Pastry Queen’s Potato Cinnamon Rolls

This weekend, Luke and I are entertaining a friend of his who is in town to attend the PAX East conference.  What is the PAX East conference you ask?  Some sort of exclusive networking event?

Nah, it’s a big ole’ gaming conference.  You know, like computer and video games.  A while back, Luke got two tickets and came home to announce the good news to me.  “Do you want to join me?” he asked.  Blank stare “At a gaming conference?” I replied.  “But I don’t play video games…”

And so the extra ticket went elsewhere, and I’m pretty ok with that.  The only bummer part is that this is Easter weekend, so most of my friends have family plans.  So I’ll be bumming around the apartment in my pjs, or something.

I will probably also consume most of the cinnamon rolls I made for entertaining.  Oh well.  The only people that can judge me spent all day at a gaming conference.  Enough said.

Pastry Queen’s Potato Cinnamon Rolls

Adapted from The Pastry Queen Cookbook

Makes 24 large rolls (I fourthed the recipe and put it in an 8X8 pan)

For the rolls:

2 medium Russett potatoes

1 oz dry active yeast (4 packets)

¾ cup plus 1 tsp sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

3 large eggs

2 tsp salt

9 cups all purpose flour

For the filling:

4 cups pecans

4 cups firmly packed brown sugar

2 Tbsp cinnamon

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

For the icing:

2 ½ cups powdered sugar

¼ cup milk

½ tsp vanilla extract

To make the rolls: Fill a large saucepan three-quarters full with water and set on high heat to boil.  Peel and quarter the potatoes.  Add the potatoes to the water and bring to a second boil.  Decrease the heat to medium until the potatoes are simmering.  Cook the potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork, about 10-15 mins.  Remove potatoes, reserving 3 cups of the cooking water.  Set the potato water aside to cool, until it registers 110-115 degrees. In a large bowl, mash the potatoes.

In a medium bowl, mix the reserved cooled potato water, yeast, and the 1 tsp of sugar.  Stir until the yeast has dissolved.  Let the mixture rest until foamy, about 5 mins.  In a large bowl, whisk together the potatoes, ¾ cup sugar, melted butter, eggs, salt and yeast water.  Add the flour in 3 cup increments and stir until the flour is incorporated.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 3-5 mins.  Place dough in a large greased bowl and cover with a kitchen towel.  Leave in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, about 1-1 ½ hours.

To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast them in the oven for 7-9 mins, until golden brown and aromatic.  Coarsely chop the pecans.  Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl.

Punch down the dough, then remove it from the bowl and divide in half.  On a floured surface, roll each half into a ¼ inch thick rectangle.  Spread each rectangle with half of the melted butter.  Cover each buttered rectangle with half of the brown sugar mixture.  Sprinkle the dough with an even layer of pecans.

Grease two 9X13” pans.  Carefully roll up each rectangle, starting on one long side of the dough.  Using a serrated knife, cut each roll crosswise in 2 inch slices.  Place the slices, cut side down, in the pans, spacing the rolls about 1 inch apart so they have room to expand.  Put 8 rolls in each pan.  Set the rolls in a warm, draft-free place and let them rise until they get puffy, 45 mins-1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Bake the rolls for 20-25 mins, or until light brown.

To make the icing: Combine the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Spread the icing on top of the rolls while they are still warm.  Serve warm or at room temp.

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