These brown butter butternut squash rolls have a soft, fluffy crumb and crunchy, sweet, buttery crust. This is an ideal recipe if you have leftover butternut squash, sweet potato or even some canned pumpkin— but don’t skip this recipe if you don’t have extra floating around! I went ahead and roasted a whole butternut squash for the mere 1/2 cup needed because the rolls are just so good. They have a subtle squash flavor, an incredible tenderness and the perfect touch of sweetness. They aren’t as sweet and dessert-y as monkey bread yet the sticky, salty sweet crust gives them a special edge over standard dinner rolls. Pair that with a smear of whipped honey butter, and you’ll suddenly find all sorts of reasons to roast more squash. Make these rolls for an afternoon snack, a cozy Fall dinner, or for a twist on a Thanksgiving roll. Enjoy!
brown butter butternut squash rolls
makes 32 small rolls | recipe adapted from inpatskitchen via Food52
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) butter, unsalted
1/2 cup whole milk
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
1/2 cup cooked and mashed butternut squash*
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp plus 1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading
2 tbsp honey, divided
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally so the butter cooks evenly. Cook until the butter foams and begins to brown. Once the butter turns a toasty brown color and begins to smell nutty, remove the pan from the heat. Set aside to cool.
Gently warm milk (100- 110°F) and stir in yeast and a pinch of sugar. Let stand for about 5, until foamy.
Combine proofed yeast and milk, 4 tbsp of browned butter, egg, brown sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir until well mixed, using the back of a spoon to break up any large pieces of squash.
Stir in the flour, one cup at a time, until a sticky dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed if the dough is very sticky. Place the dough in a clean, lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size.
Combine 4 tbsp of the brown butter, 1 tbsp of honey and 1/2 tsp salt in a small bowl, warming the butter if necessary.
Line a 9- or 10-inch round baking pan with parchment paper. Gently deflate the dough and cut it into 4 equal sized pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough to form a log (about 1 1/2” in diameter). Cut the log into 8 pieces, repeat with remaining 3 sections of dough, for a total of 32 pieces of dough.
Roll each piece of dough in the brown butter-honey mixture, and then place in the prepared pan pan. You may need to mix the butter honey mixture with a fork as you go to prevent it from separating. The pan will be crowded, but continue to squeeze in the last remaining dough pieces. Cover and let the rolls rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Bake the rolls for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. While the rolls are baking, combine the remaining 4 tbsp brown butter with the remaining 1 tbsp of honey. Chill and whip with a handheld mixer, if desired, for a whipped honey butter.
When the rolls are done, set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Place a plate on top of the rolls, invert the pan and plate and lift the pan off the rolls. Peel the paper away and serve with the honey butter.
* if you don't have leftover butternut squash, roast squash halves (flesh side down) with olive oil, salt and pepper at 375°F for 45 minutes, or until soft. Once cool, scoop out the flesh and mash with a fork until smooth. Use 1/2 cup for rolls, then mix remaining squash with butter, salt, pepper and a touch of sour cream for a delicious and simple side!