Monday, August 13, 2012

Apple-Cinnamon Rolls

I usually make these on special occasions, or holidays. It works out perfectly to make them to day before, roll them out, then prep them for the second rise on day #2. Enjoy.

Apple-Cinnamon Rolls

Yields: 12-15 Cinnamon Rolls

**Adapted from a whatscookingamerica recipe


1 cup 2% milk (heated approximately 1 minute in microwave)

1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F.)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

2 eggs, room temperature and beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon Orange extract

5 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten flour (optional)*

3 teaspoons instant active dry yeast

Cinnamon Filling (see recipe below)

Cream Cheese-Butter Frosting (see recipe below)

* The Vital Wheat Gluten helps the sweet bread dough rise better, be more elastic, and easier to roll out.

Standup Mixer Recipe:

In a large bowl or in the bowl of a 5-quart stand mixer, combine all the ingredients in the order given except the Cinnamon Filling and the Butter Frosting. Using a dough hook, mix everything together until a soft dough forms.

Check the dough. It should form a nice elastic ball. If you think the dough is too moist, add additional flour (a tablespoon at a time). The same is true if the dough is looking dry and gnarly. Add warm water (a tablespoon at a time). If you can't judge your dough by looking, stick your finger in and feel the dough. It should be slightly tacky to the touch.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly-oiled surface (I use a nonstick cooking spray), and knead until elastic, approximately 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until double in size.

Butter a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan; set aside.

After dough has risen, roll and stretch the dough into approximately a 15 x 24-inchrectangle.

Brush the 1/2 cup softened butter (listed below in the Cinnamon Filling) over the top of the dough with a rubber spatula or a pastry brush. Sprinkle Cinnamon Filling over the butter on the prepared dough. Starting with long edge, roll up dough; pinch seams to seal. NOTE: Rolling the log too tightly will result in cinnamon rolls whose centers pop up above the rest of them as they bake

With a knife, lightly mark roll into 1 1/2-inch section. Use a sharp knife (I like to use a serrated knife and saw very gently) or slide a 12-inch piece of dental floss or heavy thread underneath. By bringing the ends of the floss up and criss-crossing them at the top of each mark, you can cut through the roll by pulling the strings in opposite directions. Place cut side up in prepared baking pan, flattening them only slightly. The unbaked cinnamon rolls should not touch each other before rising and baking. Do not pack the unbaked cinnamon rolls together.


Refrigerating or Freezing Unbaked Cinnamon Rolls:

At this point, the cinnamon rolls can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight (I've actually made them two days in advance) or frozen for 1 month. Before baking, allow rolls to thaw completely and rise in a warm place if frozen. I have found that I have to take the unbaked frozen cinnamon rolls out of the freezer 10 to 12 hours before planning to bake. I just put the frozen cinnamon rolls (container and rolls) on my counter (not in the refrigerator) overnight for 10 to 12 hours.


If refrigerated, they can be either baked upon removing from the refrigerator or let come to a room temperature (I've done both ways). They do a slow rise overnight and it is not necessary to let them come to room temperature before baking. NOTE: If you rolls are not rising enough after being refrigerated, your yeast may need to be tested. To overcome this, let them rise, while sitting on the counter, until you achieve the desired rising before baking.

Bake Immediately After Making:

Cover and let rise in a warm place for approximately 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in size (after rising, rolls should be touching each other and the sides of the pan).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. for regular oven or 325 degrees F. for a convection oven. 

Bake in a convection oven approximately 15 to 20 minutes until they are a light golden brown.

Baked in a regular oven approximately 20 to 25  minutes in a regular oven until they are a light golden brown.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Spread Butter Frosting over the cinnamon rolls while still warm. Best served warm, but room temperature is also great! 

Yields 12-15 cinnamon rolls.

Cinnamon-Apple Filling:

1/2 cup butter, melted or softened (1 stick)

1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar

4 to 5 tablespoons ground cinnamon

2 yellow-red variety apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into small pieces

In a bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Peel & slice apple, set aside. With a spatula, thinly spread butter on top of dough. Gradually sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture on top of butter dough until the entire piece of dough is saturated evenly. Sprinkle apple pieces on top of dough.

Cream Cheese-Butter Frosting:

4 ounces Cream cheese, room temperature

¼  cup unsalted Butter, room temperature

2 cups powdered (Confectioners) Sugar

1 teaspoon pure Vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon Orange extract

¼ cup Whipping cream or Half n Half

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and orange extract until completely mixed and creamy. Gradually add the half and half or whipping cream, while still mixing and thin the icing to the desired consistency. Refrigerate frosting until ready to use and then bring to room temperature before spreading.

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