Cinnamon Rolls with Apple Sauce

>> Monday, March 28, 2011

Farewell again, weekend.

I had a good time but I wish you'd stay longer. Am I being unreasonable? Yes.

ate some green food (green tea latte and guacamole on toast) for breakfast. A tad late for St. Patties day celebration.

I curled up and read a new book (thanks P!) until my eyes were sore and fell asleep.

And what a bummer it rained - at least it will keep me off the streets...

So I turned on some Bach Concertos and danced my way into the kitchen.

I've been wanting to make cinnamon rolls for a while now. And apple sauce too.

Maybe I can marry them together?

I used The Pioneer Woman's recipe for the cinnamon rolls sans the maple frosting. It's no doubt that this recipe has been a huge hit with so many people so I couldn't wait to see how it turns out.

Slight alterations to the original recipe: I've used less butter and replaced it with some of the apple sauce. I also swapped 1/3 cup of the plain flour for its wholemeal alternative.

Apple sauce is useful to have in the fridge at all times because you can use it to replace a portion of the fats (butter or oil) for a healthier baked treat like cakes and cookies (I haven't tried replacing butter entirely with apple sauce but I think the texture of the cakes/cookies would be rubbery and not crumbly?)

Thankfully it's apple season at the moment. When it comes to making apple sauce, make sure you use a good cooking apple like Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, McIntosh, Fuji or Jonathan (which I used) etc.

The chunky apple sauce is layered on the dough along with sultanas and a bit of butter before you roll it up and slice them into something as glorious as this:

Then you let the magic happen (i.e. some proofing and waiting and baking)...

Don't forget to drizzle (or drown) them in maple syrup goodness too!

The result is a delicious and soft bread roll moistened by the maple syrup. Yum - we finished 2 batches of rolls within a day! I felt the first batch (photographed) lacked sultanas and apple sauce so I was more generous with them in the second batch.

Anyways, I hope you're off to a good start of the week. After a relaxed weekend, think I might just be ready for a busy week ahead! 


Cinnamon Rolls
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Makes ~15 rolls (I scaled the recipe down to 1/3)
  • 1 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dry yeast
  • 2 2/3 cups plain flour
  • 1/3 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ~100 g unsalted butter - melted (or I used 50g + apple sauce)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Cinnamon powder
  • ~1/2 cup apple sauce (optional)
  • Sultanas (optional)
1. Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a pan. Scald the mixture (heat until just before the boiling point). Turn off heat and leave to cool for about 30 mins.

2. When the mixture is lukewarm to warm, but NOT hot, sprinkle in dry yeast. Let this sit for a min. Add 2 2/3 cups of flour. Stir mixture together. Cover and let rise for at least an hour.

3. Add 1/3 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir mixture together. (At this point the dough will be quite sticky, you could cover the dough and put it in the fridge until you need it – overnight or even a day or two. This will give you a firmer dough. Just keep your eye on it and if it starts to overflow out of the pan, just punch it down). I used my dough straight away.

4. When ready to prepare rolls: Sprinkle rolling surface generously with flour. (I halved the dough here to make 2 batches) Form a rough rectangle with (one of) the dough. Then roll the dough thin, maintaining a general rectangular shape. Drizzle melted butter over the dough followed by the apple sauce. Now sprinkle sugar over the butter/apple sauce followed by a generous sprinkling of cinnamon powder and sultanas.

5. Now, starting at the opposite end, begin rolling the dough in a neat line toward you. Keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Next, pinch the seam of the roll to seal it.

6. Cut the roll to approximately 1 inch thick and lay them in a greased baking tray. Leave a little space in between the rolls for them to rise.

7. Let the rolls rise for 20 to 30 mins or until they look bloated (I left it to rise for about 1 hr), then bake at a 180℃ pre-heated oven until light golden brown, about 20-25 mins.

Apple Sauce
  • 1 kg (~3lbs) of peeled, cored, and quartered apples. 
  • 4 strips of lemon peel (use a vegetable peeler)
  • Juice of one lemon, about 3-4 tbsp
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar (or more depending on your taste)
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

1. Put all ingredients into a large pot. Cover. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

2. Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon sticks and lemon peels. Mash with potato masher.

Note: They freeze easily - up to one year in a cold freezer.


Zoe March 28, 2011 at 3:47 PM  

You are so clever, Viv!

Clever in researching for great recipe...
Clever in your cooking...
Clever in your photograph...
Clever in your writing...
Clever in all your presentation...

I'm so glad to be your follower. I've bookmarked this recipe. Thanks.

j3ss kitch3n March 28, 2011 at 3:49 PM  

the rolls are so enticing! perfect for the rainy weather with a cuppa of coffee yum!

