Monday, March 29, 2010

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls

I'm a little sad that this will be my last sweet potato post for awhile. They are such a great year round treat and so very versatile. Alas, my family has turned a bright shade of orange and, since they don't want to risk being poster children for bad tanning products.... I bid farewell. But not before I share my last hurrah:

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls with Orange Cream Cheese Icing

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 package)
3-3 1/2 cups flour (I used bread flour)
1/2 cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated orange peel


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cooked, mashed sweet potatoes


4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 - 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Combine the milk and butter in a measuring cup and microwave for about 45 seconds on high or until the temperature is 110 ° F. (bathwater warm). If it gets too hot, just let it cool for a few minutes. Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the sugar and then the yeast. Let this mixture stand for about 5 minutes, or until it begins to foam.

Add two cups of the flour, sweet potatoes, cardamom, salt, and orange peel to the yeast mixture and beat well. Add the remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. (Alternately, add 3 cups of the flour right away and just use the dough hook on your mixer to knead the dough for about five minutes).

I love the orange color of the dough...this is going to be so good!

Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a clean damp towel. Allow dough to rise until double, about 1 hour. In the mean time, in a small bowl, mix together the softened butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and 3 tablespoons sweet potatoes.

Roll out the dough into a 12X9 inch rectangle (I like to do this on my Silpat). Spread the dough with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Roll up the dough and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 equal sized pieces and place into a greased 9X13 inch pan. Cover and let rise until doubled.

If you look closely, you can see the flecks of orange peel.

My filling got a little warm and melty. I was a bit concerned that I made too much, or that I should have chilled it......

.......and it was a little messy getting the rolls cut (I used the dental floss method), but it was all good in the end. Next time I may chill the dough for a bit before slicing, but there was just enough filling to make a nice gooey roll.

Bake at 375 ° F. for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven and frost while warm.

For icing, combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, orange juice and orange peel in a medium sized bowl. Beat well with a hand mixer. Slowly beat in enough of the powdered sugar to make the desired consistency.

I think the best part of making these with sweet potatoes is that they didn't dry out right away.

And there you have it: warm, gooey, soft, and sweet....with a hint of orange and a subtle sweet potato taste. My husband snarfed up two of them immediately. I think the recipe is a keeper.....

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sweet Potato Ice Cream

With Spring finally making an appearance, I couldn't help but think of what kinds of things I want to be making as the weather warms up.....and, gee, how could I incorporate a sweet potato into it? Ice cream immediately came to mind. I've had pumpkin ice cream before, always near the beginning of Fall, but would  a sweet potato work? Yes, as a matter of fact!

When I was a child, my best friend's father was a milkman. Not only was he a milkman, but he also owned and operated a restaurant, right on Main Street, across from my own father's bakery. This was one of those fabulous small town restaurants that had an authentic soda fountain. The best part was that they served ice cream that was made right on the premises. Oh, how I remember watching as the fresh ice cream came out of the machine....and we always got to have the first taste. I was forever after a big ice cream fan.

Nowadays, we get to make our own ice cream at home with one of those modern little ice cream makers. It makes the job a real cinch and the great thing about it is that you can come up with any flavor your heart desires. Let me show you how I made my concoction.

Sweet Potato Ice Cream

3 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon ginger paste (or 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder)

Combine the egg yolks, egg, maple syrup, and sugar in a medium bowl. Use a hand mixer on medium speed to beat until the mixture is thick, smooth, and pale yellow in color, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Combine the heavy cream and the milk in a medium saucepan. Slowly pour the egg mixture into the milk/cream mixture, whisking to combine. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture starts to simmer. Cook for an additional two minutes, or until the custard coats the back of a spoon, being careful not to let the mixture come to a full boil (or the eggs will curdle, trust me).

In a medium bowl, combine the sweet potatoes with the ginger, the orange peel and the orange juice. Pour the custard over the sweet potato mixture and stir to combine. Chill for at least two hours.

Do you see a theme with my sweet potato creations? I love the combination of orange and sweet potatoes. It makes the flavors so Spring-like!

