These Martha Stewart-approved cinnamon rolls are made with … mashed potatoes?

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The secret to light and fluffy cinnamon rolls, according to Martha Stewart, is a lot of love and a little bit of … mashed potato. One medium russet potato, to be exact.

In a post from December, the Martha Stewart Instagram account shared a photo of a cinnamon roll recipe from food editor, Lauryn Tyrell, saying, "Meet your latest baking project: our lightest, fluffiest cinnamon rolls ever. The addition of mashed potatoes is our secret to its ultra-light texture."

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In the recipe, published by Martha Stewart Living in 2018, an eight-ounce potato is peeled and cut into one-inch pieces. After boiling and mashing, the potato is added to a mixture of butter, milk, yeast, sugar egg, flour and salt to create the dough.

Then comes the rising.

When I attempted this intriguing recipe at home, I joked that you'd need to really sit down and plan the rising times into your schedule: There's an initial rise, followed by rolling the dough, adding a cinnamon and brown sugar filling and slicing the whole thing into beautiful cinnamon rolls.

These decadent cinnamon rolls were a labor of love — but well worth it. (Terri Peters)
These decadent cinnamon rolls were a labor of love — but well worth it. (Terri Peters)

Then, you guessed it, more rising: The rolls hang out for eight hours (overnight, in my case) in the refrigerator.

The next morning, I removed my rolls from the fridge and let them rise on the counter for another hour and a half. Finally, it was time to pop the potato-filled treats into a 350 F oven.

While the cinnamon rolls baked for about 30 minutes, I mixed up the cream cheese glaze included in the recipe. I'm gonna be honest: It was very hard to resist licking it right off the spatula while I waited for the rolls to finish baking.

After cooling and glazing the fresh, golden-brown rolls, the recipe recommended letting them sit for another 20 minutes: "This completes the cooking process and yields tender and airy, not gummy, buns," it reads.

While I couldn't really taste potato in the cinnamon rolls, the addition definitely changed up the texture. (Terri Peters)
While I couldn't really taste potato in the cinnamon rolls, the addition definitely changed up the texture. (Terri Peters)

For those keeping score at home, I was nearly 14 hours into the process at this point. Was it worth it? Absolutely.

The cinnamon rolls had a unique, subtly starchy flavor that I can only assume was the mashed potato's doing. The texture was light, almost crispy and flaky — again, thanks to the potato — with the butter and cinnamon-sugar filling caramelizing beautifully around the edges.

While they required a good amount of work in the kitchen, these rolls turned out to be a rewarding project. After all, any time I can work potatoes into my breakfast, that's a morning win for me.

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