Apple Shortbread Bars

Apple Shortbread BarsEvery year, I get so concentrated on making pumpkin treats that I nearly forget the other flavors of fall! That’s really a shame—what’s fall without maple, pear, sweet potato, and even grape?! I have recipes highlighting each of those flavors (and even more pumpkin things!) on the docket between now and Thanksgiving, but today, I’m all about apples.

Specifically, these Apple Shortbread Bars 🍎🍎🍎

Apple Shortbread BarsThese bars are an autumnal twist on a sweet cherry treat I made this past summer. They’re basically apple pie for people who don’t have the time and energy to make apple pie…like me right now.

Apple Shortbread BarsWhile I love the process of making pie (and eating pie, duh), I rarely have the time to do so. Between making and chilling the dough, preparing the filling, baking, and cooling, pie can easily be a 4+ hour commitment. Unless it’s a holiday, or I’ve somehow curbed my procrastination 😬😬, that simply isn’t going to happen.

Apple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread Bars are very mid-week-pie-craving-friendly. From peeling and dicing the apples…

Apple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread Barsto stirring them into a perfectly-spiced filling…

Apple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread Barsto making an easy four-ingredient brown sugar shortbread…

Apple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread Barsto assembling and baking…

Apple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread Barsto cooling, and slicing…

Apple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread BarsApple Shortbread Barsthese bars take just a couple of hours.

Apple Shortbread BarsYep, that’s how you get your homemade apple pie fix on a Wednesday.Apple Shortbread Bars

Apple Shortbread Bars
makes one 9-inch pan, about 9-16 bars

Filling:
2 large baking apples,* peeled and 1/2-inch diced (about 3 cups of apple chunks)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Shortbread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes

Place oven racks in top and bottom positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil, leaving overhang on two sides. Grease foil with butter. Set aside.

Make apple filling. In a large mixing bowl, combine diced apples and apple cider vinegar. Fold in light brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cornstarch. Set aside while you make the shortbread.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, light brown sugar, and salt. Add cold butter. Use your fingertips to rub butter into flour until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. It will be powdery, but should hold together when pinched. Set aside 1 cup of the mixture for topping.

Pour remaining shortbread mixture into prepared pan. Spread it around to cover the bottom of the pan before using your hand to pack it down into an even layer. Prick several times with a fork. Spoon apples over the top, leaving behind any excess liquid.

For the topping, use your fingers to pinch together small portions of the reserved shortbread mixture. Scatter them over the top of the apple layer.

Bake bars on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Move bars to the top rack and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes, until browned. Tent with foil if anything begins to brown too quickly. Let bars cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature.

Use foil overhang to remove bars to a cutting board. Carefully peel off foil. Use a large, sharp chef’s knife to slice into squares. Serve.

Leftover Apple Shortbread Bars will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to four. They will soften over time.

Note:

I like to use two different varieties of apple for a more complex flavor. For these bars, I used a tart Granny Smith and a sweet Honeycrisp.

Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}I must have pancakes on the brain. Last week, I posted this single-serving pancake recipe, and thanks to the response I got, I have spent the last week working on another. If I ever get the banana version to quit sticking to the pan, I’ll put it on here.

Until then, let’s talk about this Caramel Apple Puff Pancake. Oh, y’all. It is good. Goooood. Like apple pie meets caramel meets the best weekend breakfast there is. You’re going to want to make it for every weekend and holiday brunch you have for the rest of the season because it. is. ridiculous.

Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}It all starts with a classic Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby} batter. Puff Pancakes are a family favorite. They’re super easy to make and very impressive. The batter comes together in a food processor (or blender) before being poured into a screaming hot pan. Then, it’s baked for about twenty minutes until it puffs up. When it comes out of the oven, it quickly deflates, leaving behind a beautifully browned pancake with a soft custard-like center and chewy edges. It’s a thing to behold and is perfect with some confectioner’s sugar and maple syrup (or lemon juice). It really doesn’t need to be messed with. But we all know that’s not really my style.

Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Here, the traditional batter is poured into the pan and then sprinkled with sliced apples that have been tossed with sugar and pie spices–basically pie filling without a thickener. As the pancake bakes, it envelops the sliced apples. When it comes out of the oven, it’s basically the most autumnal thing ever. A drizzle of caramel sauce is all it needs to bring it over the top.

Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Now, of course you may use store-bought caramel sauce (I hear Trader Joe’s has a good one), but I am here to convince you to make your own. It’s quick, easy, involves minimal ingredients, and is SO much better than anything you could get near the ice cream toppings. I swear. All you do is melt some sugar over medium-high heat, stirring until it becomes a dark copper color (but doesn’t burn). Then, whisk in a bunch of butter. Take the pan off the heat and whisk in some cream. It’ll bubble up violently, but just keep whisking and it’ll calm down and become a smooth, luxurious sauce. Whisk in some vanilla and salt, and then pour it on everything.

Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}The best pieces of advice I can give you for making homemade caramel?

  • Use a silver or white saucepan so you can see the sugar changing color.
  • Wear an oven mit. Molten caramel burns a lot more than boiling water.
  • Don’t step away from the caramel, even for a second. It can burn in the blink of an eye.

If I haven’t scared you away, please try this caramel sauce. It comes together in a matter of minutes and really is worth the (minimal) effort…especially when it’s drizzled over this perfectly spiced apple puff pancake.Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Caramel Apple Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}
makes 4-6 servings*

Apples:
2 large baking apples,* peeled, 1/4-inch slices
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Puff Pancake Batter:
4 large eggs
1 cup milk (not skim or fat free)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3-4 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons butter (unsalted or salted)

Caramel Sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Place a large ovenproof cast iron or stainless steel pan in a cold oven. Preheat oven to 400F.

Prepare the apples. In a medium mixing bowl, use your hands to toss apple slices and vinegar together. Sprinkle sugar, spices, and salt over the top and toss to combine. Set aside.

Prepare the pancake batter. In the bowl of a food processor or high-powered blender*, combine eggs, milk, vanilla, flour, sugar, and salt. Process 30 seconds, or until no lumps remain. Let batter rest five minutes.

Once oven has reached 400F, remove the hot pan and add butter. Place pan back in the oven for 60-90 seconds, until butter has melted. Remove pan from the oven, and swirl the butter so it coats the pan. Pour in batter. Scatter apples over the top, leaving any excess liquid in the bowl. Bake 19-20 minutes, until puffed and golden. Do NOT open the oven door during baking.

While the pancake is baking, make the caramel sauce. Place sugar in a 2-3 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk sugar until the sugar melts and turns a deep copper color. Whisk in butter until completely incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in heavy cream. Caramel will bubble violently, but will quickly relax into a smooth sauce. Whisk in vanilla and salt. Transfer sauce to a jar.

Let pancake cool 2-5 minutes before slicing. Drizzle individual portions with caramel sauce and serve immediately.

Caramel sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Notes:

1. If you’d like to make a 3-4 serving puff, use 3 large eggs, 3/4 cup milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons butter. Use the same amount of apples. Follow all instructions as written, changing the baking time to 18-19 minutes.

2. I used one tart apple (Granny Smith) and one sweet apple (McIntosh).

3. If you do not have a food processor or blender, you may whisk all of the ingredients together and then push them through a wire mesh sieve to remove any lumps of flour. Let batter rest five minutes before proceeding as written.

Mini Apple Upside-Down Cakes {Vegan}

Mini Apple Upside-Down Cakes {Vegan}Last Friday, I took the day off from work and went on a day-trip upstate with a few girlfriends, including fellow food blogger, Nimai Larson. She and I have known each other for a couple of years now. When she’s not busy making music and touring with her band, Prince Rama, Nimai loves to spend time whipping up vegan recipes. She’s an absolute doll!

Mini Apple Upside-Down Cakes {Vegan}Mini Apple Upside-Down Cakes {Vegan}Our original plan for our upstate adventure had been to go apple- and pumpkin-picking, but it was raining, so we ended up grabbing a few bushels of sweet Macoun and McIntosh apples at Salinger’s Orchard in Brewster, New York. Then we set up camp in the kitchen of our friend Katrina’s family home and did some serious baking.

Nimai and I had a bit of difficulty coming up with something to bake together–apple pies and crisps often require a combination of sweet and tart apples, but tart apples won’t be available at Salinger’s until later in the season. We racked our brains and tore through our recipe archives before settling on upside-down cake. Nimai had brought along a mini-loaf pan, so we divided the batter into it and these Mini Apple Upside-Down Cakes were born!

Mini Apple Upside-Down Cakes {Vegan}Mini Apple Upside-Down Cakes {Vegan}Mini Apple Upside-Down Cakes {Vegan}These sweet little cakes start with a batter similar to the base of my Mango Upside-Down Cake. Here it’s made vegan–a mixture of flaxseed (or chia) and water replaces the eggs and non-dairy milk is used in place of the usual buttermilk. A combination of maple syrup and granulated sugar sweetens the cakes, although you may nix the syrup and use brown sugar in place of the white stuff. The batter is scented with apple pie spices and a bit of fresh-pressed apple cider before being spooned over sliced sweet apples and a subtly-spiced maple caramel.

