I made these on a Saturday morning a few weeks ago when Tim was feeling under the weather. I figured homemade cinnamon rolls would cheer anyone up, and I was right! These rolls have a long rising time, so if you start them in the morning they will definitely be more of a brunch (or even lunch) treat, but don't let that stop you -- they're so good that they are worth the wait. (Note: if you want yeasty sweet rolls that you can make for breakfast without getting up at the crack of dawn, try my Nutella Swirl Buns!) Although I haven't tried it, I bet you could also prepare them the night before up through making the rolls and placing them in the pan, and then stash them in the fridge and finish the second rise the next morning -- I've tried this with my sweet potato cinnamon rolls with great success.
As for the finished rolls - they're divine! The dough is super tender and the grated apple in the filling adds a fantastic 'apple pie' flavor to the rolls. I also love the glaze, made with apple juice squeezed from the grated apples -- it amps up the apple flavor in the rolls even more. These rolls are definitely best right out of the oven, but they keep pretty well for a few days if you have a.
Apple Cinnamon Roll Muffins (adapted from Cooking Classy, original recipe here)
1/2 cup milk, warm
1-3/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 T oil
2 T melted butter
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
3 to 3-1/4 cups all purpose flour
For the filling:
2 cups lightly packed peeled and grated apples (about 3 medium)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 T cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup butter, halfway melted
For the topping:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Reserved juice from the grated apples
1. Add the yeast to the warm milk and whisk to dissolve. Let rest 5-10 minutes, until the yeast proofs.
2. Meanwhile, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, oil, butter, egg, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. When the yeast is ready, add it to the bowl. Whisk to combine. Then add 1-1/2 cups flour and beat until combined. Switch to the dough hook, and add an additional 1-1/2 cups flour, a bit at a time. Knead until a smooth, elastic dough forms, adding more flour as needed to create a soft dough -- about 5 minutes of kneading time.
3. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise about 1-1/2 hours, until doubled.
4. While the dough is rising, make the filling. Place the grated apple in a fine mesh strainer or a piece of cheesecloth. Let sit for a few minutes, and then squeeze out the excess liquid into a clean bowl. Save this apple juice for the topping.
5. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
6. Punch down the dough. Spray your working surface and rolling pin with a light coating of oil, and then roll out the dough into an approximately 19x13 rectangle. Brush the top with the butter, and sprinkle the sugar-spice mixture over the top. Squeeze the grated apple again to remove any excess liquid (again, reserving the apple juice for the topping), and then sprinkle the apples over the dough in an even layer.
7. Beginning on the long side, roll up the dough as tightly as possible. Spray a muffin tin with oil. Cut the dough into 12 rolls, and transfer each roll to the muffin tin. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 40 minutes.
8. In the last 10 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
9. Bake the rolls for 14-17 minutes, until they are golden and the centers are cooked through. Let cool for just a minute or two, and then remove from the pan to prevent sticking.
10. Make the glaze. Whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and about 3 T of the reserved apple juice. Add more apple juice as needed to make a drizzling consistency. Then drizzle the glaze over the warm rolls and eat while still warm.