Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sweet Rolls

I have been cooking squash. Almost every day, and in the most unique (for me) ways. I made a crisp, which turned out really nice. I got the recipe from Tasty Kitchen, part of The Pioneer Woman's website. So that got me to thinking, which is always a good thing. If I can turn squash into a crisp, why not turn them into sweet rolls? Yea, the wheels were turning, and I got out my family cookbook and started making a mess in the kitchen. Oh, sweet rolls. I love making sweet rolls. I think even more than eating them, if that's possible!
Luckily, I had a few squash just lying around. Pretty hard not to; you know, it's summer, we have a garden, I cook, friends know I cook, friends give us the stuff..........

Anyway, I peeled and chopped. Hey! I came. I peeled. I chopped. Ha! No? No. Ok then. On with the squash story! You see that dark green scalloped squash in the middle? It was waaaayyyy too tough for me to peel. I was actually afraid of either cutting myself, or breaking my peeler. My favorite peeler. So I gave it to the compost pile. The squash, not the peeler! It's not like I was throwing it away, just reusing it in a different manner. I'm cooking enough squash to make a batch of rolls and a crisp. But for now, I'll just give you directions for the rolls. Because I'm nice like that. Before I get too much further, let me show you what all I used for the rolls, in addition to the squash, lemon juice, and of course, flour and sugar, which, by the way, I forgot to add to the picture. Oh well, you get the idea, right?

After I chopped everything up, I threw them all into a pot with some lemon and apple juice. I added the apple juice because I wanted it to be really yummy and moist. Normally, I would turn the heat to a medium/high heat, but I was going to be making the dough and didn't want the squash to burn, so I just turned it to low to cook it down. I stirred it every 5 minutes or so. After the squash was tender, I put in the sugar and spices. Then I stirred it some more. It was ready to put some thickener in, so I shook up the flour and water. I always pour this through a strainer to catch all the lumps. You could certainly use cornstarch, but I like to use flour and water with this sort of thing. Besides, I didn't have enough cornstarch for this, and I have a thing against going to the grocery store for one thing. It's just against my principles.

Here's what it looked like after I put the flour and water in. I took out half of this for a crisp, and saved the other half for the sweet rolls.

I put the butter and vanilla into the hot mixture and stirred until the butter melted. Then I set it aside to cool. This is very important for rolls. Believe me. I know these things. I have personal experience that proves if you put warm filling into sweet rolls, what you end up with is a mooshy, gooshy mess that doesn't roll. Just thought you might like to know that.

While the squash was cooking, I was putting together the dough. Yeast goes into warm water, stirred, and then sits for a few minutes to contemplate the world.

That gets added to the warmed milk, butter, sugar and salt mixture, then stirred all together until it is one big, happy family.

After that, I start dumping in the flour. I never measure this, I just pretty much go by how it feels. You know, that 60's thing, "If it feels good, do it!" So I'm stirring in lots of flour. Ack! I forgot the eggs! Hmmmm, that's what thinking about the 60's will do to you! But, don't worry, yeast dough is very forgiving. I just stirred it in. See?

Once again, all is right in the world. I stirred until I couldn't stir it anymore, then put it on the marble slab on top of lots (emphasis on lots) of flour.

After that, I put even more flour on top of the whole thing.

Oh, yea. Yeast dough. It's beautiful. This is the fun part. This is where we get to knead the dough. Be sure to wear an apron. Unless you don't mind flour all over your front. I like to knead dough, so I usually do it for longer than necessary, but probably, maybe, oh, I'd say, about ten minutes. You wouldn't have to do it that long, though, maybe less than five. Depending on how much flour was stirred in and how thick it is before you start kneading. This is what it looks like when it is done being kneaded.

Beautiful, isn't it? It has so many possibilities at this stage, but today our little yeast dough blob will be sweet rolls when it grows up. You can let the dough rest now if you want, just cover it with a clean towel. If you can't, or don't want to wait, just keep going. The recipe I'm using makes 2 9x13 pans with 12 rolls in each. The easiest way to do that is to cut the dough in half, and work with one pan of rolls at a time. First, it needs to be rolled out to a rectangle.

Then I put half of the cooled squash mixture on it, and spread it close to, but not right at, the edges.

Very carefully, starting from one long edge, lift the dough and sort of fold/roll the whole thing. Try not to make anything squeeze out.

Keep rolling until you get to the end.

Cut the whole roll into 12 even pieces. The easiest way for me to do this is to cut it in half, then cut each of those halves in half. That will make 4 equal pieces, and I cut each of those 4 pieces in thirds. It's magic! Well, really, it's math. 4 x 3 = 12!

Put the pieces in the (greased) pan, and stand back and look. Tell yourself how wonderful you are. Cover them with a clean towel and let them contemplate the world, again. If the house is on the cool side, get out your electric heating pad, set it to warm, put a towel over the pad, then pop the rolls on top of that, then a towel to cover the whole thing. But, since it is summer now, I just let them sit on the counter.

Or.......if you are in a really big hurry, just put them in a cold oven and turn it onto 350. They won't rise quite so much, but will still be fantastic. If you decide to let them rise, this is what they would look like when they are done.

Time to pop them in the oven. They'll take anywhere from 30-40 minutes. Just check them, and make sure you are not in a hurry and fooled by the beautiful brown on top, like I was. This is what they looked like when I pulled them out. It was too soon.

I should not have been so rushed. That's what happens when I hurry. Bad things. These rolls needed another 5 minutes. I turned my back, and they fell. Well, ok, just the 2 in the middle, but still. Next time, all 12 will be done when I take them out. But, for today, the outside ones were good. Really good. And they smelled wonderful.

Rolls......they're such a beautiful thing. They're all about what's right in the world, filled with sweetness and love. Ohhhhh, let's all hold hands and sing, "Kumbaya," shall we?

Squash Sweet Rolls
Makes 24

Mix together and let sit for 3-4 minutes.
4 Tablespoons yeast
1 cup warm water

Warm together in microwave until butter begins to melt.
1 cup milk
4 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cups sugar
1 Tablespoons salt

2 eggs
about 7 cups flour

Mix all liquid ingredients (including the eggs) well. Add flour until too stiff to stir, then knead until smooth, about 5-10 minutes. Cut in 2, roll out flat, spread with filling, roll, cut into 12 equal pieces. Put into greased 9x13 pan. Repeat with other half of dough. Let rise in warm place. Bake in 350 oven about 30-35 minutes. Let cool about 5-10 minutes, then frost with powdered sugar glaze.

4 cups powdered sugar
4-5 Tablespoons milk

Squash Filling:
6 cups peeled, chopped, summer squash
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup apple juice

1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves

3/4 cup flour
1 cup water

4 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla

Cook squash, lemon juice and apple juice together until squash is tender. Stir in sugar and spices. Mix flour and water together. (I use a canning jar) Strain enough flour and water into hot squash to make mixture thick enough to hold together, stirring to distribute well. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Let cool.


  1. Oh.My.Goodness. Can I beg for some to be sent in a care package? I have been a good blogger, really I have. Please, pretty please?

  2. Becca, my sweet, you need to learn how to cook. You would love it, believe me. It's not rocket science. You can start out on squash crisp, then move up to squash sweet rolls. Let me know.

  3. wow, looks great, I'll have to try this!