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.
Head on over to Baked by Rachel to check-out the fabulous apple recipe collection.
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
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
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.
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).
Transfer dough to a lightly greased, large bowl and let double, 2-2.5 hours.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Remove the water pan and rolls from the oven and preheat the oven to 350.
Bake rolls on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.
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.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, tightly covered. Rewarm in the microwave for best results.
I feel like it wasn’t all that long ago, my girlfriends and I were sitting around at lunch, deciding how we were going to squeeze 8 girls into a hotel room barely big enough for 1… but cost like it should hold 39. Discussions of grabbing odds on who’d be the first Hand Grenade victim, who’d be the first back to the hotel (I wanted the bed!), and who wouldn’t stumble back ’til day break because she couldn’t remember the name of the hotel (ahem, yeah… I’m so sure that’s why she was out all night).
Only it really was that long ago. And I’ll be honest. I’m totally okay with that. Most of the time
So I took my friend Erica’s King Cake recipe and made just a few changes to end up with King Cake Cupcakes. The dough in this recipe is on the lighter side and that made it ideal to form into individual king cakes. You get a sweet, light pastry dough that rises and domes beautifully as a cupcake. (They’re “cupcakes” in name only, they definitely have a more pastry/cinnamon roll-like texture than cake-like).
Filled with a cinnamon-cream cheese mixture and topped with a light glaze, they’re a far safer and much cheaper way to celebrate Mardi Gras.
Where there are no Hand Grenades.
King Cake Cupcakes
Cupcakes inspired by the Mardi Gras favorite: sweet pastry dough filled with cream cheese and cinnamon.
For the dough:
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar, divided
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) yeast
1 egg yolk
4 Tbsp butter, melted
3 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting work surface
1 tsp salt
Oil or cooking spray, for coating bowl
For the cream cheese filling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened (I used reduced-fat)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1 rounded tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp melted butter
For the glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3-4 tsp water
Decorating sugar in yellow, purple and green
Add water and 1 Tbsp sugar to the bowl of your stand mixer. Sprinkle yeast over top and let stand for 10 minutes. (If your yeast doesn't get puffy, don't keep going - buy new yeast.)
Add melted butter, egg, egg yolk, remaining sugar, 3 cups flour, and salt, and then turn the mixer to low.
Add only enough extra flour to get the dough to clean the sides of the bowl but not come completely off the bottom - it should be only slightly sticky when you touch it.
Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled (45 minutes-1 hour in my 100-degree oven). While dough is rising, make the filling.
Place filling ingredients into the mixer bowl (minus the melted butter) and mix on medium-high until completely smooth, 1-2 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 and line 2 cupcake pans with 18 liners.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times.
Stretch to a rectangle about 18x12 and brush with 2 Tbsp melted butter, leaving the top 1-inch dry.
Spread cream cheese filling over the dough evenly, leaving the top 1-inch dry.
Starting with the long side of the dough closest to you, roll jelly-roll style, pinching the last inch of the dough onto the roll and placing seam-down on the counter.
Lightly pat/pull so that the roll is even diameter down its length.
Trim the scraggly ends and then slice into rounds that are ~3/4-1 inch thick. Take care that they don't get any thicker than that, the rolls should sit level/just below level of the cupcake pan. Any taller and they'll grow too tall in the oven and fall over.
Transfer the rounds to the cupcake pans and let rest while the oven preheats to 375.
Bake ~25 minutes, until lightly browned and nicely domed.
Remove from the oven and let cool ~10 minutes in the pan.
Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
To make the glaze, whisk powdered sugar, vanilla, and gradually add the water until you get a smooth and thick but scoopable glaze.
Dip the tops of the cupcakes in the glaze (or spoon over top) and then sprinkle with decorating sugar. Like cinnamon rolls, they're best in the first 2 days. If you're bringing them to a party, ice/sugar them the night before. When stored in an airtight container for much longer than that, the sugar and glaze will begin to melt from the pastry moisture. Delicious still, just not as cute.
I’ve done us all a favor and deleted the previous 4 paragraphs. I went all tangenty about the first company I worked for and might have mentioned how they knew exactly how many times you went to the bathroom each day because you had to use a keypad to get from the cube farm to the bathroom areas. Believe it or not, that actually started as a post about apple dumplings. And so it shall be.
The cafeteria at that company served the best apple dumplings. And if you weren’t standing in line before 11:30, you were out of luck. They were softball-sized apples with the empty core stuffed with sugar, cinnamon, butter, and walnuts. Those magical ingredients were wrapped up in a flakey pie crust and just like that, you’ve got dessert for two days. Or two people.
Apple dumplings are super, super easy to make at home with a handful of ingredients. And since I’m a huge fan of crust, I think the heavy crust:apple ratio is perfect. I actually made apple dumplings for dessert the first night I cooked dinner for The Foodie Groom. Yep, I made homemade apple dumplings for a man that didn’t like apples. Wah wah waaah.
Luckily, his view of apples have changed quite a bit. I put apple dumplings on our Thanksgiving menu after seeing a similar recipe in the latest Williams-Sonoma mailer. You know, to make sure we have a baked apple dessert at both dinners
I typically use whole, medium-sized apples and fill the empty core with a butter-white sugar-cinnamon-chopped pecans/walnut mixture. But we decided that we liked what the brown sugar does for the filling and the half-apple makes the serving size a little more portion-friendly. The apple dumplings come together really quickly, especially if you take the short-cut that I did and pick up a premade pie crust. (Although making the dough from scratch will only take a few extra minutes and I think it’s easier to wrap using a homemade crust.)
Tart Granny Smith apples are baked with a cinnamon and sugar mixture inside a flaky pastry crust.
Pie crust dough, enough for 2 standard pies (I used store-bought)
2 large Granny Smith Apples
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
4 Tbsp butter, softened
Preheat oven to 400. Spray an 8- or 9-inch dish with baking spray.
Prepare your favorite pie crust recipe as directed. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and roll to a square 1/8-th inch thick.
If using purchased crusts, unroll the crusts on a lightly floured surface, and lightly roll the crust with a rolling pin, 1-2 times in each direction to make them just a bit larger. Cut them in half.
Peel and the core the apples and then cut them in half horizontally.
Stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.
Rub the cinnamon-sugar mixture on the apples. Mix remaining sugar mixture with the softened butter.
Place an apple in the center of a piece of pie dough. Spoon 1/4 of the butter-sugar mixture into the apple core.
Pull the dough up around the apples gently and lightly pinch the top together into a beggar's purse. The store-bought crusts will be longer than wide - I cut off a couple inches of dough from the "long side" and just pinched it together on the "short side" to make it a more equal shape.
Tie a piece of kitchen twine around the dough (or just crimp it really well) and transfer the dumpling to the prepared pan.
Repeat with the remaining apples and dough.
Whisk egg with 1 Tbsp of water and brush over the apple dumplings.