Sweet potato cinnamon rolls with boozy caramel glaze

Sweet potato cinnamon rolls with boozy caramel glaze

I suppose it’s important to preface this with the story of my brother. And how for a brief moment he entertained the idea of meeting us in Dublin over St. Patrick’s Day weekend to surprise our father – because Thom and I surprising him with tickets to Ireland wasn’t a strong enough recipe for a heart attack, as it was. I probably shouldn’t joke about heart attacks because my dad eats a lot of butter. Whatever you picturing right now, multiply that by ten.

I kid, but the man likes his butter. And who am I to tell him to eat less of something that’s capable of clogging his coronary arteries and starving one of the most vital organs in his body of blood and oxygen? I have a lot of nerve, caring about the overall health and well being of the man who will eventually become the grandfather of my children. But that’s not the point. This is about my brother and his plans to visit Ireland, remember? Well, the plans fell through once he realized he had prior obligations with work. Which annoyed the shit out of me because he works a lot and I don’t get to see him as often as I’d like. He loves what he does so I shouldn’t complain, but sometimes I do because I like spending time with my brother more than twice a year. Which means I should probably go back to Ohio more often. But who really wants to go back to Ohio more often?

Anyway, this is no longer about my brother. This is about us and how we got into Dublin at 8AM Friday morning, with a Thom who was adamant about getting a SIM card before we left the airport. So after he ran my dad around Terminal 1 looking for the Vodafone store, he came back with a working mobile device and we were on our way, in a taxi with a gray haired Irish man who has never stepped foot off the island. (I think it’s worth noting that he has plans of visiting the US in a few years, so it’s really not as pitiful as it seems.) He dropped us at our B&B and we were told by the head lady that she could hold our bags, but our rooms wouldn’t be ready until noon. I was a little irritated, but it was my fault as I’m the one who dropped the ball on informing her of our early arrival.

We be mixin'
We be cuttin'
Sweet potato cinnamon rolls
Boozy caramel glaze

Thom had other plans, anyway. Plans that involved a long walk through the city, around Stephen’s Green, and to a side of Dublin I had never seen before. We passed four or five establishments that looked like they’d be able to feed a person with dietary restrictions such as my own, and I started getting grumpy because I needed food. And coffee. And just when I was about to be all SERIOUSLY DUDE WE’VE BEEN WALKING FOR 25 MINUTES AND I’M TIRED AND MY FEET HURT AND I REALLY NEED SOMETHING TO FILL THIS EMPTY BELLY, we rounded the corner to see my brother standing in front of Cassidy’s Pub with luggage and the biggest, stupid grin on his face.

In typical girl-who-grew-up-with-five-brothers fashion, the first thing I did was stop and shout NO FUCKING WAY! And just when I was about to start crying (sleep deprivation, hormones – you know the deal) I ran toward him and went in for a hug, and thought about how he deserved a good ass kicking for lying to me. But also the Brother of the Year Award because he got me. He got all of us (with the exception of Thom) good.

Psst! Photo updates here and here.

Sweet potato cinnamon rolls with boozy caramel glaze
Sweet potato cinnamon rolls with boozy caramel glaze
Sweet potato cinnamon rolls with boozy caramel glaze

Notes: I use canned sweet potato puree but fresh puree should work as well. I’ve also made these with pumpkin and they’ve turned out great. Feel free to replace the sucanat with brown sugar if that’s all you have on hand. If you’re not into boozy caramel glaze (that’s a shame), substitute a simple glaze of powdered sugar, non-dairy milk, and a spoonful of molasses – it’s my go-to glaze when I’m too lazy to make anything else. I bake these rolls in a jumbo muffin pan (two!) because I like when they’re perfectly round. But you can bake them in a regular square baking pan, you’ll just need to cut them into 12 pieces instead of 9. And bake them for 16-18 minutes.