These Mini Apple Upside-Down Cakes bake up super soft and puffy, and they’re just gorgeous. My favorite part about this recipe is that these little cakes may be served warm–Nimai, Katrina, Selena, and I loved snacking on them before taking the rainy drive back to Brooklyn.

Mini Apple Upside-Down Cakes {Vegan}Mini Apple Upside-Down Cakes {Vegan}Make a little time to bake these Mini Apple Upside-Down Cakes this fall! And let Nimai and me know if you try this recipe: @nimailarson and @e2bakesbrooklyn on Instagram 💗Mini Apple Upside-Down Cakes {Vegan}

Mini Apple Upside-Down Cakes {Vegan}
makes 10-12 mini loaf cakes

For the pan:
1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Apple Layer:
1 sweet apple, 1/4-inch slices
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground allspice
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Cake Batter:
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed or chia
6 tablespoons water
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh-pressed apple cider
1/2 cup soy or almond milk

Preheat oven to 350F. In a small bowl, whisk together oil and flour. Use a pastry brush to brush the inside of an 8-loaf mini-loaf pan. Set aside.

Make the apple layer. Combine apple slices and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl, and cover with cold water. Set aside.

Combine Earth Balance, sugar, and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until no longer grainy (3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt. Divide caramel among loaf pans (about 1 1/2 tablespoons each), and spread to cover the bottom of the pan. Set aside.

Make the cake. In a small bowl, whisk together flaxseed and water. Set aside for at least five minutes, until thickened.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat Earth Balance until light and fluffy. Mix in sugar and maple syrup, followed by flaxseed mixture, vanilla, apple cider, and non-dairy milk. Whisk in dry ingredients until incorporated.

Drain apple slices and blot dry with paper towels. Lay 3-4 slices into each mini loaf (it’s okay if they overlap a bit). Fill 2/3 full with cake batter. Bake 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let sit 15 minutes. Run a small, thin knife around the edges of each mini-loaf before inverting onto a large pan. Repeat baking process with any remaining batter.

Enjoy cakes warm or at room temperature.

Cranberry Apple Pie

Welcome back to pie season! In the last couple of weeks I’ve posted my go-to Cream Cheese Pie Dough, a Pumpkin Pie that is super light and fluffy thanks to the addition of whipped egg whites, and a showstopper Black Bottom Pear & Almond Pie. Yum! Make sure to check them out while you’re writing your Thanksgiving menu! Today, I’m bringing you a pie that is sweet and tart thanks to a mixture of apples and juicy fresh cranberries. Apples, cranberries, orange, and spices? Sign. me. up.

This recipe starts out like most do, by rolling out pie dough. Fit it in a pie plate, and trim the edges to 1-inch. Since this is a double crust pie, we need extra long edges for a good crimp. Put the bottom crust in the fridge to chill while we make the filling.


  

Peel some apples. In this pie, I used two Granny Smith, two Honey Crisp, and one Golden Delicious. In a regular apple pie, I’d use more tart apples (like Granny Smith), than sweet, but as we’re adding all those tart cranberries, I figured it was better to go sweet. Dice the apples into 1/2-inch pieces and set them in a large mixing bowl. In a traditional apple pie, I would slice the apples, but here I recommend chunking them so that they are similar in size and shape to the cranberries–this promotes even baking. Rinse some fresh cranberries and pick over them to remove any that aren’t in great shape. Place the cranberries in the bowl with the apples. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and arrowroot powder. I use arrowroot powder as the thickener in my fruit pies, but if you don’t have any, use an equal volume of cornstarch or instant tapioca. Zest and juice an orange. Pour your sugar and spice mixture, orange zest and juice into the bowl with the apples and cranberries. Use your clean hands to toss everything together.

Let the filling sit at room temperature for thirty minutes to release some excess liquid. If we put the filling into the crust without letting some of the liquid drain off, our filling will seep out of the crust while the pie bakes and bake/burn itself onto the bottom of the oven. No thank you! Also, our filling will shrink down below the top crust, leaving a huge gap between the top crust and the bottom. Again, no thank you! So, once the filling has sat for a while, drain off the excess liquid (there will be a lot!) before putting the filling in the prepared bottom crust. Dot the filling with butter (I forgot and had to dot with butter after the top crust was on 😁). Put the filled pie plate back in the refrigerator and roll out the top crust.

Roll out the top crust dough to a 12-inch diameter. From here, you can either place the whole crust over the top of the pie or get a little fancier. For a full top crust, lay the rolled dough over the filling, trim and crimp the edges, and cut a few vents (lest you have an exploding pie) before proceeding. If you want to do something a little more exciting, cut your dough into 1/2-inch strips. Lattice crusts are classic and simple to weave. Deb Perelman has written a great tutorial, if that’s the route you’d like to take.


