These rolls have been a long time coming. Last fall, my mom and I were talking about apples and what would taste good with them. Mom said, wouldn't a cinnamon roll with apples and cheese be delicious? I knew she was on to something, but time and life put the idea on the shelf until this week. With nothing more than a vague idea of how I wanted them to turn out, I gathered ingredients and went to town.
Along the way, I realized that these rolls could lean either sweet or savory. I decided to do both, but would really recommend that you only go one way or the other at a time...I went a little overboard in my exuberance. By putting a cream cheese glaze on the top, they became dessert (or breakfast), but by adding a little rosemary to the apple filling, they went savory. See what I mean? It just may have been too much all at once. Then again, maybe it wasn't. They were really, really good. And different.
Apple Cheddar Sticky Buns:
for the dough: (adapted from Mott's applesauce)
4 cups AP flour
2 tsp instant yeast
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg, beaten
Combine milk and butter in a microwave safe bowl and microwave until the butter is melted. Pour into a large mixing bowl and add the applesauce, sugar and salt. Stir to mix. Add the egg. Add the yeast and let the mixture bubble slightly. Using a dough hook attachment, mix in the flour and knead until smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about an hour). Punch down and roll out into a large rectangle.
for the apples:
6 apples, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 stick butter
2-3 tsp cinnamon (according to taste)
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup agave nectar (or 1/2 cup brown sugar)Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the apples, cinnamon and salt and saute until starting to soften. Add the sugar, stir and cover. Cook, covered, for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, uncover and let cool.
Using a slotted spoon or sieve, transfer just the apples (not the sauce) to the rectangle of dough. Spoon them on evenly. Chop up an 8 ounce block of extra sharp cheddar cheese into tiny cubes and sprinkle them over the apples.
Roll them up, jelly roll style and cut. Pour the remaining syrup from the apples into the bottom of a greased 9X13 pan. Place the cut rolls onto the syrup (if there are a few apple pieces that end up remaining in the syrup, don't worry). Cover and let rise another 30-45 minutes.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the buns from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes in the pan. After 5 minutes, invert onto a platter.
After another 10 minutes, separate them and serve. If desired, drizzle with a powdered sugar glaze (powdered sugar moistened with vanilla and water or milk until runny). They are plenty good without it, but some in my family don't understand the concept of a cinnamon-y roll without frosting.