Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Jack Daniels-Cream Cheese Icing

by Shawnda on September 12, 2012

in Apples,Bread,Breakfast,Pastry

Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Jack Daniels-Cream Cheese Icing

It’s September! The 9th month of the year is the gateway to sweatshirts, chili, football, and all things pumpkin. But before there’s pumpkin and Halloween candy, there are apples.

This month, Rachel is throwing an Apple a Day party – a group of fabulous bloggers sharing their favorite apple recipes. And my contribution? Breakfast. But not just any breakfast. It’s cinnamon roll meets apple pie meets Jack Daniels.

The cinnamon rolls are dressed up for fall with vanilla bean, brown sugar, apples, and whiskey and then topped with a cream cheese glaze scented with just a little bit more whiskey. It will take you longer to read the recipe title aloud than it will to inhale a cinnamon roll and lick your fingers clean. I speak from experience.

Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Jack Daniels-Cream Cheese Icing

Head on over to Baked by Rachel to check-out the fabulous apple recipe collection.

Happy September!

And seriously. Make those cinnamon rolls this weekend.

Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Jack Daniels Cream Cheese Icing

Celebrate fall with cinnamon rolls filled with apples, brown sugar, and whiskey.


  • For the Dough:
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract (or the scrapings from 1 vanilla pod)
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 4 cups flour (20 oz), plus more for dusting surface
  • 1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray
  • For the Filling:
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 apples (I used Braeburn), peeled and diced into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp Jack Daniels (optional but highly recommended; can omit)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pinch salt
  • For the Icing:
  • 2.5 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 2-3 tsp Jack Daniels (optional; can replace with milk)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, beat the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, vanilla, buttermilk and half the flour together until well combined. Add yeast, salt, and the next 1 1/4 cup flour (leaving about 3/4 cup remaining) and knead on low for 5 minutes.
  2. Add additional flour by the spoonful if necessary - you want the dough soft and moist but not overly sticky. Knead another 5 minutes until the dough clears the sides of the bowl (but might still stick to the bottom a bit).
  3. Transfer dough to a lightly greased, large bowl and let double, 2-2.5 hours.
  4. Just before the dough is finished, make the filling. Melt the butter in a large saute pan and add the diced apple. Crumble 1/2 cup of brown sugar over top and stir in the cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and Jack Daniels. Simmer for 10 minutes, until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and set aside to cool.
  5. Spray or butter a 9-inch pan. Turn out the dough onto your lightly floured work surface. Stretch and roll the dough into a ~12x18 rectangle with the long edge nearest to you.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar over the dough, leaving the top 1-inch bare. Spread the cooled apple mixture over the dough.
  7. Starting with the edge of the dough closest to you, roll the dough into a cylinder and pinch the the seam to seal. Gently press, squeeze, and stretch the roll to get an even thickness.
  8. Cut the roll into 1 1/2-inch slices and place in the baking dish (you'll get 12 rolls). Cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  9. Place the rolls in the oven with the heat off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3 full of boiling water and place it on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven and let the rolls rise for ~30 minutes.
  10. Remove the water pan and rolls from the oven and preheat the oven to 350.
  11. Bake rolls on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.
  12. While the rolls are cooling, beat the cream cheese, milk, Jack Daniels (to taste, 1-2 tsp at a time), and powdered sugar together until smooth. Drizzle over the rolls and serve.
  13. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, tightly covered. Rewarm in the microwave for best results.


Yields: 12 rolls

Adapted from Overnight Cinnamon Rolls



Ham and Cheese Kolache

This week’s Project Pastry Queen challenge was selected by Emily of She Makes and Bakes. And it’s one of my very, very favorite recipes in the entire book: Kolache.

Kolache are czech breakfast pastries that are very popular in Texas. While traditionally topped with a cream cheese or fruit mixture, it was the savory versions that sold out day after day at my parents’ bakery. Sausage, ham and cheese, and jalapeno sausage & cheese were the most popular varieties.

Ham and Cheese Kolache

There’s almost no better breakfast during the summer than a peach kolache but I chose to make a few changes to the recipe and make ham & cheese kolache this week:
– I let the dough rest in the fridge overnight. The recipe suggests at least 4 hours but the long overnight rise makes the dough more flavorful.
– I used 2 oz of dough per kolache (a little smaller than a golf ball), flattened the dough into a circle, and topped with a pinch of shredded cheddar and a spoonful of cubed ham.