Pour the sweet potato custard into the ice cream maker and churn per the manufacturer's directions. With my machine, it was ready in about 30 minutes.

The finished ice cream will be fairly soft. If you prefer the ice cream to be harder, place it in an airtight container and freeze it for a few hours. I happen to like it a little softer---it seems creamier and more flavorful. I found it too hard not to scoop some into a chocolate rimmed cone and slurp it down immediately!

It was even better with some chocolate covered sunflower seeds! Now imagine it in a profiterole with some chocolate syrup......too bad I didn't have the time....

This stuff is good just by itself, but it's fun to imagine all of the possibilities....

Friday, March 26, 2010

Orange Scented Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Ok, I'll admit that sweet potato pound cake has been done. I've seen it. I've googled it. It exists.  While many of the recipes I've seen looked quite delicious, my intent was to make a sweet potato pound cake that was just a little different. No nuts, no cinnamon (although cinnamon and sweet potatoes make a mighty fine combination), and no dense heaviness.  I wanted something that would celebrate the sweet potato as something worthy of a Spring food. Something light, citrusy, and sweet. To be honest, my first attempt was a bit of a bomb. Methinks I used too much sweet potato. Or maybe I didn't bake it enough. Oh, it was tasty, but the end result had a ribbon of paste near the bottom that was quite unappealing. So it was back to the drawing board.....

Everyone knows about Sarah Lee Pound Cake, right? My dad was a baker, and we still had Sarah Lee in the house when I was growing up. It is a bit of moist delish in a little foil pan. I was kind of going for that kind of texture, but with a beautiful sweet potato/citrus flavor. Not to toot my own horn, but---toot, toot---I succeeded beyond my expectations. Without further ado, here is my recipe:

Orange Scented Sweet Potato Pound Cake

1 cup butter, softened (I use unsalted butter)
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
¾ cup cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ginger paste (or ½ teaspoon powdered ginger)
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cardamom
½ cup milk
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange peel (I used the peel of one orange)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the butter in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Gradually add the sugar, beating at low speed, then increase the mixer speed to high and beat until pale and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl sides after each addition. After all eggs are in, beat several minutes at high speed until the mixture is smooth and very pale. Beat in the sweet potatoes, ginger paste, vanilla and orange juice.

As long as I had the orange left over from grating the rind, I thought I'd add a little of the juice to the batter.

I found this ginger paste in the produce section of the grocery store. It gives the cake a subtle ginger flavor, but you can sub ground ginger or even fresh ginger, if you prefer.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom.  Beating at low speed, add the dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with the milk. Stir in the orange peel.

Isn't it a pretty color?

Pour the batter into two greased and floured 8"X4" loaf pans (I like to use foil pans...maybe because I'm reminded of Sarah Lee...or maybe because I'll eventually bring one to work or give one away and the foil pan is easy to transport). Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched. Let the cakes cool completely on a wire rack before removing from pan to slice.

They smelled incredible at this point.

Take a close look at the crumb. The texture was very light and moist, and the orange, ginger and cardamom complimented the sweet potato perfectly. It tasted like Spring. Sweet potatoes really aren't just for Thanksgiving!

Perfect for breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea.

So that is my sweet potato pound cake story. Don't go thinking, however, that I'm done with the sweet potato. At the risk of turning orange from all of the beta-carotene, I have a couple more ideas.....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Liege Waffles

Ever since I bought a really expensive waffle iron, I've been itching to try something new to make with it. Don't get me wrong--my Pecan Cookie Waffles are still a favorite; well worth the million dollars that I plan to didn't win with them! ;) I guess I just need to justify the purchase. And why not, if it means warm, crispy, yummy waffles? Besides, I need a short hiatus from the sweet potato recipes (I have three more to share!).

Several weeks ago, I was watching yet another Throwdown with Bobby Flay. This was the one where Bobby was up against the Waffles and Dinges guy in New York. This guy makes a unique waffle called a "Liege" waffle. It is a Belgian waffle, but not like an ordinary Belgian waffle. Typically sold from street vendors, this is a yeasted waffle, all fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. The really unique thing about them is that they are filled with Belgian pearl sugar that caramelizes on the outside and gives a nice satisfying sweet crunch to the middle. Can we say Yum?!!

