These light and fluffy dinner rolls are twisted into pretty knots and brushed with garlic butter. Adding roasted butternut squash to the dough gives these yummy little butternut squash knotted rolls extra seasonal flavor.
As much as I love the incredible fruits and veggies that appear during summer months, I have to say that I am equally enthralled with autumn and winter fruits and veggies. I just love wandering the streets and seeing huge piles of all sorts of pumpkins and squashes, alongside bins upon bins of so many colorful varieties of apples and pears.
This is all the more apparent here in Republic of Georgia where we are living, because fruits and veggies are mostly just available when in season. So it’s really exciting on the first day a particular fruit or veggie appears in the market when its harvest season begins. Do other people get excited when seasonal fruits and veggies appear? Maybe it’s just me, but I’d bet that others do too… At any rate, we are very fortunate to be in the midst of amazing fruit and veggie abundance!
This topic brings me to the subject of butternut squash, which is really my favorite of the winter squashes and pumpkins. The butternut squashes here are enormous and I really have to search to find one that is the right size for the two of us to consume in a reasonable period of time. Buying squashes here kind of reminds me of people who shop for Christmas trees and get home to discover that the tree is too tall for the living room ceiling… I always have to consider how much room the squash is going to take up in our small refrigerator, once I cut it open ?
So, I was fixating on recipes and decided to make butternut squash knotted rolls.
I have my favorite dinner roll recipe that I have carried around with me for at least ten years… ever since my friend Rosanne gave it to me when I was in my chef/manager days at a small B&B in northern New Mexico.
Roseanne and I would often cook together, making breakfasts for the dozen or so guests. The menus included all manner of breakfast casseroles, muffins, French toast, pastries, homemade granola and so forth. During meal prep we also chatted about our personal favorite dishes and Roseanne kindly offered up her special dinner roll recipe, which is a winner. (Thanks again, Roseanne!)
With a little tweaking, it transformed into this tasty butternut knotted rolls recipe that I am sure you will love… the butternut squash is lighter in color than pumpkin, so it just adds a little yellow tint to the rolls and a nice flavor accent. If you want more orange color in your rolls, you can certainly use fresh roasted pumpkin or even canned pumpkin puree. (but not pumpkin pie puree, as that will have the pie spices added!)
Let’s Make Some Butternut Squash Knotted Rolls
These rolls are really quite simple to make.
I start by roasting chunks of butternut in the oven. You don’t need much for the rolls, and the squash will roast quickly if cut into smallish chunks that are lightly oiled. (leave the skin on, remove seeds)
For the rolls, you begin as you would for any yeasted bread, by adding the yeast and some sugar to warm water and letting it rest until the yeast blooms and gets all bubbly and foamy.
Note: with yeasted breads, you always want to wait for the yeast to bubble (at least 15 minutes) because there is always the chance that your yeast has gone flat. If you proceed to make your bread without good yeast, your bread will fail and you will have wasted all that time and all of your ingredients!
So, it’s always better to wait for the bubbles and foam. Even good yeast that has not proofed long enough can contribute to a flatter denser end product, so no matter how you want to rush it, yeasted breads, rolls and pastries take time and all of the proofing and rising add to the light and fluffy final product.
Next, you add the remaining ingredients to the warm water, including the butternut puree and begin incorporating the flour. When all is done you knead the dough for a few minutes and put it aside in a warm place to rise.
During this time you can melt the butter and fry your garlic to brush on the tops of the rolls.
When the dough has nearly doubled in size, it’s time to make your rolls. First you’ll punch down the dough. Then, the easiest way to make the rolls is to divide the dough into individual balls (depending on how large you make your dough balls, you should get about 12 rolls from this recipe).
Take each ball and make it into a rope by rolling it with your hands (or on a lightly floured board). When the rope is just long enough to tie easily into a knot, tie the roll and tuck the ends underneath to get nice little knotted round rolls. Some people knot them so the end shows in the middle like a belly button, but I prefer mine with the ends tucked under…
Place the rolls on a greased baking sheet.
You’ll then cover the rolls and set aside to rise again.
When they have risen to about double in size, you’ll pop them into the oven.
When the rolls are baked you’ll then brush them with the garlic butter…
Bake another minute or so, then remove from the oven. And there you have beautiful butternut squash knotted dinner rolls.
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Butternut Squash Knotted Rolls
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ¾ cup warm water
- 1½ TBSP butter
- 1½ TBSP sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup roasted butternut squash puree
- 1 TBSP yogurt
- 2½ cups all purpose flour
For the garlic butter topping:
- ¼-½ cup unsalted butter
- 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 pinches black pepper
- ¼-½ teaspoon salt
- 1-2 pinches dried thyme, oregano and/or parsley (optional)
- Roast butternut squash and mash into a puree; set aside
- In a large bowl, place warm water (not so warm that you can't put your finger in it, but not as cool as lukewarm)
- Add sugar, butter and yeast to the warm water. Wait about 15 minutes for the yeast to bubble and foam up
- Add the rest of the ingredients, slowly incorporating the flour. The dough should be slightly sticky. You'll be adding more flour when you knot the rolls, so don't add extra flour here if the dough seems too soft! You want the dough a little sticky ?
- Set the dough in an oiled bowl and oil the top to keep the dough from drying out. Cover with a dry towel and set in a warm place to rise. (see notes below)
- When dough has doubled in size, (approx. 1-1½ hours), punch the dough down and shape into 12 equal pieces. (You can do this by cutting the ball in half, then each half into thirds, then each piece again in half to get 12 pieces)
- On a floured board, roll each piece into a rope just long enough to tie into a single knot. You will naturally be adding enough flour in the rolling process to keep the dough from sticking together while you knot it. Tuck the ends under to secure. Place each roll onto a parchment covered or greased baking sheet
- Cover the baking sheet and let the rolls rise again until almost doubled in size
- When the rolls are nearly doubled, preheat your oven to 400°F
- Bake the rolls for 18-22 minutes, checking for doneness. The rolls are done when the tops are slightly browned.
- While rolls are baking, prepare the garlic butter topping. First melt butter in a small saucepan and add finely chopped garlic. Let garlic cook until slightly browned. Add black pepper and salt and set aside
- When rolls are nearly done, brush tops with garlic butter and return to oven for 1 minute. The garlic should be nicely browned when you remove from oven.