Surprise Ingredient for Tasty Cinnamon Rolls

Needing a new cinnamon roll recipe to try out this holiday season? Look no further.

Did you know adding a little mashed potato into cinnamon-roll dough results in incomparably moist, soft rolls? Who would have thought!


Surprise* Cinnamon Rolls
Yield: 12 servings
Time: 3½ to 4 hours, mostly unattended

*1 small potato (about 4 ounces), cut into 1-inch chunks

1½ teaspoons salt

4½ cups flour, plus more for kneading and shaping

1 cup sugar

2¼ teaspoons instant yeast or one ¼-ounce packet active dry yeast

¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, at room temperature

1 large egg

Oil or butter for greasing the bowl and pan

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

2 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Put the potato in a medium saucepan with ½ teaspoon salt and enough water to cover it by at least 1 inch. Cover the saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook until the potato is very tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the flour, ½ cup of the sugar, the yeast, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.

2. Drain the potato, reserving 1¼ cups of the potato-cooking liquid, and put the potato through a ricer. (Discard the potato skin.) Add ¼ cup (½ stick) of the butter to the reserved potato-cooking liquid and stir until it melts. When the butter mixture cools to 100°F-about the same temperature as the inside of your wrist-add it to the flour mixture along with the riced potato and the egg. Stir with the dough-hook attachment of a stand mixer or by hand until combined.

3. Knead the dough with the dough-hook attachment of a stand mixer or by hand until it feels smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Grease a large bowl (it's fine to use the same one you mixed the dough in), add the dough, and turn it over to coat it lightly with oil or butter. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, put it in a warm place, and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

4. Grease a 9- by 13-inch pan with oil or butter. Punch down the dough, then transfer it to a floured surface. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into an approximately 8- by 12-inch rectangle. Spread the remaining ½ cup (1 stick) butter over the surface of the dough. Combine the remaining ½ cup sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle this mixture evenly over the butter. Starting from one of the long sides, roll up the dough as tightly as possible. Cut the roll into 12 one-inch slices and arrange the slices, cut side up, in the greased pan.

5. Cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, put it in a warm place, and let the rolls rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. (At this point you can refrigerate the cinnamon rolls for up to 12 hours or overnight; let them return to room temperature before baking.)

6. Heat the oven to 350°F. Uncover the cinnamon rolls and bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth, then whisk in the vanilla. Let the cinnamon rolls cool slightly, then drizzle the icing over them and serve warm.

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    Bethany Bird
    Monthly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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