SWEET POTATO CINNAMON ROLLS WITH BOOZY CARAMEL GLAZE

Dough
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water, 105-110˚F
1/4 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup cane sugar
3/4 cup sweet potato puree
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
3 1/4 cups unbleached flour, plus more for rolling
1 tsp fine sea salt

Filling
3 tbsp vegan butter, softened
1/2 cup sucanat
2 tbsp ground cinnamon

Glaze
1 can full fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
1/2 cup sucanat
1-2 tbsp Irish whiskey

Lightly oil a large mixing bowl; set aside. Add the water to a small bowl and lightly stir in the yeast; add a pinch of sugar and set aside until foamy (15-20 minutes). In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, then stir in the sugar, sweet potato and milk just until warm and sweet potato has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes (if you don’t let it cool, the heat from the mixture will kill the yeast). Add 3 cups of the flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment; mix for 10-15 seconds. Add the sweet potato and yeast mixture, then mix dough on medium-high speed for 6-7 minutes. If the dough is not pulling away from the sides of the bowl, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. I achieved a perfect dough with two additional tablespoons. But if you live in a humid climate, it’s likely you’ll need to add the full 1/4 cup. Once the dough has finished kneading, transfer it to the prepared mixing bowl, cover with a towel, and store in a warm part of your house until the dough doubles, about 2 hours.
Lightly oil two 6 cup jumbo muffin pans; set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour. Roll the dough out into an 18×12 rectangle. Spread with butter then cover with brown sugar and cinnamon. Starting at the long end, tightly (seriously, I said tightly!) roll the dough into a log, then cut it unto 12 even pieces. Transfer the rolls to the prepared pan, leaving even space between. Cover pan with a towel and allow the rolls to rise for one hour. Bake at 375˚F for 12-14 minutes. Allow to cool in pan.
To make the glaze, start by opening the can of coconut milk and separating the thick, white milk fat from the water. Add 1/4 cup of the coconut water to a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Whisk in the sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for 5-6 minutes, whisking only a few times, then stir in 1 cup of the coconut milk fat (you may have more or less, depending on your can of coconut milk – that’s ok). Reduce the heat to medium and boil the mixture for 5 minutes, whisking every minute or so. If you added less than 1 cup of coconut milk fat, you’ll want to cook the mixture for an extra minute or two. Off the heat and stir in the whiskey. Transfer the glaze to a glass jar and drizzle over warm cinnamon rolls. You can store the rolls in an air tight container for up to three days (I recommend not drizzling with glaze until ready to consume). Glaze can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Yield: 12 rolls

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Chocolate stout cupcakes with Irish whiskey ganache + Irish cream frosting

Chocolate stout cupcakes with Irish whiskey ganache + Irish cream frosting

I drank my first Guinness atop the Storehouse in Dublin exactly two years ago this Sunday. It was then that I decided I didn’t particularly care for Guinness, but I did like the view from the Storehouse. Despite the gray clouds and fog that lingered over the city, it was stunning. Almost like Dublin was built for the gray. I also liked watching the men in kilts, and how they swayed ever so perfectly with their every step or turn. It was hypnotizing, almost. A nice respite from the pint of bitter syrup that set in front of my face, begging to be drank. But I just couldn’t do it. So I pushed my beer over to Thom’s side of the table and declared that I was not my father’s daughter. Because she would love and bathe in Guinness. And so that night we stumbled home drunk and I emailed my dad to tell him the unfortunate news surrounding my Guinness experience; how I hoped he wouldn’t disown me But seriously how does anyone drink that stuff?

He didn’t disown me (thank goodness) but he did write back saying how much he wished he could have been there with us, and that it was his dream to drink a Guinness at the top of the Storehouse on St. Patrick’s Day. I remember the words like it was yesterday: You’re living my dream.

That struck me in the gut. And not in a good way. Why am I living his dream? That’s not fair. I want him to live his dream. And so Thom and I spent an entire year devising a plan to surprise my dad with a trip to Ireland so that he could finally live his dream of drinking a Guinness at the Storehouse on St. Patrick’s Day. And in May of last year, we purchased the tickets and made it final; there was no turning back. Except there was because I bought travel insurance like any level headed person does when they do something as bold as buy their dad and step mom plane tickets for a surprise trip to Ireland.

