Sweet Potato Rolls with Dried Cherries and Cardamom

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As I post this recipe—
everyone is urgently thinking about the start of the holiday season here in the U.S. which includes family and friends from far and wide. Thanksgiving, seasonal parties, Christmas, and New Year’s Day are occasions for sharing gifts and special food.sweet potato rollsThis is a long lost recipe for some luscious dinner rolls I first made about 1994, from Bon Appetite magazine. I baked these rolls every year for years. In about 2002, and during following years, I presented them as gifts to work colleagues and friends for Christmas with a printed recipe. Apparently, none of them attempted a yeast dough recipe. They ate, enjoyed, and discarded the paper recipe, confident that my tradition would continue forever.

Somewhere during time, I rebelled against the Turkey Dinner Tradition. We ate paella, lasagne, duck, anything but the conventional! The recipe was lost.

While clearing out old papers, I was excited to find a photocopy of this cherished favorite. Excuse me, but 2002 means many computers have passed away to digital heavenly fields. My blog was not even a glitter in its mother’s eye (so to speak). So for memory’s sake I’m now including it on my blog, Japanese food or not! I’m delighted to share it now, and will make it once again this holiday.

Sweet Potato Rolls with Dried Tart Cherries and Cardamom

  • Servings: makes 16 cressent shaped rolls
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

original recipe archived on Epicurious

  • 1 (14-ounce) sweet potato
    (note: you’ll use 3/4 cup mashed)
Roast the sweet potato: Pierce the sweet potato with a fork. Bake in 350°F oven until soft. (or use a microwave) Scoop the sweet potato, leaving its skin behind, into a mixer bowl and beat until it’s very smooth. Measure 3/4 cup back into the bowl, and use the extra for something else.
  • 3/4 cup tart dried cherries
Cut the cherries into small pieces and toss with a little flour.
Or you can substitute golden raisins. If the fruit is really dry, plump it in apple juice before cutting.
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 envelope dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
Proof the yeast: Heat half and half with 1 Tablespoon brown sugar over low heat until a little warmer than body-temperature, 105° to 115°F. Remove from heat then stir in the yeast and cardamom to dissolve. Add a spoonful of flour. Let the mixture sit until it foamy and creamy.
  • 5 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tsp salt
Combine the liquids: Add the melted butter, 5 Tablespoons brown sugar, and salt to the mashed sweet potato. Beat until smooth, then add the yeast and half and half mixture. Blend well.
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
Make the dough: At low to medium speed mix in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. At some point, the regular beater blade will become ineffective (messy!), so change it out to the dough hook. Continue adding flour and beating until a soft dough forms. This will take 3 to 5 minutes.
  • prepare a floured work surface
  • butter a large bowl
Knead the dough: Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 6 to 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. You can add a bit more flour as you’re kneading but don’t add too much: the dough should be soft. Adding too much flour will make the rolls dense and heavy!

Let the dough rise: Form the dough into a large ball, and sweep the smooth top over the buttered bowl. Turn the ball over to the now buttered part is on top. Cover with a damp towel, place it in a warm space, and let the dough rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. You know the dough is doubled when you poke it and the hole stays intact.

  • Bakers’ Parchment
  • unsalted butter
  • 2 jelly-roll pans
Meanwhile, prepare your baking sheets. Cut parchment paper to fit, and smear sparingly with butter.

Shaping the rolls: Punch dough down and turn it onto a floured surface. Divide into two equal portions; set one portion aside to repeat. Roll a portion of dough into a 12-inch diameter circle. Work slowly because the dough needs to relax. I know: you are doing all the work… Cut the circle into 8 equal slices, like a round pizza. Make crescent rolls by starting at the outer edge of the circle and to the center point. Stretch gently with your fingertips in necessary. Brush the tip with the egg liquid below to seal. Repeat with each of the 8 sections. Place on prepared baking sheet, seam/tip side down. Curl each crescent gracefully. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm and draft-free place for about 45 minutes. They will look puffy, happy, and well rested: a nice doughy vacation. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Baking the rolls: Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake one sheet at a time for about 12 to 15 minutes. Check for doneness by tapping the bottom of a roll; if it sounds hollow then it’s done. Cool on wire racks.

  • 1 egg beaten and thinned with a bit of water
  • optional, coarse grained sparkling white sugar
Glazing the rolls: While the rolls are still hot from the oven use a pastry brush to paint each one with the egg mixture. This gives them a nice golden gloss. Sprinkle with sugar for sparkle.

If you make these ahead (or freeze them) you can reheat them in a damp paper bag in a warming drawer, over your oven vent, or in the oven while your turkey rests.


As I recall, this recipe was published in a Gourmet magazine issue with a complete menu for Turkey Day. What an excellent meal!! There was a nice recipe for olives marinated with fennel seeds, rosemary bread sticks, sweet potatoes sweetened with pears (an excellent dish for diabetics because there is no added white sugar), roasted green beans and carrots, something interesting added to the mashed potatoes, as well as to the flavors for roasting the turkey. Gourmet has archives going back decades, but Bon Appetite only has table of contents for a few years. Epicurious, the mother company, does seem to have old Bon Appetite recipes but they are difficult to find unless you know the exact title to search for.

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5 thoughts on “Sweet Potato Rolls with Dried Cherries and Cardamom

  1. Thank you so much for finding and posting this recipe! It was a family favorite at Thanksgiving for years and then I misplaced the recipe a couple of years ago– have been searching ever since. Everyone will be thrilled to have them again this year. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving! :-)

  2. Pingback: Sweet Potato Rolls with Dried Cherries and Cardamom – I Cook Different

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