Tag Archives: burger buns

Sweet Potato Buns (two ways!)

Sweet mother of billowy buns – these have my head spinning! Made with a freshly baked sweet potato & a touch of honey, these orange-tinted beauties will leave you craving more. Even better? They’re easy to make.

Flaky Buttery Sweet Potato Rolls

It’s rare that I decide to make homemade sandwich buns, but when I saw this recipe I knew I would give it a shot. That one lonely sweet potato in my pantry was just begging for it. The fact that they’re naturally sweetened with honey sealed the deal. What do I love most about these? Everything.

Baked Sweet Potato Buns - CloseUp

Soft on the inside. Flaky on the outside. Slightly sweet. Gloriously eggy. And as dough goes, versatile. First up was sandwich buns. Cutting this gorgeous dough into strips, I tied them into knots and smeared them with softened butter.

Buttered Sweet Potato Buns - CloseUp

Baked to golden perfection, they were perfect for grilled chicken sandwiches.
To make, we marinated boneless breasts in lime juice, garlic and olive oil then cooked them on the grill. Layered with lettuce, tomato, purple onion, a little mayonnaise and a slice of provolone, it’s one of our favorite sandwiches.

Sweet Potato Buns in Action - Grilled Chicken Sandwich

That’s not all this dough can do. It also makes perfect cinnamon rolls. Using half the dough for sandwich buns, I reserved the other half for these breakfast beauties – Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls with orange cream cheese frosting.

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls - Glazed

If you thought this dough made a great looking sandwich bun, wait until you take a bite of these cinnamon buns. Without a doubt, these are the best buns I’ve ever made. Here’s how you can make them for your family.

NanaBread’s Sweet Potato Bread Dough:
1 medium sweet potato (roughly 14 ozs.)
1/2 cup warm water (115F)
6 tablespoons honey
2 envelopes (or 1/2 oz.) active rapid-rise yeast
1 cup mashed sweet potato (from the sweet potato above)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
2 whole large or jumbo eggs, plus one additional egg yolk
3 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour, sifted
1/2 softened butter, to finish (instructions below)
1/2 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon cinnamon (for cinnamon rolls)

Cinnamon Roll Frosting (optional):
1 package of cream cheese (8 ozs.), softened to room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
2-3 drops Fiori de Sicilia orange essence (optional) OR 1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

To make the bread dough: wash the sweet potato and prick the skin all around with a fork to create steam holes. Wet two paper towels and wring them out, then wrap the sweet potato in the damp towels. Microwave on high until the sweet potato is soft inside (roughly 3-5 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave). When done, set it aside to cool.

In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the warm water and honey. Give it a quick stir with a spatula and add the rapid-rise yeast. Give it another quick stir, then walk away for at least 10-15 minutes so the yeast can bloom.

Remove the skin from the cooked sweet potato and mash it with a fork until mostly smooth (a few small lumps are okay). Sift the bread flour and set it aside. In a small bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolk with a fork until well blended.

When the yeast is ready, add the sweet potato puree, melted butter, salt and eggs and mix on low just until blended. Start adding the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough becomes sticky and clings to the dough hook (may take 3-5 mins.).

Note: this makes a soft, sticky dough. Humidity plays a part in how much flour you may need to achieve the proper texture. I’m in Houston, where the humidity was 75%, so I used all 4 cups of flour. You may use less, depending on your climate. Start by adding 3 cups of flour (one cup at a time) and slowly add more until you get a soft, sticky dough that clings to that dough hook.

Once the dough clings, stop the mixer and scrape the dough off the dough hook. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly just until it forms a smooth ball. Place the dough ball in a lightly greased mixing bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and a clean towel, and place the bowl in a sunny window to rise until doubled in bulk. Once doubled, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll or press into a rectangle roughly 8″ x 20″.

To make sandwich buns: cut the dough into 1″ x 8″ strips (I use a rolling pizza cutter). Tie each strip into a knot, tucking the cut end underneath, and place them on a parchment or silpat mat lined baking sheet. Gently run the top of each bun with softened butter. Cover with plastic wrap and a lightweight towel and allow to rise again for at least 30 minutes, or up to one hour.

To make cinnamon rolls: combine 1/2 cup of sugar with 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon. Liberally coat your rectangle of dough with softened butter, then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Roll the dough, working along the long side of the rectangle, then pinch the seam to seal it. Roll it over until the seam is facing down on the floured board, cover with plastic wrap and a towel and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Using a sharp blade (I use my bench scraper), cut the dough into pieces 1 1/2″ wide and place them cut-side up on a lined baking sheet, at least 2″ apart. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and allow them to rise one last time, for 30 minutes.

To bake: Pre-heat your oven to 375F. Once hot, bake your rolls one sheet at a time on the center rack of the oven. Bake 15-20 minutes, depending on your oven, or until golden brown. A good way to test sandwich buns is to gently press the center of one bun with your finger. If it feels soft and depresses easily, leave them in a little longer. If they feel firm, they’re done. Remove from the oven, place the pan on a cooling rack, and allow the buns to cool completely.

To make the cinnamon roll frosting: soften the cream cheese and butter to room temperature. Combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and orange essence or concentrate in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Gradually add sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until the mixture holds its shape when you drag your whisk through it. Scrape the frosting into a quart ziploc bag. Press the air out and seal the bag, then twist it to work the frosting into one corner of the bag. Snip the corner off with a pair of scissors, and frost the cinnamon rolls. I used a criss-cross pattern, but you could also start in the center and pipe a spiral or make the frosting thinner and use it as a glaze.

