Thanksgiving Squash Rolls

This year, try a new spin on the classic dinner roll with these slightly sweet and tender squash rolls.

For my husband and me, Thanksgiving is all about spending time with family and friends. Every year, we pack our bags and head over the river and through the woods to a warm house packed with people, football, card games, and pumpkin pie.

In a Thanksgiving past, my mother-in-law, Charlotte, taught me how to make her mother’s squash rolls. At the time, I’d never even heard of a squash roll. These days, we usually make extra rolls so I can take them to my sister’s house for my side’s celebration as well, so they’ve become a tradition for my side of the family, to boot.

These rolls are a classic dinner roll─slightly sweet, with a toasty crust on top. They pair perfectly with turkey and cranberry sauce, but work just as well with glazed ham and green beans. If your guests don’t gobble them up, they’re fantastic sandwich rolls for leftover turkey. Grandma’s recipe doesn’t specify what kind of squash to use. We usually use butternut squash, but Charlotte says acorn squash or pumpkin would work well too.

Squash Rolls

2-3 dozen, depending on size.

1 c. puréed cooked squash
2 packages of yeast
1/2 c. water
2/3 c. shortening
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 c. lukewarm milk
5 1/2 c. flour

In a large bowl, stir together warm milk, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

To the yeast mixture, add the salt and 2 cups flour. Stir in the eggs, shortening, and squash. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/3 cup at a time, until the dough will pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 – 15 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into equal pieces, and form into round balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Cover the rolls with a clean, damp dish towel, and let rise until doubled in volume, about one hour.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 F. Bake at 400 F for 12 – 15 minutes.

Time: 2 hours.