Sweet Potato Cinnamon Buns

sweet potato cinnamon buns in cast iron skillet

Our Sweet Potato Cinnamon Buns boast an orange-gold swirl thanks to pureed sweet potato. Made epically tangy by a dose of buttermilk in the dough and in the glaze, this is the kind of baked good worth waking up for.

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Buns
Makes 10 buns
  • 3 to 3⅓ cups (375 to 417 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • ⅔ cup (146 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
  • 1 (0.25-ounce) package (7 grams) instant yeast*
  • 1¾ teaspoons (5.25 grams) kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅔ cup (160 grams) whole buttermilk
  • 6 tablespoons (84 grams) plus ¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, divided and softened
  • ½ cup (118 grams) puréed cooked peeled sweet potato (see Note on page 80)
  • 1 large egg (50 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons (12 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground ginger
  • 1 cup (113 grams) chopped toasted pecans
  • Buttermilk Glaze (recipe follows)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat 1 cup (125 grams) flour, ⅓ cup (73 grams) brown sugar, yeast, salt, and nutmeg at low speed just until combined.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine buttermilk and 6 tablespoons (84 grams) butter; cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until butter is melted and an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C). Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture; beat at medium speed for
  3. Add sweet potato and egg; beat at medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With mixer on low speed, gradually add 2 cups (250 grams) flour until combined.
  4. Switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat at medium-low speed until a soft, somewhat sticky dough forms, 6 to 10 minutes, adding remaining ⅓ cup (42 grams) flour, 1 tablespoon (8 grams) at a time, if needed, and stopping to scrape sides of bowl and dough hook. (Dough should pass the windowpane test [see Note] but may still stick slightly to sides of bowl.)
  5. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size, 40 minutes to 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray a 12-inch cast-iron skillet with baking spray with flour.
  7. In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon, ginger, and remaining ⅓ cup (73 grams) brown sugar.
  8. Punch down dough; let stand for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12×11-inch rectangle. Using a small offset spatula, spread remaining ¼ cup (57 grams) butter onto dough, leaving a ½-inch border on one long side. Generously sprinkle with cinnamon mixture and pecans. (Cinnamon-pecan layer will be quite thick.) Starting with long side opposite border, roll dough into a log, pinching seam to seal. Gently shape log to 12 inches long and even thickness, if necessary. Using a serrated knife dipped in flour, cut log into 10 slices (about 1¼ inches thick each). Place slices, cut side down, in prepared skillet. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place (75°F/24°C) until doubled in size and dough holds an indentation when pressed with a finger, 25 to 35 minutes.
  9. Bake until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 190°F (88°C), 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in skillet for 15 minutes. Spread Buttermilk Glaze onto warm buns. Serve immediately

Buttermilk Glaze
  • 2½ cups (300 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) whole buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients until smooth and well combined. Use immediately.
Note: Test the dough for proper gluten development using the windowpane test. Pinch off (don’t tear) a small piece of dough. Slowly pull the dough out from the center. If the dough is ready, you will be able to stretch it until it’s thin and translucent like a windowpane. If the dough tears, it’s not quite ready. Beat for 1 minute, and test again.

** We used Red Star ® Quick-Rise™ Instant Yeast



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