Nicola's Cinnamon Rolls with Irish Cream Glaze
Makes 18 rolls.
- 1 medium russet potato (about 6 ounces), peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp (1 package active dry yeast)
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar or 1/2 c. (packed) light brown sugar
- 1/4 c. warm water (105 – 115 F)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 to 5 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour
- 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick / 1/4 c.) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/4 c. (packed) light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 c. dark raisins or dried currants, plumped in hot water 10 minutes and drained
- 1 c. (4 ounces) walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely ground
Irish Cream Glaze
- 1 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar
- 4 to 5 Tbsp Irish cream liqueur or milk
1) In a medium saucepan, combine the potato chunks with water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potato, reserving 1 cup of the liquid. Let the potato water cool to 105° to 115°F. Meanwhile, process the potato with the butter through a food mill placed over a bowl or puree it in a food processor fitted with the metal blade just until smooth. This produces 3/4 to 1 cup of puree.
2) Pour the warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of the granulated or brown sugar over the surface of the water. Stir to dissolve and let stand at room temperature until foamy, about 10 minutes.
3) In a large bowl with a whisk or in the work bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the pureed potato, reserved warm potato water, yeast mixture, remaining granulated or brown sugar, oil, egg, salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Beat hard to combine, about 1 minute. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a shaggy dough that just clears the sides of the bowl is formed.
4) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and springy, about 4 to 6 minutes if kneading by hand. If kneading with dough hook or electic mixer, knead 4 minutes on medium speed. Dust with flour 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to prevent sticking. Take care not to add too much flour, because the dough should be very satiny.
If kneading by a machine, switch from the paddle to the dough hook and knead for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and springy and springs back when pressed. If desired, transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead briefly by hand.
5) Put the dough in a greased deep container. Turn once to coat the top and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Gently deflate the dough and let rise a second time until doubled in bulk, 50 minutes to 1 hour.
6) Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Parchment-line a baking sheet. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a 10-by-14-inch rectangle at least 1/4 inch thick. Brush the surface of each rectangle with the melted butter. Sprinkle the surface of each rectangle evenly with half of the brown sugar and cinnamon, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle with the raisins or currants and nuts, if using. Starting from the long side, roll the dough up jelly-roll fashion. Pinch the seams together and, using a serrated knife or dental floss, cut each roll crosswise into 9 equal portions, each 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Place each portion cut side up on the prepared pan at least 2 inches apart. Press gently to flatten each swirl slightly. Alternatively, place in 18 greased 3-inch muffin-pan cups for a top-knot effect. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature just until puffy, about 20 minutes. (The rolls may be refrigerated and transferred later to the oven).
7) Twenty minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350F. Place the baking baking sheet or muffin cups in the center of the oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Using a metal spatula, remove to a rack. Immediately prepare the glaze by combining the confectioners’ sugar and liqueur or milk in a small mixing bowl and whisking until smooth. Adjust the consistency of the glaze by adding more liqueur, a few drops at a time, to make a thin pourable mixture. Dip your fingers or a large spoon into the glaze and drizzle it over the rolls by running your hand or the spoon back and forth over the tops. Or, apply the glaze to the rolls with a brush. Let sit until just warm before eating. (The rolls may be cooled and frozen in heavy-duty plastic bags up to 3 months).