Wait, did I say Apple Pie AND Cinnamon Rolls in the same sentence? YOU BET I DID!
For some reason, I don't feel like this combination is that unique. Nailing the flavor and texture though, that is unique. This took me about 5 tries. Do you know how hard it is to make a gluten-free cinnamon roll? Freaking hard. So on that note, these babies don't expand and get all big and "pull-aparty" like your typical cinnamon roll. Instead, these are dough-y on the inside, crispy on the outside, bursting with warm apple pie flavor and topped off with that cinnamon roll glaze. I'd say that suffices for a gluten-free, vegan cinnamon roll, wouldn't you?
I'm going to cut right to it (or should I say roll right to it? Why do you still read my blog? I'm humiliating). If you read all my nonsense prior to my recipe posts, major shout out to you. You da real MVP.
PREP TIME: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 45 minutes TOTAL ROLLS: 12
FOR THE DOUGH
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp unsweetened vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 packet instant yeast (roughly 2 heaping tsp)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tbsp organic coconut sugar
FOR THE FILLING
2 1/2 tsp vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
1/2 cup apple sauce
2 medium red delicious apples (chopped)
2 tbsp coconut oil (melted, heat in microwave for 15 seconds)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 medium green apples (peeled & finely chopped)
Pinch of salt, coconut sugar & pumpkin pie spice
FOR THE GLAZE
1. DOUGH: Heat the almond milk and vegan butter in a large mixing bowl in the microwave (or a small saucepan over medium heat) in increments of 30 seconds until melted, but never reaching boiling. Remove from microwave (or stove top) and let cool to 110 degrees F (43 C), or the temperature of bath water. It should be warm but not hot or it will kill the yeast.
2. In the same large mixing bowl, sprinkle on the salt, sugar and yeast and let sit for 10 minutes so the yeast activates. The add the cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice, then stir. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes, then whisk in the apple sauce.
3. Next, add in the flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring as you go. When the dough is too thick to stir, transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for one minute until a loose ball shape forms. Add flour as needed. It should be a slightly moist & doughy ball. If the mixture is too dry, add more melted butter. If it's too wet, add more flour.
4. Rinse the mixing bowl out and coat it in oil. Then transfer the dough ball back into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for 15 minutes.
5. FILLING: While the dough rises, prepare the filling. Add the dates, apple sauce, chopped red apples, melted coconut oil and cinnamon to a blender and puree at low speed. If using a VitaMix, puree between 1-2 on low.
6. Heat a medium saute pan over low-medium heat with 2 tbsp vegan butter. Transfer the pureed apple mixture to the saute pan. Add the 2 finely chopped green apples. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes, constantly stirring. Then cover with lit and let sit for 3-4 minutes or until the chopped apples are slightly soft. Remove from heat and remove lid.
6. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough bowl and set aside to use later. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a thin rectangle. Brush the dough with melted vegan butter, a pinch of salt, pumpkin pie spice and coconut sugar. Using a spoon, scoop the apple filling mixture over the dough, using the back of the spoon to spread evenly throughout. It should be slightly chunky.
7. Starting at one end, roll the dough horizontally (long-ways) until the seam is facing down. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1.5in pieces. Brush each piece with vegan butter, then place in an oiled square pan (8x8) pan.
8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pan with the uncooked cinnamon rolls on top of the oven and cover with the same plastic wrap you used for the dough. Let it sit there while the oven heats up.
9. Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 45 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Cover with frosting or glaze.
Feel free to try another gluten free baking flour, however I can't guarantee results as I've only used Bob's Red Mill.
You will need a multi-speed blender, square pan (8x8 or similar), and sauté pan for this recipe.
This recipe is adapted from Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
And voila! Your ready to dig in to your Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls! Warm apples are just so comforting, aren't they? What's your favorite fall dessert?
I hope you guys give these a try and as always, let me know what you think via DM!