Saturday, October 26, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

You know what I love? Sunny, blustery fall days where the beautifully coloured leaves dance about your feet as you take a stroll through the city park all bundled up with a big thick scarf around your neck. You know what I don't love? Rainy-borderline-snowy and miserably cold fall days. The only good thing about days like these is that I believe it gives you permission to wear fuzzy pajamas, curl up on the couch with a good book or movie, and indulge in heavenly soft and comfortingly warm cinnamon rolls. Perfect.

Yield: 12 rolls

For the dough:
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups warm milk (about 110 F) + a possible additional 1/4 cup**
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
2 + 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large apple (any kind), peeled and diced

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 oz. low fat cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1 tablespoon milk

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 3 1/2 cups of the flour, yeast and salt. Stir briefly to combine. In a medium measuring cup, whist together the milk, maple syrup and butter. With the mixer on low, gradually add the milk mixture and continue mixing until a rough dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Knead the dough on low speed for 5-6 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl- if it's excessively sticky, you can add as much of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour as necessary. Conversely, if the dough seems dry and not overly soft, you may need to add more milk. This is challenging to do if the dough has kneaded for awhile, so you'll have to keep an eye on it and if it appears to be dry try to mix the additional milk in as soon as possible.

Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Shape the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Briefly warm your oven up at the lowest possible temperature for about 2 minutes, just until the inside is warm. Place the bowl in your oven, along with a small bowl of hot water. Dough needs warmth and moisture to rise, so this will promote a much quicker rising than leaving it out at room temperature. Allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1- 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl stir together the diced apple, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of sugar. In another medium bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients for the filling until well combined and evenly moistened.

Coat a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it into an 18 x 12 inch rectangle. Mist the dough with water, then sprinkle evenly with the filling mixture, leaving about a 1/2 inch border along the long edge farthest from you. Press the sugar into the dough gently to adhere, then sprinkle with apple mixture. Starting with the long edge closest to you, roll the dough into a tight log about 18 inches long, pinching the seam to close when you get to the end. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut the dough into 12 equal pieces.

Transfer the rolls (cut side up) to the prepared baking dish. Return to the oven (reheat briefly and replace water with hotter water if needed) and allow the rolls to rise until just about doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Once rolls have risen, remove and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Transfer the rolls to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the pan to a wire rack and allow the rolls to cool. Make the glaze by mixing the powdered sugar, cream cheese, extract and milk in a food processor (or by hand, this just takes longer). Add more milk if you want a thinner consistency. Spread the glaze over the rolls, then serve.

Source: slightly adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures, taken from Comfort Food Makeovers Pin It

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