Cinnamon Buns – with Applesauce

I was on Tiktok…..it’s a vortex that drags me in….and I saw a video someone did where they got those tubes of cinnamon rolls from the grocery store and added a can of apple pie filling to them when they baked them.

I never buy either of those things, but I was certain I could do something similar.

I was making buns for pulled pork the other night and used the “big batch” of dough so I could make cinnamon buns & try this…sort of.

Ingredients for bread (be warned, this is a BIG batch):

  • 6-1/2 to 7-1/2 cups flour
  • 2-1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 TB yeast
  • 1/4 cup sugar or honey
  • 2-3/4 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup oil

In a big mixing bowl or the bowl of your mixer, add the warm water, yeast & sugar or honey. If you are sure your yeast is active, add 3 cups of flour and let the whole works sit for 10 minutes to let it get frothy. If you aren’t sure, don’t add the flour yet, give your yeast, sugar and water 10 minutes to get frothy, then start adding your flour.

Once your mixture is frothy, whichever way you are doing this, start adding your flour, 1 cup at a time. As you get closer to the 5-6 cup range, start giving it a little extra time to mix in and rehydrate so you can see whether you really need more. When you’ve got enough flour, the dough will clear off the sides of the mixing bowl, it will be only slightly tacky to the touch and it should look fairly smooth, not shaggy.

Once you’ve reached this stage, cover it and let it rise until doubled somewhere warm. I usually turn my oven on to 100 F, let it come to temp and then turn it off again – with the door closed, it’ll hold the heat enough to make the yeast happy, but not enough to bake the bread.

When the dough is doubled, punch it down (or poke at it until it deflates – depends how angry you are), knead it a couple times and decide what you are doing with it. I cut it into 3 reasonably even pieces – one for buns for the pulled pork and two pieces for cinnamon buns (I don’t have a lot of counter space so big pieces of dough can’t be rolled out thin enough). When I make this generally, I make 3 loaves of bread or two loaves and one batch of buns.

If you are making cinnamon buns, roll out your piece of dough to a basically rectangular shape about 1/4 to 3/4 inch thick – the thicker the dough, the more pillowy the buns will be.

Ingredients for filling for each third of the dough recipe:

  • 1/4 cup softened, not melted, butter or margarine
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar – light or dark, whichever you have
  • 1 1/2 TB ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup of applesauce to be spread across all the buns (the applesauce I used was some I made with no sugar or anything)

Mix the ingredients together very well. Spread, gently, all over your dough – leave one long edge bare (about 1/2 to 3/4 inches) so you can seal the rolled log with a pinch and not lose any filling. Resist the temptation to add a crazy amount of filling – it will ooze out the bottom and become hardened toffee.

If you are making this whole batch of dough into cinnamon buns, you will need to make triple the filling. (you can freeze dough for later, also)

Once your dough is layered with the filling, roll it up. You will roll the long side across to the piece that has no filling on it. Try very hard to keep the roll tight (helps keep the filling in). Once you’ve got it rolled, pinch the unfilled piece, gently, to stick it to the rest of the roll. You are then going to need to cut into pieces. I know people get quite concerned that their rolls stay perfectly round and advise using floss to cut them, but really, if you squish, you can unsquish and these are going to rise again so that will fix it to an extent. I cut them about 2 inches per piece. Then you put them into a greased or sprayed baking pan…..spray it, believe me! I was in charge of doing dishes when I lived at home when I was a kid, and these puppies get baked on…spray the pan, save your childs’ sanity!

Place each bun, with room to grow, into your pan, cut side showing. When you’ve got your pan filled, grab some apple sauce and spread around and over each bun (I used about a tablespoon per bun)

Set to rise until doubled then bake at 375 F for 20 minutes. Because every oven is different, start checking at 20 minutes. They should be golden brown and hollow sounding when you tap one.

Let them cool a little bit before adding any icing if you are going to. I can tell you, my mom never added icing and we didn’t suffer the lack but if you’re going to add some, either make a glaze with no cream cheese or make an icing with cream cheese.

Glaze (no cream cheese):

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla
  • 1-1/2 TB milk (or thereabouts) add milk to give you the consistency you prefer

Mix well, by hand or with a mixer. Pour/spread over your cinnamon buns.

Icing (with cream cheese):

  • 2 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 7 TB butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 TB of milk, or thereabouts, again, how much depends on the consistency you like
  • 1-1/2 cups icing sugar

Mix together, by hand or with a mixer. Pour/spread over cinnamon buns.

Full disclosure, the buns were really good but the applesauce makes very little difference to the whole works. It’s a good way to add some fruit to the works, and makes the flavour a little more caramel than without. Not a bad thing, but not apple-y.

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