Since the Waffles and Dinges guy isn't about to share his secret recipe, I found several versions on the Internet. The resulting recipe is a mash-up of my results...and they turned out quite well, if I do say so.

Liege Waffles

Liege Waffles

Not to be confused with Belgian Waffles, these yeast based beauties are made with pearl sugar...resulting in some of the best caramelized, sugary confections known to man.


  • 1 (.25 ounce) package yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 cup pearl sugar*


  1. Mix the yeast, water, and sugar in a medium bowl and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Whisk together the flour and the salt in a separate large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour the yeast mixture into the well and and mix until well-blended.
  3. Stir together the butter, vanilla, and cinnamon, if using.
  4. Add the eggs (one at a time) alternately with the melted butter, mixing well after each addition. The batter will be thick and sticky.
  5. Loosely cover the bowl and let the dough rest in a warm, draft-free area until it doubles in size.
  6. Gently fold in the pearl sugar and let the dough rest for an additional 15 minutes. While the dough is resting, heat the waffle iron (be sure to use a Belgian waffle iron).
  7. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of dough into the center of the waffle iron. Bake for about 3-5 minutes (follow the directions per your waffle iron).
* Try to find authentic Belgian Pearl Sugar. It is larger than Swedish Pearl Sugar and works much better in this recipe. I found mine at a local kitchen specialty store, but you can also find it online. 

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 20 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 05 mins.
Total time: 25 mins.

Mix the yeast, water, and sugar in a bowl and allow it to develop or sit for 15 minutes.

Adding the eggs one at a time is easy if you've cracked them into a bowl or measuring cup first.

I mixed the cinnamon and vanilla in with the melted butter.

The batter seemed thin to me at this point, but once it rose, it was all good. :)

Gently fold in the pearl sugar and let the dough rest for 15 more minutes.While the dough is resting, heat the waffle iron. Spoon about a 2" ball of dough into the center of the waffle iron (this should yield a waffle that is about 4" in diameter).  Waffles will take 3 to 5 minutes to bake.

I actually found some real Belgian pearl sugar at the Kitchen's really not the same as the Swiss version.

The result was a very tasty waffle! A word of caution: Let them cool a minute before biting into them--the caramelized sugar is much like molten lava. The recipe makes about 10 waffles, so if you have a few left over, they do freeze very well. Mine didn't make it to the freezer, but I did have some later at room temperature and they were still very good. Of course, now that you are set to make yourself some of these awesome waffles, you will have to get yourself some Speculoos spread (aka Cookie Butter), to really enjoy the experience!  Although they are sweet enough to eat on their own,  I hear tell they are also mighty fine with some strawberries and whipped cream.....and oh how I wish I had some Nutella....

One thing---my waffle maker was quite the mess, what with all the melted sugar. It took a little elbow grease to get it cleaned off. Best to do it right away, while the iron is still warm.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Green Eggs and Yam

In my quest to use up a boatload of sweet potatoes, I asked my daughter, Taylor, how she would like them prepared. Taylor wanted me to make sweet potato hash browns, but I was afraid that they wouldn’t get very crunchy unless I added a few things. What I finally ended up making looked more like a sweet potato pancake (in fact, I imagine you could just sub the flour for some matzo meal and you would have a nice sweet potato pancake for Passover). Then, because I wanted to make more of a meal out of it, I topped one of the pancakes with an egg. I now had Yam and Eggs. Hee Hee. But wait! St. Patrick’s Day is coming up! Let me bring out my inner Dr. Seuss and present to you the final (and green!) creation:

Green Eggs and Yam

6 Sweet Potato Pancakes
6 poached eggs (not sure how to poach an egg? Click here: How to Poach an Egg
1/4  cup prepared pesto

Simply place a poached egg on the top of each sweet potato pancake and spoon a teaspoon or two of  pesto over the top of each one. Don't like pesto? Spoon a little creamed spinach over the top of the eggs. Delish!

