Sunday, October 23, 2011

Apple-Cinnamon Rolls

Eric and I went apple picking last weekend, and I've had a bag of apples sitting on my counter ever since. We've finally started to have some seasonably cool temperatures of late, and that always makes me want some warm comfort food. This is my favorite cinnamon roll recipe due to it's ease and low calorie nature. I decided to fuss around with a few of the ingredients and use up one of those gigantic Hampshire Mac apples, and tada! These were born.
Apple-Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from Cooking Light's October 2009 Issue

1 cup (240ML) warm unsweetened vanilla almond milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 package quick-rise yeast
16.9 ounces (~3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

7.5 ounces apple, skinless and diced fine
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons melted butter

1. To prepare rolls, combine milk, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let the mixture stand 5 minutes. Add the egg and remaining sugar into the bowl, then weigh in 4.5 ounces (1 cup) of flour. Let stand covered for 10 minutes.

2. Add 11.25 ounces (2.5 cups) flour and salt to the milk mixture. Using the dough hook attachment, stir until a soft dough forms. Turn the speed just above mixing on the machine and add in the remaining 1.15 ounces of flour a tablespoon at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. It should spring back at your touch when it's ready.

3. Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Cover and let the dough rice in a warm place (85°) that is free of drafts for 35 minutes or until doubled in size. I recommend heating 2 cups of water to boiling in your microwave, pushing it off to the side and placing the bowl in here. It ensures a warm environment and no drafts.

4. Punch the dough down, cover and let rise again for 35 minutes or until doubled in size. If you're using the microwave as your proofing box, make sure you reheat the water to boiling before placing your bowl back in.

5. Punch the dough down and let it rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile combine the apple, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set it aside.

6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into an 18"x11" rectangle. Brush the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over the dough and evenly distribute the apple-cinnamon sugar mixture over the dough.

7. Beginning with either long side of the dough, roll it up tightly, jelly roll style. Pinch the seam to seal, but do not seal the ends of the roll. Cut the dough into 16-18 slices. Arrange 8-9 of the slices into 2 (8-inch) square or round baking dishes coated with cooking spray. Loosely cover the rolls and allow to rise in a warm place for 35 minutes or until doubled in size. Again, if you're using the microwave as a proofing box, remember to reheat your two cups of water!

8. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

9. Uncover the rolls and bake at 350° for 22 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

10. Eat delicious rolls!

This is the first time I've ever substituted almond milk for milk in a yeasted recipe. I wasn't sure if it would work at first, but I went for it since I don't usually keep skim milk on hand. Surprisingly, they turned out just as good as always. The original recipe has icing but I actually think that cinnamon buns don't really need icing. I'd much rather taste the caramelized cinnamon sugar filling than the icing.

What's your favorite fall-themed baked good? Let me know in a comment down below! :)