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Author Notes: Chai-spiced Apple Cinnamon Rolls are quick (no yeast, no rising) and have a cozy blend of spices plus apples for the ultimate comforting cinnamon roll. —tasty seasons
- 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 firm baking apple
- In a medium bowl, combine the sugars and spices and stir to combine thoroughly. Add the 1 tablespoon of melted butter and mix until the mixture is combined and looks like wet sand. Set aside.
Dough and Icing
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- pinch ground cloves
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and divided
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Put an oven rack in the upper middle position and preheat the oven to 425° F. Get out a 9” (23 cm) nonstick circular cake pan. If your pan is pretty good about not sticking, you can skip the next step. If your pan tends to stick, grease the bottom and sides with a bit of butter. Out of the way of your workspace, set a wire cooling rack over a piece of wax paper (for cooling and icing the gooey buns later).
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices and stir to mix. In a large glass measuring cup or small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of the melted butter to the buttermilk and stir. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir for about 30 seconds, just until the dough just comes together (it will still look shaggy). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead gently just until it’s smooth and uniform.
- Using your hands, gently pat the dough into a 12” (30 cm) by 9” (23 cm) rectangle. Brush the dough with the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, leaving a ½” (1 cm) border around the edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a ½” (1 cm) border from the edge of the dough. Cut the apple into small dice and sprinkle evenly over the filling. Press the sugar mixture and apple pieces down so they stay put.
- Using a bench scraper or metal spatula, loosen the dough from the counter. Starting on the long edge, roll the dough into a tight log, pressing gently as you go to keep it neat. Roll the log over so the seam side is facing down and cut the log in half, then cut those two pieces in half, then cut each of those four pieces in half so that you end up with eight evenly-sized pieces. As you pick up each piece, press the open (swirly) sides lightly between your palms to make sure the filling doesn’t fall out as you transfer each piece to the pan. Set the first piece in the center of the pan then arrange the other seven pieces evenly around the perimeter.
- Bake the rolls for about 20 – 25 minutes, until they are golden brown on the edges. As soon as they come out of the oven, run a rubber spatula around the edge of the pan, then invert your cooling rack over the top of the pan and flip the whole thing right side up over your wax paper. The filling will be gooey and very hot so be careful. Don’t wait to get the rolls out of the pan though, or the goo will turn to glue and the rolls will be stuck in the pan.
- To make the icing, while the rolls are in the oven (or just after they come out), sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl (I find putting the sugar through a fine mesh strainer breaks up those little lumps that otherwise refuse to melt into the icing). Whisk in the milk and vanilla extract, adding milk a few drops at a time if the consistency isn’t smooth enough to drizzle over the rolls. The icing will dry out a bit if it sits for a long time uncovered, so you may need to add a drop or two more milk if that happens.
- Once the rolls have cooled for about 5 minutes, use a spoon to drizzle the icing over them. Serve immediately but be super careful with the molten hot core of each roll, which is always 15 times hotter than the outside pieces.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Festive, Crowd-Feeding Breakfast
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