I really hate artificial food coloring, it gives me a weird feeling, I imagine the journey it takes in our bodies and picture it turning my internal organs bright unnatural colors. I mean, think about how long it takes to get food dye stains off anything while you’re cooking. How could anything that potent possibly be beneficial to ingest?
Aversion to unnatural dyes aside, I do love bright colors and try to incorporate them into my kitchen creations when possible. Nothing looks more sad on a plate than drab colors.
These magical, colorful, delicious cinnamon rolls are artificial dye free! That’s right, those beautiful rainbow hues are achieved thanks to wonderful mother nature and her weird creation that is purple sweet potatoes also known as Ube.
This follows a very similar recipe to my carrot cake cinnamon rolls post, however instead of grating in the vegetables, they’re added via puree in the dough so you don’t have any evidence of the healthy ingredient other than the lavender tint it leaves behind.
The mysterious thing about making these cinnamon rolls with purple sweet potatoes, is that purple isn’t the only color that comes through in the finished product. You get hints of blue, green, even yellow! I’m no scientist so I’m not sure how to explain what happens, I like to imagine the cinnamon rolls going on a trip (see: magical mystery tour) in the oven in order to get baked (into colorful, tasty, treats with deeply developed flavors).
I guess the source of the tie-dye tinge of these divine treats will forever be an enimga, one of those things you just wonder about and can’t figure out, but in the end just try to accept because regardless of how they were created, they sure are delicious. And that’s why baking is really what life is all about.
So turn on your favorite tunes from the 70s to get you in the mood to bake these groovy cinnamon rolls!
This recipe doesn’t include the cashew cream frosting I put on some of the cinnamon rolls (because honestly they are truly delectable even without) but if you want the recipe it’s the same one I used for my carrot cinnamon rolls.
These are not low sugar (I’m sorry) but they are not high sugar either, keep in mind that cinnamon is very sweet so the more cinnamon you add, the less sugar you’ll need. Sweet potatoes are also a natural source of sweetness so you don’t need as much sugar as you would in a traditional cinnamon roll that is solely flour based.
If you can’t find purple sweet potatoes at your local grocery store check out grocery co-ops or larger chains like Whole Foods who will most likely carry it. You can always sub for traditional orange sweet potatoes to have an orange hue.
- 1½ cup non-dairy milk
- ½ cup vegetable oil or Earth Balance
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2¼ tsp active dry yeast (one packet)
- 1 cup purple sweet potato puree
- 4 cups all purpose flour (can sub whole wheat)
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ½ cup (extra) all purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- ½ cup coconut oil melted
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- 1½ tbsp cinnamon
- In a large saucepan, combine milk, vegetable oil, and ½ cup white sugar over low-medium heat. Heat until hot but not boiling, then remove the pan from heat and allow to cool until the mixture is warm to the touch but not steaming (about 100-140F).
- Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the liquid and allow to sit for 5 minutes, should start to smell yeasty and see bubbles on the surface.
- Stir in the sweet potato puree with a wooden spoon
- Combine 4 cups of flour with 1 tsbp cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Mix into the yeast mixture in the large saucepan. Cover with a cloth and let sit for one hour in a warm (but not hot) area. Dough should double in size.
- Preheat oven to 375F and grease your baking dish (I used three 9' pie pans, you can also use a 9 x 13 dish or whatever dishes you have on hand)
- Combine melted coconut oil, brown and white sugar, and cinnamon in small bowl.
- Roll out the dough on a clean and floured surface until a rectangular shape forms (about 1' x 2.5') dough should be about ½" thick.
- Spread the coconut oil evently mixture on the dough out to the edges. Sprinkle with more cinnamon if desired.
- Start rolling the dough into a log starting one from of the long sides being careful to roll it tightly.
- Once in a log lay it seam-side down, and slice log into 12-14 servings for medium-large rolls, or 20 servings for small rolls.
- Put sliced rolls into greased baking dishes and let rise an additional 15 minutes.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes depending on size of rolls and until edges start to become golden brown.
- Frost as desired