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls - CloseUp

This recipe made 16 buns – 7 sandwich and 9 cinnamon rolls.

Baked buns can be frozen for future use. For the sandwich buns, place them in a freezer bag and press out as much air as possible, then place into a second freezer bag. For cinnamon rolls, leave glazed rolls on a baking sheet and place the pan into the freezer. Freeze cinnamon rolls for 2-3 hours, or until the frosting and buns are firm. Remove frozen rolls from the baking sheet and double bag them in freezer bags, just as you would the sandwich buns. Double-bagged buns should last up to 2 months in the freezer, if they last that long.

This recipe is adapted from a sweet potato roll recipe posted on the Tasty Kitchen website by Deana at Country Mom Cooks. I doubled the amount of sweet potato puree and yeast, and added more honey, melted butter and an additional egg yolk for a richer dough. Click the underlined link to the original.

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Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

NanaBread's Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce

Know what I love about this recipe? That it’s easy to make and no one will ever suspect you cleaned out your freezer to make it. Every six months or so, when my freezer is over-run with leftover hot dog and hamburger buns and half of several baguettes, I make bread pudding. The finished product is so pretty and so delicious, no one will ever suspect. Perhaps it’s the buttery bread pudding…perhaps it’s the whiskey sauce that goes on top…perhaps it’s the perfect combination of both, but it’s fabulous and now it’s available all of you. This recipe makes one 9”x13” pan, or 12 very generous servings.

For the bread pudding, you’ll need:
20 cups of diced white bread (burger & hot dog buns, French bread, etc.)
One pint of heavy whipping cream
One pint of milk (easily measured by pouring milk into the empty cream carton)
4 large or jumbo eggs
2 cups of granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons of pure vanilla extract
¼ cup of Toriani Vanilla Syrup, optional
4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted

Bread pudding couldn't be easier to make, really!

Pre-heat your oven to 350F and make sure the oven rack is in the middle position. Clean out your freezer and let your bread thaw. I like to use a mix of 70% buns and 30% French bread for this recipe. It’s about texture. The buns will get soft and a little mushy, and the French bread will hold its shape. Together, they make a perfect finished texture. Begin by cutting the thawed bread into ½” to ¾” cubes. I know 20 cups sounds like a lot of cubed bread, but it smushes down once the liquid is added. Throw the bread into a large mixing bowl and set it aside. In a separate bowl, combine the cream, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and vanilla syrup (optional). Beat until well combined and pour over the bread cubes. Let sit for one minute, and then toss with a spatula to coat the bread with the milk mixture. Wait another minute and toss again. Do this several times, or until the milk mixture coats all the bread cubes and has been absorbed, for the most part. Spray a 13” x 9” baking dish or pan with cooking spray; pour in bread mixture and using a spoon or spatula, push the mixture out into all four corners to create an even thickness. Do not smooth out the top like you would a cake batter. You want the top surface to be lumpy and bumpy to catch all that beautiful melted butter. Trust me. Next, melt the unsalted butter and pour it evenly over the top. Place your baking dish on a rimmed cookie sheet (to prevent spill-over in your oven) and bake at 350F for 40-60 minutes, or until the top is a gorgeous golden brown and the center is not longer jiggly. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool.

While that’s baking, make the whiskey sauce. If you’re worried about the alcohol, don’t fret…some of it will cook out and the flavor, when combined with the buttery flavor of the bread pudding, is phenomenal. Really and truly…it’s mind-blowing. If you don’t like whiskey, you can substitute Amaretto, Grand Marnier, or a good golden rum. And if you don’t like alcohol at all, you can make a nice lemon sauce or top it with vanilla ice cream. But I recommend the whiskey sauce. I use Weller’s Special Reserve for mine; it’s awesome. And I’m not a whiskey drinker. But I love this sauce. Here’s how it’s done:

For the whiskey sauce, you’ll need:
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces of whiskey (or other booze)
3 eggs, at room temperature

In a heavy-bottom sauce pan, beat the sugar and butter with a whisk until well combined. Turn the heat on to medium-low and while whisking constantly, cook until it is bubbly and the sugar starts to dissolve. This will take 6-8 minutes or so. Don’t walk away from the stove…this can scorch or burn quickly. Once the mixture is bubbling and foamy, stir in the booze and continue to whisk until sugar is completely dissolved and it returns to a bubbling boil. In a separate mixing bowl (metal or glass), crack your eggs and beat until lemon yellow. Using a ladle, gradually add some of the sugar/whiskey mixture into the eggs, beating furiously with your whisk. It’s really important that you beat the eggs rapidly with your whisk while you slowly add the whiskey mixture. Failure to do so will result in curdled eggs. (If that happens, don’t panic. You can strain the sauce before you serve it.) Once you’ve added enough whiskey mixture to warm the eggs (about ½ a cup), begin to slowly whisk the egg mixture back into the pan of whiskey/sugar. Again, beat furiously to incorporate the two to insure that the eggs don’t curdle. Remove the sauce from the heat, and continue to beat for another minute by hand, until everything is incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Serve warm over bread pudding. Resist the urge to eat it straight from the pan with a big spoon, especially when it’s flaming hot. The sauce should be stored in the refrigerator; just warm it in the microwave before drinking serving.

Bread pudding - even before baking, it looks delicious!

And that’s my recipe for bread pudding with whiskey sauce. It was adapted from one of my favorite cook books, Cleora’s Kitchen by Cleora Butler. Whether you eat it warm, room temperature or cold, it’s always delicious and it would make a great addition to your holiday menu. If you love bread pudding, I hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think. Happy holidays, and happy eating!

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