I have been into braided top crusts lately. To achieve a braided top, take three strips at a time and lay them on a floured surface. Gently (very gently) braid the strips together. Set the finished braids aside while you complete the rest of them (I made five). Lay the braids (or the lattice) on top of the pie and trim the ends.


  

Remember those extra long edges we left on the bottom crust? Fold them in toward the filling, effectively enveloping the ends of your decorative top crust. Once this is finished, crimp the edges and brush the exposed crust with cream before sprinkling with additional sugar. Put the pie in the fridge while you preheat the oven. Bake the pie for 45 minutes to an hour, until the apples are tender, the cranberries are bursting, and the crust is golden brown. If the crust starts to get too dark during baking, loosely tent it in foil.

Let the pie cool for at least four hours before slicing and serving. I know warm pie is tempting, but the pie needs to be room temperature or cold to slice nicely. Each slice can be quickly warmed in the microwave, if you’re not into cold pie. I don’t know about you, but I am into pie at any temperature.

Cranberry Apple Pie is fantastic with whipped cream. Or a la mode. Or with caramel sauce. Or with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar. Or plain. Or with yogurt for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving. What?! There’s fruit in there! It’s totally breakfast-appropriate. Trust me.

Cranberry Apple Pie
makes one 9″ pie

1 recipe Cream Cheese Pie Dough*
2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
5 cups peeled, diced apples (1/2-inch dice)*
1 cup fresh cranberries
juice and zest of one large orange
3-4 tablespoons arrowroot powder*
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
Cream or milk, for brushing

On a floured surface, roll 1 disc of cream cheese pie dough so that it is 12 inches in diameter. Fit it in a standard pie plate, and trim the overhang to 1 inch. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cinnamon, spices, salt, and arrowroot powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sliced apples and fresh cranberries. Toss with sugar/spice mixture and orange juice and zest. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for about thirty minutes to release excess liquid. When the time is up, dispose of the excess liquid. Transfer the filling to the bottom pie crust. Dot with butter and refrigerate.

Roll out the second crust to a 12-inch diameter. Slice the dough into 1/2-inch thick strips. Lay them on the top of the pie in a decorative pattern.* Fold the bottom crust overhang over the ends of your strips so that the edges are about 1/2 inch all the way around. Crimp the edges. Brush the exposed crust with milk or cream, and sprinkle with sugar. Refrigerate the pie while the oven preheats.

Place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the pie on the top rack and bake for 45-60 minutes, until the cranberries are bursting, the apples are tender, and the crust is cooked. If the top crust starts to get too dark at any point, loosely cover the top of the pie with foil for the remainder of the baking time.

Let pie cool on a rack for at least three hours before slicing and serving. Pie will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Notes:

1. I prefer my Cream Cheese Pie Dough, but any good pie crust will do.
2. I use a combination of sweet and tart apples, the majority being sweet. I recommend Honey Crisp, Macintosh, or Golden Delicious for the sweet variety, and Granny Smith for the tart. See more information on baking apples here.
3. If you do not have or do not want to use arrowroot powder, I recommend an equal volume of cornstarch or instant tapioca. Looking for arrowroot in Brooklyn? Take a trip to Sahadi’s.
4. I have linked to a lattice top tutorial in the content above. If you would like to braid your crust, braid three strips at a time and lay them over the filling before proceeding. 

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls

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I woke up at 7:30am yesterday needing apple pie. This wasn’t just a craving–I needed it. Quickly. And for all the great things that can be said about pie, its speed of preparation is not one of them. My first thoughts were putting apples in oatmeal, or making an apple compote to go over yogurt. And while both of those are great options, they just sounded too…healthy. So instead, I stuffed all the flavors of apple pie into cinnamon rolls and ate two before 10:30am. It was the right thing to do.

These rolls are just…so good. The dough is soft and sweet, with a little extra chew and puff from the addition of bread flour. The filling is full of soft apples, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. And the glaze. Oh, the glaze! It’s made with fresh pressed apple cider and touch of heavy cream to bring these rolls over the top. The very best part? They can be on your table in two and a half hours or less without too much effort. The recipe is long, but there is very little active prep time. Perfect for a lazy autumn weekend breakfast. Or, if you’re me, an autumn Thursday morning breakfast.