Sweet Potato Pancakes:
Printable Recipe

1 large sweet potato, peeled and shredded (about 4 cups)
½ cup grated sweet onion
1 egg, slightly beaten
¼ cup all purpose flour (add more flour if the mixture is too wet)
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt

Vegetable oil for frying

Stir together all of the ingredients (except the vegetable oil) until well-blended.

Heat oil (about ½ cup, or enough to cover the bottom of the pan) in a large skillet on high until hot, but not smoking. Reduce the heat to medium/high and drop sweet potato mixture into the pan by ¼ cups (about 3 pancakes per pan; don’t overcrowd). Flatten each pancake slightly with a spatula and fry until browned and crisp on the bottom, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn pancakes and repeat. If the pancakes start to brown too quickly, turn down the heat to medium. Remove from pan to a paper towel lined plate. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven, if desired. Salt to taste.

As you can see, I still haven't graduated to a food processor. If anyone from Kichenaid is reading this, I would be more than happy to review a model for you..... ;)

These are tasty little things all on their own. I had to pull a few away from my husband, so that I could top them with the eggs.

I tried to turn the eggs green by putting some spinach leaves in the water with the eggs, but it didn't work....I'll have to pay more attention to how they did it on Food Network.

The pesto on this is really good, but I'm thinking I would like the creamed spinach just as well. I will definately make these again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sweet Potato Bruschetta

I’ve mentioned before that my daughter has become a vegetarian. I’m afraid that at this point she really means it. No. More. Meat. While that may be fine for her, her mother is having a difficult time of it. What? No bacon? No burgers? While I may not embrace her choice, I do support the decision and I certainly want to be able to provide some tasty snacks, so I’ve been honing in on some of the foods that she does enjoy. This week, I’m experimenting with the lovely sweet potato.

The sweet potato is the ugly duckling of the vegetable world. This strange looking tuber actually transforms into some beautiful, not to mention tasty, food. Not only that, it provides some serious nutrition….this is a root vegetable that qualifies as an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), a very good source of vitamin C and manganese, and a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. And did you know that a yam is really just a sweet potato with a different name? I like just saying the word yam. So now that we have a great tasting, fun sounding veggie, what do we make with it? Hmmm. How about a Sweet Potato Bruschetta?

I’m not sure of the exact moment that I thought of making a Bruschetta out of my sweet potato. It may well have been a dream. Or, I may have thought of it as I passed a really nice baguette display in the grocery store. At any rate, this is what I came up with:

Sweet Potato Bruschetta

Printable Recipe

1 French baguette, cut into 1/2” slices

Extra virgin olive oil

1 cut clove of garlic

1 recipe Sweet Potato Chutney*

Begin by toasting the baguette slices. I do this by placing them on a large cookie sheet and putting them in a 400 degree oven for a few minutes, until they are nicely browned. Remove them from the oven and drizzle a bit of olive oil on each slice and then rub each slice with the cut clove of garlic. Then, simply top each slice with a spoonful of the Sweet Potato Chutney.

I cheated this time and just used a flavored dipping oil. See the red pepper at the bottom? It gave the oil just a bit of a kick.

Sweet Potato Chutney:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 large, sweet onion, chopped
1 large sweet potato, cubed
1/2 (about 3 cups) of a fresh pineapple, cubed
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (or I found this stuff in a tube that looks like pureed fresh ginger--yum! use a teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon curry
a pinch of salt

Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium/high heat. Add the crushed red pepper and the chopped onions and saute for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook the onions until soft and just starting to brown, about 15 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan, stirring well. Cook over medium heat until the liquids boil down and the sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Doesn't this picture just shout beta-carotene? 

The truth is, you can use this chutney on about anything. I tried it on grilled salmon and I also caught my daughter just eating it straight from the bowl....

Since I bought a boatload of these tasty tubers, stay tuned for more sweet potato adventures. Yam and eggs, anyone? Yamburgers? Hot Yam and Cheese? Yambalaya? I love that word.....