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Even though the weather is more like Summer than mid-Autumn, there is no denying that Thanksgiving is just a few short weeks away. Cooks everywhere are compiling grocery lists, digging out family recipes, and trying to locate the gravy boat in order to prepare for the biggest meal of the year.
Thanksgiving is all about tradition. There must be turkey and ham, gravy, mashed potatoes, and of course the dressing. Each person looks forward to something different; my daughter loves her daddy’s green beans, my son is all about the ham, my nephew loads his plate every year with macaroni and cheese, my dad comes for the pie, but my favorite thing is the bread. As a woman with ever-expanding thighs, I spend the entire year banking my desire for those soft pillows of carbohydrates, slathered with copious amounts of butter and a sprinkle of crunchy salt. (Man may not be able to live off bread alone, but I wouldn’t mind giving it a shot.) As the day of feasting approaches, I start to fantasize about the bread basket and what wondrous gifts it will hold.
I have done a different homemade bread every year for Thanksgiving. There has been baguettes and focaccia, biscuits and cornbread, and one year I even made my own Challah bread. Last year’s potato rolls where a big hit but this year I wanted to try something a little different. These sweet potato rolls are everything you could want in a holiday bread basket; light and airy, slightly sweet with a warm aroma of rosemary and that very important slather of sweet butter and sprinkle of crunchy salt. Just try not to eat all of them before they make it to the table.
- ½ cup warm water 110 degrees
- ¼ cup warm milk 110 degrees
- 1 package rapid rise yeast
- 1 teaspoon plus 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons melted butter
- 1 Tablespoons minced fresh rosemary or sage
- 1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato
- 4 ½ - 5 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 Tablespoons softened butter
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- In a small bowl, mix together the water, milk, yeast and teaspoon of sugar and set aside until the mixture becomes foamy. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer with a dough hook, stir together the eggs, remaining sugar, salt, butter, sweet potato and rosemary. Add in the yeast mixture and half of the flour and stir until moistened. Add in the remaining flour gradually until the dough is soft and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly and shape into a tight ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled (should take about an hour).
- Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Cut the dough into 16 equal pieces and shape each piece into a tight ball. Place the balls in a 13x9 baking dish that has been greased and lined with parchment paper. Cover and allow the rolls to rise for another hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the rolls are browned and the internal temperature has reached 195 degrees.
- Whisk the maple syrup and butter together until creamy and brush over the tops of the warm rolls. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve.
- Tip: Make this recipe the day before! Shape the rolls and keep them in the fridge before baking. Take them out a couple hours before you bake them to rise.