These pull-aparts are sweet and buttery enough to please even the most stubborn self-proclaimed vegetable hater -- even though they're made with (shhh) squash. Food writer Judith M. Fertig adapted the holiday-staple recipe from one made by her great-grandmother.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, and salt, and set it aside.
Pour the milk into a microwave-safe bowl or 4-cup glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Whisk in the honey, squash, egg, and water. (The liquid mixture should be less than 110º; anything hotter might kill the yeast.)
With a fork, blend the squash mixture into the flour mixture until you have a soft dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Two hours before baking, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead 6 sage leaves into the dough. Melt the butter and set it aside in a small bowl. Divide the dough in half, then divide each half into 6 portions. Divide each portion into 3 pieces. With floured hands, roll each piece into a ball and dip it into the melted butter. Place 3 balls in a muffin cup. Continue until 12 muffin cups are filled.
Drizzle or brush each roll with 1/2 teaspoon of the leftover melted butter and then sprinkle them with the rest of the sage. Let the rolls rise in a warm spot (at least 70º) until they're double in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The 3 balls of dough will rise together to form a cloverleaf shape.
Heat the oven to 350º. Bake the rolls until golden, about 15 to 17 minutes. Makes 1 dozen.