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Jailhouse Potato-Cinnamon Rolls


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Rate this recipe 4.1/5 (33 Votes)


  • Cinnamon Rolls:
  • 2 medium russet Potatoes
  • 1 ounce active dry yeast (4 packets)
  • 3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 9 cups unbleached flour
  • Filling:
  • 4 cups pecans
  • 4 cups packed golden brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Icing:
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Servings 2
Adapted from


Step 1

To Make the Rolls: Fill a large saucepan three-quarters full with water and set on high heat to boil. Peel and quarter the potatoes. Add the potatoes to the water and bring to a second boil. Decrease the heat to medium until the potatoes are simmering. Cook the potatoes until tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the potatoes, reserving 3 cups of the cooking water. Set the potato water aside to cool, until it registers 110 to 115 degrees.

In a large bowl, mash the potatoes you will have 1 1/2 to 2 cups worth by hand or using a mixer on medium speed.

In a medium bowl, mix the reserved cooled potato water, yeast, and the 1 teaspoon of sugar. Stir until the yeast has dissolved. Let the mixture rest until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together the potatoes, 3/4 cup sugar, melted butter, eggs, salt, and yeast-potato water. Add the flour in 3 cup increments and stir with a spoon until the flour is incorporated. Place the dough in a large greased bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place until the dough doubles in size, about 1 and 1 1/2 hours.

Leaving the dough in the bowl, punch it down until it deflates (1 or 2 punches with your fist will do). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. At this point the dough can be refrigerated until the next day.

To Make the Filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast them in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden brown and aromaticup Coarsely chop the pecans.

Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it in half. On a clean, floured surface, roll each half into a 1/4-inch-thick rectangle. Spread each rectangle with half of the melted butter. Cover each buttered rectangle with half of the brown sugar mixture. Sprinkle the dough with an even layer of pecans.

Generously grease two 9 by 13-inch disposable pans with butter. Carefully roll up each rectangle, starting on 1 long side of the dough. Using a very sharp serrated knife, cut each roll crosswise in 2-inch slices. Place the slices, cut side down, in the pans, spacing the rolls about 1 inch apart so they have room to expand. Make sure the end flap of each roll is set snugly against a side of the pan, so it does not unravel while rising. Put 8 rolls in each pan. (At this point the rolls can be tightly covered in a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil and frozen up to 3 weeks. Defrost rolls in refrigerator overnight of for 1 hour at room temperature and continue following the directions from this point.) Set the rolls in a warm, draft-free place and let them rise until they get puffy, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, or until light brown.

To Make the Icing: Combine the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Spread the icing on top of the rolls while they are still warm. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Rather Sweet Variation: For orange-potato rolls, prepare the dough as directed. For the filling, substitute 4 cups granulated sugar for the brown sugar, omit the cinnamon, and stir in 2 tablespoons grated orange zest. For the icing, substitute 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice for the milk, and substitute 1 tablespoon grated orange zest for the vanilla.


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