Has winter officially hit where you live? It has here (or it did, and is gone again as of today!). Toronto has been experiencing a VERY mild winter so far, with hardly any snow, very mild temperatures and almost no winter jackets required. However, that changed in early January and rather abruptly if you ask me. One day, I was rocking my cherry red rain jacket, feeling at home in this rather “Vancouver” like winter weather, and the next day we were slammed with -25 degrees. Talk about reality shock.
Melissa of I Was Born to Cook chose the absolute perfect theme this month for What’s Baking – “Your Favorite Snowday Treat”. I can’t claim cinnamon buns to be my favourite sweet treat, but they are definitely warm, gooey, welcoming and perfect for a day when you are stuck inside with a few extra hours to spare in the kitchen.
Now, as you read in the title, these aren’t your usual cinnamon buns and they feature a rather unique ingredient – butternut squash. I’ve had a recipe bookmarked for a long time (and when I say bookmarked, I mean bookmarked, not this Pinterest thing that took off about 6 months ago!) However, the one big thing I did change was the unique ingredient – the recipe called for Sweet Potatoes…but when I went to make them, I realized I was out of sweet potatoes. So, I decided to take a chance and replace it with butternut squash.
Let me tell you – it worked. It worked oh so well. The butternut squash did not alter the texture or taste that much, but I felt so much better knowing that this usually sinful treat has 2 cups of a healthy ingredient. I also loved that the butternut squash adds moisture and a touch of color to the buns, and it also replaces a lot of the sugar in a traditional recipe.
These were hands-down a winner. They took a little work, and a little faith in my baking skills because you have to adapt the flour amount a little due to the moisture levels of the butternut squash, but they turned out beautifully.
Definitely give these a try if you are looking for a little weekend project, with a absolute delicious (and healthy!) result. *See below for nutritional info*
Yield: 24 rolls
Prep Time: About 1 hour, not including roasting the squash and dough rising time
- 1 cup milk, warmed
- 4 teaspoons yeast
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cups cooked butternut squash, pureed (recipe below)
- 1 egg
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 5 – 51/2 cups all purpose flour, depending on how much water content your butternut squashes have
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2.5 TBSP cinnamon
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 6 TBSP butter, softened
- 1 egg for egg wash + additional sugar for sprinkling
Icing (optional but totally recommended)
- 4 oz of cream cheese
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
*see below for instructions on how to cook butternut squash*
In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast and honey over the warmed milk. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
In the bowl of your stand-mixer fitted with the beater blade, place the pureed butternut squash and beat in the egg, oil, and 1 cup of flour – mix until smooth and well incorporated.
Add the yeast mixture to your stand-mixer and stir on medium speed until thoroughly blended. Mix in the rest of the flour, 1 cup at a time, blending thoroughly after each addition. The dough should be slightly wet and sticky, but not so much that you can’t form it into a ball, you may not need all 5 cups of flour, or you may need more than 5 cups – use your judgement.
Remove the beater blade, replace with dough hook and knead for 8-10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.
Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a large oiled bowl. Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
On a floured counter top, cut the dough in half and roll each into a ball. One at a time, roll each ball into a 16-inch by10-inch by 1/2-inch rectangle.
To make the filling, combine the cinnamon, vanilla and sugar in a small bowl.
Spread half the softened butter evenly over the rolled-out dough and sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar evenly over the dough. Tightly roll the dough, lengthwise and turn seem side down. Cut into 12 equal slices and place cut-side up on a pie dish – about an inch apart, as they will spread as the rise.
Repeat with other half of dough.***
Cover the pie dishes with clean towels and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 400˚F. Brush the tops of the cinnamon buns with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until lightly golden. You don’t want to over bake these or they will dry out.
Remove from oven and top immediately with cream cheese icing.
Serve warm. Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge. Zap in the microwave for 25 seconds when you want to enjoy.
*** You can do all of the steps up until this point, then freeze the dough until you want to use. The day you want to enjoy cinnamon rolls in the morning, all you have to do is pull the frozen dough out the night before, cover with a towel and let stand over night. In the morning you just preheat the oven and pop them in. Easy-peasy.
Recipe Adapted from So Good and Tasty
Total Fat: 4.1g
Total Carbohydrates: 28.5g
Dietary Fiber: 1.4g
- 1 medium butternut squash
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash and thoroughly dry the butternut squash. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. You will know it’s ready when you can slide a butter knife through the stem without any resistance.
Remove from oven, place on a plate and allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, cut squash in half, remove seeds. Then, using a spoon, remove all of the flesh and place in a bowl. Mash with the spoon, or puree with a stick-blender.