Butternut Squash & Sage Dinner Rolls

Super last-minute Thanksgiving idea, right here!

Unless you procrastinate as much as I do, these probably won’t make it onto your Thanksgiving table on Thursday. Despite hosting again this year, I am lucky enough to have many food contributors on the guest list, and I’m reveling in the laziness it has afforded me. I’ll just be wrestling a turkey out of its brine bath and into the oven, mashing up some potatoes, and warming up these yummy guys. That’s it for the major stuff, which leaves time for fun side tasks, like making butter and ginger ale.

But hey, all is not lost, because these rolls are great whenever. This is a nice way to use up leftover butternut squash (or pumpkin, or sweet potato) purée, and they can always be frozen and reheated at a later date. These might not be replacing my go-to dinner roll recipe just yet (which has clearly influenced my methods here as well), but they’re a really nice, seasonal alternative. The flavor of the squash comes through subtly, and I certainly can’t imagine a situation where sage and goat cheese make something worse, can you?

Side note [10 hours after starting this post]: I am now totally regretting my extreme procrastination after waking up to a very odd “glow” coming through the bedroom window at 5:00 this morning, followed by the unmistakable rumbling, crunching, and orange flashing lights of a snow plow. (Also regretting my decision to wear flats without socks out last night, and eternally grateful for the pile of freshly-washed socks sitting in my boyfriend’s living room.)

Butternut Squash Dinner Rolls

(adapted from Allrecipes)

yield: approximately 18 rolls

(Note: I had a cup and a half of squash, so I wound up messing with the recipe a little to accommodate that. I am listing the normal recipe below, without all of my wonky adjustments. I have also tweaked the measurements of the rolled-out dough to fit the recipe.)

Dough

  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup of warm water (around 115°)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ⅔ cup of warm milk (around 115°)
  • 1 cup of cooked and mashed butternut squash
  • ⅓ cup of butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup of packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups of bread flour
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour

Filling

  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • ¼ cup of fresh sage, minced
  • around 1 oz. of chèvre

    (these measurements are just approximations, so adjust them as you see fit)

Mix together the yeast, warm water, and 1 tsp of granulated sugar and let stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy. Stir in the milk, squash, butter, brown sugar, and salt. Add the bread flour and stir until combined. Stir in the all-purpose flour until the dough begins to come together, then turn out on a well-floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. (Add more flour as needed if the dough feels sticky.) Place in a well-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel, and let rise in a warm place for about an hour, or until doubled in size.

Punch down dough and turn out on a well-floured surface. Knead the dough briefly, then let it rest for a minute or two. Using a well-floured rolling pin, flatten the dough into a rectangle that is approximately 12″ x 18″. Brush with melted butter, then sprinkle evenly with sage and crumbled chèvre. Using a knife or a pasta wheel, cut dough into 3 rows and 6 columns.

Roll each rectangle up and place—seam-side down—on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you like rolls with those soft, bready edges, position your rolls fairly close together so that they will rise and bake into each other. If you like a solid crust on the surface of your rolls, then give them a little bit of breathing room. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let rise for another 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375°. Bake for 12–14 minutes, or until the tops of the rolls begin to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, then serve.

(Alternatively, these can be frozen, then thawed and reheated in the oven, or for just a couple minutes in the microwave.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

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