As it turns out, we humans are much more fragile than we think. Life can throw some mean curve balls at us most definitely, but of course, we can't forget those precious experiences that have blessed us and molded us into who we are today. We all get to savor from time to time such milestones like unpacking a new baby into this world, or even rejoicing with other bloggers who've triumphed at this thing called "following your passions" and I couldn't be any happier for them. And yet here we are, remaining with only an indelible memory that is kind of a blur in the mind's eye after some time has passed, yet when presented with them face to face--whether said memory is one that triggers a web of turbulent emotions or one that simply makes us smile at the remembrance of it--that very memory? It is ever so present and ever so real because it's been a part of us since. It continues to shape us well into the future.
For those who've been faithfully following fromscratchmostly on Instagram (thank you, by the way!), might already be aware of the tidbits that have been going on in our lives. The passing of a family member's soul, the adjusting phase of mothering two whole, live, beautiful, albeit challenging little humans, and I can probably go on with a laundry list. Which reminds me, as I currently look over my shoulder and see all the laundry needing my attention, that laundry for four is something I never knew could consume so much of my day. In fact, I didn't know I had the capability to do it most every day while doing this thing called life. But that's not important right now.
And as I think about the wonders of fall and all the things our family has had to overcome in the past month, I think about my mother-in-law who is probably the one most affected by it all. Her faith sustains her as a tree planted firmly by mile long roots, yet I know she, and pretty much all of us, need a boost of morale every now and then.
Her favorite treats are cinnamon rolls and whenever I see them on a window display I can't help but wish I could be in Kansas making her some apple cinnamon rolls from scratch. The last time I had the opportunity to do that for her was probably more than a year ago. As I thought of all the things that could bring one utmost comfort, namely her, I created these spiced butternut squash rolls. In other words, they are like a slightly more hearty and fragrant adaptation of the age old cinnamon roll.
The addition of ground cloves immediately transforms these sticky rolls into the perfect autumnal treat. Pure maple syrup can be substituted with honey as the flavor is hardly detectable in this recipe, and of course, we can't forget the squash. I prefer using butternut squash in this kind of baked good because it boasts the perfect consistency for mixing into the dough. It isn't so substantial like my all-time favorite kabocha squash that it's hard to mix in the dough, yet it isn't overly moist like spaghetti squash either.
I hope you give these a try in honor of fall. If nothing else, I hope you give them a go in honor of all things that evoke a sense of comfort and encouragement in the season you're in.
Spiced Butternut Squash Sticky Rolls with a Vanilla Bean Glaze
Makes 7 large rolls || adapted from this recipe
Time: approximately 1.5 hours including the time it takes for the dough to rise
Tools: large mixing bowl with a stand mixer and a dough hook attachment (if possible), damp towel, flat cold surface like a table or marble slab, rolling pin, small mixing bowl, large baking pan or cast iron skillet
Ingredients for dough
3 3/4 cups+2 tbsp bread flour
1 packet active dry yeast
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup warm milk
1 large egg+1 egg white
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup cooked butternut squash***
extra flour for rolling
butter for the baking pan
***First begin by baking butternut squash in the oven at 450 F for 30 minutes. Take it out of the oven, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, and let it cool as you move on to the dough.
For the dough, mix bread flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Now add milk, eggs, butter, and maple syrup. With a stand mixer and a dough hook attachment, combine everything starting on low speed and work your way up to high speed gradually as everything comes together. Finally, mix in 1/2 cup of cooked butternut squash. You may need to add a tbsp of flour if your area is extremely moist or if it is a rainy day.
Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough into that bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let dough rise in a warm environment for about an hour. If you want to speed things up, you can place it on top of an oven set to 200 F for 30 minutes instead of the whole hour.
Ingredients for filling
2 tbsp cooked butternut squash
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
4 tbsp melted butter
Mix and mash the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Ingredients for glaze
1 1/2 cups confectioner sugar
2 tbsp plain greek yogurt
half a vanilla bean pod***
***You don't have to use vanilla beans and can instead use 1/4 tsp vanilla extract. Just make sure to reduce the amount of yogurt you use for the sake of consistency.
Gently cut the vanilla pod lengthwise and open it up. Run the dull edge of a small knife inside the pod so as to ask scoop out all the beans. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, yogurt, vanilla beans, and incorporate until the consistency becomes easy enough to spread on the rolls.
When the dough is double its initial size and soft to the touch, it is ready to use. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly dust a flat surface with flour and roll out the dough into approximately 16-19 inches lengthwise and about 10 inches in height. Generously spread the filling on the dough. Using a pizza cutter or a knife, cut the dough perpendicularly to you into 7 strips. Gingerly roll each strip towards yourself and place on large buttered pan or cast iron skillet. Repeat with the remaining rolls and let the dough rise in the pan for another 10 minutes. Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes. The dough will be slightly golden in color.
Spread the yogurt vanilla bean glaze when the rolls are warm or when they are ready to be served. Enjoy!