thought I’d share a couple of tips I learned:

  • Pick lychees that are firm yet have a little give at the top. These are likely to be the juiciest.
  • If the fruit is too firm, it may not be ripe. If it is hard and looks more shrunken than the others, it may have dried out.
  • Lychees bruise relatively easily, despite the tough skin. So, look for blemishes or discoloration around a soft spot.
  • To peel, pull the stem off or dig a fingernail into the skin near the top until it breaks. You can use a knife, if you’re one of those who doesn’t like to touch his or her food.
  • A membrane lines the skin. Peel it back, should it stick with the meat of the fruit.
  • At the center of the lychee is a large nut-like seed that you discard.

The rest is all about enjoying the highly sweet fruit and its juices. I’m getting a sugar rush typing this.

I generally eat just one or two straight from the skin. But there are numerous ways to incorporate lychees into your cooking, whether you are using fresh or canned.

One is the Watermelon Salad you’ll find in another post on this site (click here). Toss them in salads, especially fruit salads. Add to your sweet-and-sour stir-fries; their limpid texture is a nice contrast to the crunch of water chestnuts. Or you can place halves on a ham instead of pineapple.

If you are looking to add more sparkle to a brut Champagne, place half a lychee at the bottom of your flute.

The following recipe is adapted from a Web site devoted to lychees:

Tropical Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
1/2 pineapple, cored and diced
1 mango, pitted and diced
1 pound strawberries, stemmed and cut into bite sizes
1 cup lychees
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons lychee jam or apricot jam
10 (10-inch) flour tortillas
Butter-flavored cooking spray
2 cups cinnamon sugar (see Note)
In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, pineapple, mango, strawberries, lychees, white sugar, brown sugar and jam. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter-flavored cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray.

Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit and spice mixture.

Note: To make cinnamon sugar, mix sugar and cinnamon in the desired proportion, which generally ranges from 3-1 to 12-1, according to Wikipedia.

Recipe adapted from lycheesonline.com.

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