Ham and Cheese Kolache

– 1 lb of ham (I got two 1/2-inch slices from the deli counter) and 4 ounces of shredded cheddar will get you about 20 kolache from a half batch of kolache dough.
– Adding fresh jalapeno slices to the filling is optional. Recommended, but optional.

Check out Emily’s blog for the full recipe and see how the other PPQ members tackled kolache this week.



Braided Pesto Bread

by Shawnda on July 18, 2012

in Appetizers,Bread

Braided Pesto Bread Wreath

Fresh bread? 10-minute pesto using a bunch of basil from the garden? Let’s be totally honest, there’s zero chance that something like this ever lasts more than 24 hours here.

Fresh Basil Pesto

The basil in the garden is really, really thriving. And so are the weeds. 12 days of rain out of the last 15 makes everything but the water in the pool happy. Just as the last big storm rolled in the other night, I ran out to the garden and ripped out one of the larger plants to whip up a quick batch of pesto.

And I almost made it back inside before the bottom fell out of the sky. Almost.

Fresh Basil Pesto

I used my favorite recipe for quick french bread and paired it with the last of the pesto. And following the folding technique I found here, I formed the bread into a twisted, braided wreath and then popped it into the oven.

All while praying that the bread didn’t come out looking too much like lady parts. Because sometimes that happens.

Braided Pesto Bread

A note – I was out of parchment paper and should have formed the wreath on the cornmeal-dusted pan that I was baking with… but as you can see from the photos below, I didn’t. Moving it was a total pain and cost me $5 in the swear jar. So don’t do that.
Continue Reading…



Red Wine Burgers

We’re big, big fans of homemade hamburger buns around here. Peek around and you’ll find Chipotle Buns, Jalapeno Cheddar buns, and Shiner Bock buns.

Buns are more than just a vehicle to get from plate to mouth, although that’s their most important job. They’re also an excuse to add another layer of flavor to your burger.

I have to stifle a giggle every time I type “buns.” The scary thing is that I’m the mature one in the relationship :)

Everything Burger & Slider Buns

We took our favorite plain hamburger bun (and killer dinner roll) recipe and topped it with an “everything” mix of dried minced onion and garlic, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and salt. That plain hamburger is suddenly a gourmet burger. And no one had to shell out $15 – or put on pants – to get it!

They make great sandwich rolls but we used the burger buns on an oldie but goodie: the Red Wine Burger. The savory Everything spice mix and grilled tomatoes cut the sweetness and paired nicely with the oaky merlot reduction.

Everything Hamburger Buns

The classic bagel topping transforms an ordinary hamburger bun into a rockstar.


  • For the burger buns:
  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) yeast
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 Tbsp oil (vegetable, canola, or olive) plus more for greasing bowl
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • For the Everything topping:
  • 2 tsp dried minced garlic
  • 2 tsp dried minced onion
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds (I had a black & white mixture)


  1. Add warm water to the bowl of your mixer and sprinkle the yeast over top. Let sit 10 minutes, until frothy.
  2. Add the, oil, 1 egg, and sugar to the bowl.
  3. Add the flour and salt, mixing on medium-low speed with the hook until the dough holds together, about 2 minutes. The dough should clean the sides of the bowl. If not, add additional flour by the Tbsp.
  4. Increase speed to medium and knead the dough for 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer the dough to a large bowl that has been lightly greased with oil.
  6. Cover it with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1-1 1/2 hours.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  8. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
  9. Divide the dough in half and each half into 4-5 pieces (depending on the size of your burgers, I typically get 8-10 full-sized buns per batch or 14 slider buns). A kitchen scale makes this easy: 3 oz for burger buns, 1.75 oz for slider buns.
  10. Roll into rounds and flatten with the palm of your hand onto the baking sheet; placing buns about 1/2-1 inch apart).
  11. Cover with a damp towel and let them rise for 20 minutes + oven preheating time.
  12. Preheat oven to 350.
  13. Mix all ingredients for the Everything topping in a small bowl.
  14. Whisk the remaining egg with 1 Tbsp water.
  15. Brush the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle all of the Everything topping over the buns.
  16. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
  17. Store leftovers in a zip-top bag at room temperature.


Yields: 8-10 burger buns or 14 slider buns

Rolls adapted from The Pastry Queen, Everything topping from Annie's Eats via Pink Parsley

Estimated time: 3 hours