October 21, 2014

Apple Butter Cinnamon Rolls

I love baking. A LOT. After the PTA welcome meeting where they tried their darnedest to get us to join up and participate and make our kids' lives better by helping with everything, I was a little swayed. But, being the semi-antisocial introvert that I am, that little kernel of motivation manifested as signing up for every possible PTA opportunity that involved food. Because I may be awkward around a bunch of parents I don't know, but by golly I can bake! Sometimes I get a little carried away, and everything has to be creative, everything has to be for the blog, everything has to be photographed, or perfect, or lit correctly, or new... I forget all of my favorites, the things I baked all the time before the blog was born. Yesterday, as I mused about what to bake while writing up my daybook, I decided to make scones, just cuz, just for me, no pictures, and yum. And they were! It was very satisfying. Now I need to freeze half of them so I don't eat all of them, all by myself. Oh, and by the way, the recipe for those spontaneous scones, my absolute favorite Ginger Chocolate Chip scones, is already on here. Lucky you!

Apple Butter Cinnamon Rolls
 (adapted from Gimme Some Oven)

For the Dough:
1 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 packet instant yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
1 egg

For the Filling:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup apple butter 

Cream Cheese Icing:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 Tbsp. milk (if needed)

Combine milk and butter in a microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup. Heat on high for 1 minute, then remove and stir. Continue heating (and stirring) in 30 second intervals, until the butter is melted and the milk is warm, but not hot. If it ended up too hot, let it sit a few minutes to cool.

In a large bowl (or stand mixer) whisk together 3 cups of the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar. Add the egg and milk/butter mixture, mix (medium low speed, with dough hook if using a mixer) until combined. Add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, beating well after each addition until incorporated. Give it a minute after each 1/4 cup before adding more flour. When the dough comes away from the walls of the bowl, but still barely stuck at the bottom, you have enough flour. Knead dough for 8 minutes. Form dough into a soft ball and cover with plastic wrap or a damp clean towel for 10 minutes

Prepare your filling! Stir together the sugars, spices and salt in a medium bowl.
After resting, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 10 by 20 inches. Spread the apple butter evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the apple butter, leaving a 1/2 inch border on one of the long edges.

Beginning at the long edge without the sugarless border, tightly roll up the dough. Pinch the seam together at the end (hence that border we left!) Cut into 12 rolls. (Dental floss is awesome for cutting these without squishing them, but a knife works just fine too!)

Place each of the cut cinnamon rolls into greased dishes: two 8 inch pans or a 9x13 pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm place to rise for 25-30 minutes. (I like to start preheating my oven at this point and place the pan on top while it's rising.) They aren't going to rise TONS, don't worry about that. As long as they've "poofed" a little you're fine. 

Uncover your rolls and bake them in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove and let cool a few minutes before frosting.

Whisk softened butter and cream cheese together until combined. Add the powdered sugar and whisk vigorously till combined, adding a Tb or two of milk if it is too stiff. (You can do all this in a mixer too, of course)
So, basically, this is that fabulous 1-Hour Cinnamon Roll recipe, with the spices tweaked and some apple butter added. But who cares, it's a fantastic idea and totally delicious!! Cinnamon rolls with a little Fall inspiration.
Light, fluffy, fabulous rolls, that don't take forever and a half, absolute yum, you barely even have to plan ahead. Or wake up four hours early. Which I have done before this recipe, but never again!
The original cinnamon sugar mixture with a little extra apple pie spice-ness gets all melty and rich and delicious, then swirls together with sweet, tangy apple butter with more spices, drizzled with gorgeous cream cheese icing. A match made in heaven! Even better if you happen to use *shameless plug* Homemade Apple Butter! :)


  1. Dear April, Having a blog does change the way you cook and prepare a bit. It seems you worry about pictures and what to make all the time. I am glad you enjoyed the scones.
    These rolls look wonderful. They are perfection!! Catherine

    1. I do, and I don't know why I worry so much! It's not like I'm trying to make a career out of this blog thing, but I have gotten pretty perfectionist about the photography. It's hard not to with all the gorgeous blogs out there! Thank you for your lovely comments. :) Have a delightful week!

  2. Looking good April. I know what you mean about the food blogging thing, everything you cook is for the blog, etc. yada yada yada. I am becoming more relaxed about that now. Not everything I cook is for the blog. Love you! xx

    PS I think your photos are pretty gorgeous. Oh and I love your plates!

    1. Yep, I've got to get back to baking just for fun too! :) It shouldn't be too hard. I love this plate too! I only have one, actually, just for pictures!

  3. Apple butter reminds me of my Grandmother. She used apple butter a lot on toast and biscuits with butter and sandwiches. I love apple butter, but it isn't always in my budget. I miss it, but it isn't on my list when I go to market. Thanks for sharing these lovely cinnamon buns.

    1. I know what you mean, who thinks "I need to pick up a jar of apple butter today"? Not me! Which is why I love making my own so much. You could easily cut my recipe in half and freeze them instead of canning... If you want :)


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