In case you weren’t aware, apples are a favorite around here. I eat an apple every single day (even in the off-season, which I hate to admit). So when Fall finally rolls around and local US-grown apples begin to fill the fruit stands, I bake with them as often as I can.
Cinnamon rolls aren’t something I grew up eating. To be honest, my earliest memory of a cinnamon roll is located in the middle of a suburban food court. Thankfully, when I learned to bake, I made a batch of cinnamon rolls early on. My house smelled just as delicious as those ubiquitous cinnabons, and I couldn’t believe that I could produce something even lovelier (with real, normal ingredients too!)
Last night, after a long day of teaching, I knew I needed to bake to unwind. With cooler days increasing my desire for comfort food, cinnamon rolls floated to the top of my list. But then I thought of my beloved apples; I wanted to do something with the apples sitting in my fridge. And so, I decided to grate an apple. Grated apple can do wonders in quick breads…and I thought, why not try adding one to the dough of my cinnamon rolls? And just as I hoped…the grated apple added moisture and just the right amount of flavor. We enjoyed these apple cinnamon rolls with a drizzle of maple syrup the next morning.
Apple Cinnamon Rolls
1 packet instant yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup lukewarm whole milk
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1 large apple, peeled and grated (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons milk, to brush on dough
Vanilla Glaze (optional):
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 to 5 tablespoons heavy cream
Combine the yeast, the lukewarm water, the lukewarm milk, the flours, the butter, the sugar, the salt, the potato flakes, and the grated apple. Mix and knead everything together–by hand or mixer–till you have a smooth dough. This will take about seven minutes if you are kneading with your stand mixer. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise till it has nearly doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours.
While the dough is rising, grease two nine-inch cake pans. Make the filling by combining the coconut sugar and cinnamon.
Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface and pat it into a 16″ x 12″ rectangle. Brush the dough with the two teaspoons of milk and sprinkle the filling over the dough, covering the entire surface. Roll the dough into a log the long way. It will stretch to about 20″ as you roll.
Using a serrated knife, slice the log into 16 slices. Space eight rolls in each of the prepared pans. Flatten them slightly. Cover the pans and let them rise for an additional 1 1/2 to 2 hours. They should spread out and start to crowd each other. While the rolls are rising, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the rolls until they’re golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the rolls from the oven, loosen their edges with a knife, and turn pan onto a rack. Spread with icing (simply combine powdered sugar with vanilla and cream) and serve.