Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Well, I am proud to say that I have now made cinnamon rolls, from scratch, without the aid of a bread machine or any other type of "cheating." It's a miracle! Of course, never one to stick to the traditional, I opted to make these ooey gooey Apple Cinnamon Rolls, and they were divine.

These rolls incorporate a sweet, sticky filling of caramel and finely chopped apples into the proceedings, rather than the standard butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture. Just before baking, the rolls are sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, but without all that butter inside, these rolls actually are a little bit better for you, too!

Of course, they certainly don't taste healthy. These are oozy, melty, and decadent just as they are. The apples add just enough tart texture to make them complementary to the sweetness, rather than detract from it. If you're looking for an excuse to use up some fall apples this year, I highly recommend these rolls. Plus, as far as yeast dough-type things to make, I found this to be very doable and not difficult at all.

I'm so happy that I'm finally beginning to conquer my fear of yeast, and these rolls are baked proof that the results are well worth the effort. The recipe makes two pans' worth of rolls, so I was able to bake one pan after an overnight rise, and then I froze the other pan for a rainy day. Oh, and one final note: the caramel/apple mixture that serves as the filling is to die for, and has become the inspiration for yet another decadent treat that you will be seeing me blog about in the near future. Look for it soon!

Apple Cinnamon Rolls
from Breadworld
makes 24 rolls (2 pans)

For the rolls:
5 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 1/2 tsp. RapidRise yeast (2 envelopes)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine
3 large eggs

For the apple filling:
2 large cooking apples, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

For the cinnamon sugar topping:
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Make the apple filling: 1. Combine the apples, flour, sugar, and butter or margarine in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg; cool completely.

Make the rolls: 1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, and salt. In a saucepan on the stove, heat the water, milk, and butter until very warm (120 to 130 degrees F). Gradually add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed with an electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs and 1 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.

2. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Roll each portion into 12x8-inch rectangle. Spread Apple Filling evenly. Beginning at long end of each, roll up tightly, jelly-roll style. Pinch seams to seal. Cut each roll into 12 equal pieces. Place, cut sides up, in greased 9-inch round pans. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. (After covering the pans, they can be frozen at this point, or if you're preparing this in the evening for the next morning, you can refrigerate these overnight.)

Prepare cinnamon sugar topping and bake rolls: 1. In a small bowl, combine all of the cinnamon sugar ingredients, then stir well to fully incorporate.

2. Sprinkle the risen rolls with the cinnamon sugar topping. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until browned on top. Remove from pans; serve warm.

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