Let’s start with the simple yeast dough. Yes, I used “simple” and “yeast” in the same sentence. Yes, I did it on purpose. Yeast can be intimidating–I was too afraid to try working with it until three years ago when I watched my boyfriend fearlessly make fantastic pizza dough. After that, I decided to be brave and make some myself, and you know what? Yeast is nothing to be afraid of. It’s just another leavener, like baking soda or baking powder. For this recipe, we use instant yeast, which is even easier to use than regular active dry yeast. To make the dough, you just stir together all purpose flour, bread flour, sugar, salt, and one packet of instant yeast. You warm milk, water, and butter just until it is hot to the touch, and then stir that and an egg into the flour mixture, adding a little more flour to achieve a soft, smooth dough. Knead it all for five minutes or so, then let the dough rest for a few minutes. This is only a rest–because we are using instant yeast, this dough only needs one rise! While it’s resting, make the filling.

To get the soft-but-not-gummy texture of good apple pie filling, sauté apples in butter for twenty minutes. While those are cooling a bit, stir dark brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and a little salt into softened butter. Then roll out your dough, spread on the butter, and sprinkle it all with the soft apples. Then all you have to do is roll up the dough, slice it, and place it in a pie plate to rise for 60-90 minutes, until the rolls have doubled in size.

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Take a break. You just made scratch cinnamon rolls–you deserve a break. Make yourself some coffee, read the paper, stalk your friends on Facebook. When the rising time is up, put the rolls in a 375F oven for 30 minutes while you make the glaze.

The glaze is super easy and totally amazing. Just stir together apple cider, heavy cream, and vanilla, then whisk in confectioner’s sugar and a pinch of salt. That’s it. Easy. You can make it as thin or thick as you like by adding more apple cider or confectioner’s sugar. When the rolls come out of the oven, pour the glaze over, put a roll (or two) on a plate and prepare for pure autumnal breakfast bliss.

imageThese keep well for two days, covered at room temperature. The glaze may soak into the rolls, but they will still be soft, sweet, and totally decadent when you grab the last one out of the pan on your way to work on Monday. The apple flavor will even improve over time. Make these for your family and friends this weekend! And invite me over, please 😊

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Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls
adapted from Easy Cinnamon Rolls and Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls on Sally’s Baking Addiction
makes 13 rolls or one 9″ round pan

Filling:

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 large apples, peeled and cut into a 1/2 inch dice*
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Dough:

1 1/4-1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup bread flour*
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast*
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup milk (I use whole milk)
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg, room temperature

Glaze:

1/4 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

Start making the filling. Cut four tablespoons of butter into small cubes and set aside to soften.

Melt one tablespoon of butter in a medium sauté pan over low heat. Add in diced apples and cook, stirring frequently, until they are soft. Spread apples on a plate and set aside to cool until they are no longer hot to the touch.

Mash softened butter cubes with a fork. Stir in dark brown sugar, spices, and salt. Set aside.

Start making the dough. Set aside 1/2 cup of the all purpose flour. In a large mixing bowl, stir together 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour, bread flour, granulated sugar, salt, and yeast. In a small saucepan*, heat water, milk, and 2 1/2 tablespoons of butter over low heat until the mixture reaches 115F. Remove from heat and stir into the flour mixture. Stir in egg. Add reserved all purpose flour in 2 tablespoon increments until the dough is smooth and soft*, pulling away from the side of the bowl when stirred. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes. Form dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

Grease a 9″ pie plate and set aside. Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll dough into an 8″x14″ rectangle. Spread softened butter mixture over the entire surface of the dough. Spread apples over the softened butter.

Starting at the long edge of the dough furthest from your body, roll the dough tightly toward yourself until you have one long tube. Using a large, sharp knife (not serrated) cut 1″ rolls. Place cut rolls in prepared pie plate. Loosely tent with foil.

Place rolls in a warm, draft-free place to rise for 60-90 minutes, until they have doubled in size.

Once the rolls have risen, preheat the oven to 375F. Bake rolls for 25-30 minutes, tenting with foil at 15 minutes if the tops are getting too brown.

Mix together the glaze. Stir together apple cider, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Using a fork, whisk in confectioner’s sugar and salt until smooth*. Pour over warm rolls. Enjoy.

Notes:

  1. I use one tart apple, like Granny Smith, and one sweet apple, like Honeycrisp.
  2. I use Fleischmann’s RapidRise Instant Yeast.
  3. If you do not have bread flour, all purpose flour may be substituted. Your rolls may not be as soft and chewy as if you’d used the bread flour, but they will still be delicious.
  4. You can also heat the milk mixture in the microwave in 20 second increments. I do not have a microwave, so I do not know how long it will take to reach 115F.
  5. I usually need 6 tablespoons of the reserved flour to achieve the desired consistency.
  6. Add more apple cider or confectioner’s sugar for a thinner or thicker glaze.