Is Sharebear even going to like Ireland? I asked. Who cares, we’ll get her drunk, said Thom. 
Dutch processed cocoa powder
Irish whiskey ganache
Chocolate stout cupcakes with Irish whiskey ganache + Irish cream frosting
Chocolate stout cupcakes with Irish whiskey ganache + Irish cream frosting

When it came time to surprise them with the trip, I started getting cold feet – wondering if it was too over the top and how we were going to break the news without stepping on toes on Christmas Eve morning. So we pulled them into the kitchen – my dad and step mom – and handed them a card. On the front it simply said THANKS, and the inside was filled with run on sentences about how much we’ve appreciated their unconditional love and massive support over the past half decade. And how we’d like to repay them with plane tickets to Ireland.

Their faces? Priceless. So here we are heading back to Ireland for our 2nd biennial St. Patrick’s Day trip, but this time with my other favorite man in tow. And for you? Well, I have a delicious post lined up next week – but for now I’ve got boozy cupcakes.

Chocolate stout cupcakes with Irish whiskey ganache + Irish cream frosting
Chocolate stout cupcakes with Irish whiskey ganache + Irish cream frosting

Notes: Do not (DOOOOO NOOOOOOT) substitute natural cocoa for the Dutch processed cocoa. I mean it. You also cannot use Hershey’s special dark cocoa in this recipe, as it’s a blend of both natural cocoa and Dutch processed cocoa. You can, however, use special dark cocoa in this recipe – just replace the punkin ale with extra stout Guinness. Because it’s vegan (unlike regular Guinness). If you’re not into the tofu, you can substitute two flax eggs for it. But the cupcakes aren’t going to be nearly as tender as the tofu version. Just sayin’.

UPDATE: Apparently North American bottled Guinness extra stout is no longer considered vegan due to suspicion that bottlers practice a filtration process that uses the bladders of some fish.

CHOCOLATE STOUT CUPCAKES WITH IRISH WHISKEY GANACHE + IRISH CREAM FROSTING

Cupcakes
1 1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa
1 cup cane sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup non-GMO canola oil
1/2 cup Guinness extra stout
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
6 tbsp soft silken tofu, blended

Ganache
4 oz good quality dark chocolate, chopped
6 tbsp non-dairy milk
2 tbsp Irish whiskey

Frosting
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/4 cup non-hygrogenated shortening
2 1/4 cups powdered cane sugar
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp espresso powder
1/4 tsp unsulphured molasses
2-3 tbsp Irish whiskey

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt; whisk and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the oil, stout, milk, and tofu. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients; whisk just until combined. Do not over mix. Fill cupcake liners with 1/4 cup of batter. Bake at 350˚F for 16-17 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the ganache by adding the chocolate to a small mixing bowl; set aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil then pour it over the chocolate. Let stand for 2-3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Stir in the whiskey and set aside.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, use a grapefruit spoon (or cupcake plunger if you’re fancy) (I’m not) to remove a small circle from the middle of each cupcake. I made mine big enough so they held about 2 teaspoons of ganache. Fill the centers with ganache then transfer cupcakes to a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
While the cupcakes are chilling, prepare the frosting by creaming the butter and shortening on high speed for about 15-20 seconds. Sift in the powdered sugar, cocoa, and espresso powder then continue mixing, on high speed, for 30-45 seconds. Mix in the molasses and whiskey; blend on high speed until light and fluffy. If the frosting is still a bit soft, sift in 1-2 tablespoons of tapioca starch. Or more sugar, but I’m not a fan of overly sweet frostings.
Once the cupcakes are ready to be frosted, spoon about 3 tablespoons of frosting onto each cupcake and smooth with the back of a spoon. Store in an air tight container for up to three days. Cupcakes made with flax eggs will only keep for two days.

Yield: 1 dozen cupcakes