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.
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.