Golden Squash Sweet Rolls


Today’s recipe is guaranteed to fill your home with the warm and wonderful smell of home-baking. It uses the fruits of the season and is a (relatively) healthy bread to serve for brunch on a chilly fall morning. 
A few notes before the recipe:

  • I almost always use water and dry milk powder in my baking, but, if the latter is not usually in your cupboards, you can just substitute milk for the water. Two reasons why I like my approach:  I can add extra milk powder for a protein and calcium boost and warming water is a lot easier than making sure the milk doesn’t scorch or boil over. 
  • The ground walnuts provide added protein and some really good flavor but may not be available everywhere. (Our Fleet Farm store stocks ground walnuts, pecans, and almonds, so I have a big advantage here.)  You could grind your own but I don’t know that I would try to use chopped nuts in the dough. As noted in the filling recipe, the chopped walnuts could be included there.
  • I made this both as cut cinnamon rolls and as a round coffee cake. Both were iced with plain powdered sugar icing. Unfortunately, all were eaten so quickly, I didn’t get a photo of the baked results, so you will have to make do with pictures taken before these went into the oven.

Apple filled squash rolls
2 1/2 c warm water
1/2 c rolled oats
1 c nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 c canola oil
1/2 to 3/4 c sugar
2 t salt
2 eggs
1 c butternut squash puree
1 t cinnamon
1/2 c ground walnuts (optional)
1 package (2 1/2 t) instant dry yeast
4 c bread flour
2 to 3 c unbleached flour, or more as needed
1.  Combine first ten ingredients (through the ground walnuts) in a large bowl and beat thoroughly. Stir in yeast and 2 cups bread flour. Allow to sit in a warm place for 30 to 60 minutes, until the mixture has become quite bubbly and has begun to rise.
2.  Stir in remaining bread flour and beat until satiny. Gradually add unbleached flour, beating after each addition, until the mixture forms a ball that begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. When too stiff to stir, begin kneading with your hands, working in only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. At this point, you can continue kneading right in the bowl or turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead, until the dough is springy.
3.  Brush the ball of dough with a little oil and cover. Let rise an hour or so, until doubled in bulk. Punch down once or twice if desired (this is how you can adapt yeast dough to your own schedule!).
4.  When ready to bake, cut off about a third of the dough and roll into a large rectangle. Spread with a third of the filling and roll and cut as for any cinnamon rolls. Place on a well-oiled baking sheet and allow to rise until again doubled in bulk, 40 to 55 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.
5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 18 minutes, depending on the size of the rolls.
If desired, part or all of the dough can be made into coffee cake instead of rolls. Roll and fill as for the cinnamon rolls, but do not cut. Instead, place the full roll on the baking sheet, forming it into a circle and sealing the ends together. Use a sharp knife or kitchen scissors to cut slashes every two inches or so, halfway into the roll. Allow to rise as for the rolls. Baking time will be longer than for the rolls, about 20 to 25 minutes

Apple Filling
4 c diced apples, packed
1/2 c sugar
2 t cinnamon
3 T butter
Put apples, sugar, and cinnamon in microwave for 3 to 4 minutes on high. Stir once or twice if needed. Remove and stir in butter. Allow to cool before filling rolls.
If desired, 1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts can be added with the butter.

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