Autumn- with Apple Cinnamon Bun recipe

Autumn - with Apple Cinnamon Bun Recipe

It was a beautiful weekend here in Portland. I made liberal use of my flannel shirts, and put on socks for the first time in months. Both Saturday and Sunday morning found me at my neighborhood coffee shop, reminiscing about my own cafe on the island. These were the best mornings. The relative quiet of September after the summer crush. Crisp, dewy mornings, a sweatshirt under my apron, the front lawn littered with early falling leaves, and the smell of apples.

Here in Portland, I miss the daily baking schedule I had on the island, but the absence of those same baking demands allow me to feel inspired to bake for friends and co-workers on a whim.  Baked goods and sweet things are a great spur-of-the-moment gift; and a recipe that celebrates the season is doubly appreciated. Today, I thought I’d share a riff on the Chocolate-Espresso Cinnamon buns in my cookbook, Desserted. The recipe is ridiculously simple and has endless possibilities; adding apples and switching out the orange-scented icing for a gingery-rum glaze is just one of many seasonal adaptations. So here it is: your family/housemates/co-workers/new girlfriend you share them with will thank you.

Apple Buns

makes 8

For the filling:
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced

For the dough:
2-1/2 cups flour
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk

For the icing:
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon heavy cream
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 cup confectioner’s sugar

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter or spray oil. In a medium-size bowl, make the filling. Stir together the brown sugar, the 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Stir in 2 tablespoons of melted butter and the teaspoon of vanilla extract. Toss in the apples and give it a good stir.

To make the dough, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. In a large glass measuring cup, sir together the buttermilk and melted butter. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Don’t overmix. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and pat into a rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick, with the long sides facing you.

Spread the filling mixture onto the entire surface of your rectangle and pat it down lightly. Working from the side closest to you, roll up the dough jelly-roll fashion. Cut this log into 8 discs. Place the discs, cut side up, into the greased cake pan. There should be a little room for expansion between the discs. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the buns from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

While the buns are baking, make your icing by heating the butter, salt, and the brown sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar has melted and the liquid becomes bubbly. Add the cream and the ginger, bring to a brief boil, remove from heat, and pour into a metal bowl. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then whisk in the rum, and start whisking in the confectioner’s sugar. Stop adding confectioner’s sugar when the icing is your desired consistency. I like it a little runny, but not stiff. Smear the apple buns with thick blobs of icing and serve warm, with a really good cup of coffee.

For more recipes like this, check out Kate’s award-winning cookbook, Desserted: Recipes and Tales from an Island Chocolatier.

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