Anonymous,  March 28, 2011 at 4:14 PM  


I made hot cross buns on the weekend but they are almost gone, so I shall be making these soon!


Jeannie March 28, 2011 at 5:05 PM  

One of my favorite bread rolls is cinnamon rolls..yummy! Good idea to make it healthier too!

OohLookBel March 28, 2011 at 5:25 PM  

So many people are making Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls, I must get on the bandwagon, too! Love the addition of apple sauce, it would go perfectly with the sultanas.

sugarpuffi March 28, 2011 at 6:06 PM  

way to go celebrate st patricks foodie style! eating green stuff haha.

your apple pic is AMAZING although im scared of apple sauce cause all i remember of my childhood is my grandpa cooking apple sauces all day and night cause we had a surplus of apples

hanushi March 28, 2011 at 6:26 PM  

I am not a big fan of cinnamon, but your swirls on the buns looks so perfect!! :)

So did you manage to overcome your chiffon cake bakes? :)

Viv March 28, 2011 at 6:32 PM  

Zoe: Thank you! You're so sweet :) I'm def not as clever as you think and I'm even more glad to be your follower!

j3ss: Yes definitely perfect with some strong creamy coffeee!! :D

hy: Cools - I want to try hot cross buns too! Mb I'll try it before Easter!

Jeannie: Yes, nothing beats hot cinnamon rolls!

OohLookBel: I know, I've only just hopped on the bandwagon too :P Just had to see what all the fuss was about lol.

sugarpuffi: haha serious? I wish i had a grandpa who cooked apple sauce for me! LOL. How sweet of him :) Altho I can see how too much of it can be a bad thing ;)

hanushi: Really? I guess cinnamon is not the most welcoming scent to get used to sometimes! Ughhh - I had another failed chiffon attempt. I don't know why I just can't perfect it and have wasted soo many eggs in the process :(

Min {Honest Vanilla} March 28, 2011 at 7:33 PM  

They look gorgeous Vivienne! I wish the weekend would stay a tad longer too, feeling the Monday blues today! You should share the greentea and guacomole as well :)

Swee San March 28, 2011 at 7:48 PM  

why oh why it looks so good!! I tried the recipe but it didn't really turn out for me. no bread luck for me :(

have u tried out any recipes from dessert fourplay yet?

Swee San March 28, 2011 at 7:49 PM  

no i meant to ask which recipes have u tried? :)

Dolly March 28, 2011 at 10:22 PM  

thats so cute... good season to buy apples too..

looks so pro viv!

hello fuji apples!!!

Viv March 28, 2011 at 11:53 PM  

Min: Ahh yes...monday blues! Yea, good idea - I might share that another day :)

Swee San: Oh really? I guess with bread it can be so unpredictable! You mean Art & Soul right? I don't have dessert fourplay :)

Dolly: thanks, girl! :)

Jean March 29, 2011 at 12:19 AM take really beautiful pictures! i was in this apple baking craze earlier on too...think apples are really interesting, given the many varieties and what each type is good for. and your rolls...they are really tempting and make my mouth water haha

Mary Bergfeld March 29, 2011 at 2:40 AM  

These really do look wonderful. They would be perfect for breakfast on Easter Sunday morning. Blessings...Mary

Maria March 29, 2011 at 4:18 AM  

I've been using apple sauce instead of butter for a lot and I think most of the time it works really well. You can use mashed banana or other fruit pure as well. Looks great!

Erika Beth, the Messy Chef March 29, 2011 at 5:29 AM  

Wow! These look so delicious. I like your applesauce substitution. Isn't it fun?

Tina@foodboozeshoes March 29, 2011 at 10:58 AM  

What gorgeous photos..! Thanks for the recipe - can you di without the wholemeal flour? (I don't have in my pantry...)

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart March 29, 2011 at 12:03 PM  

A lovely weekend even with the rain. I love the substitutions you made. The rolls look scrumptious!

Carolyn Jung March 29, 2011 at 3:19 PM  

My type of cinnamon roll! I'm not a big fan of those huge ones all doused in white icing. Way tooo sweet for me! I love how yours lets the flavor of the apples shine through.

La Bella Cooks March 29, 2011 at 4:02 PM  

I think your version of the cinnamon rolls is brilliant with the applesauce. They look perfectly baked and delicious. Great snaps too!

grub March 29, 2011 at 9:07 PM  

this recipe has sure received many many many raves from people around the world! i really really should make this one day. maybe on the holidays since i'm a bit busy these days.

by the way i think you have read this on my blog, i'm not sure if you do these things but, i have given you a blog award, please come to my blog and claim it if you have time.

Sprinzette @ Ginger and Almonds March 29, 2011 at 9:55 PM  

Mmmm, yes please. I definitely want to try this out - wish it was as case of here's what I've made earlier so I could enjoy one with a cup of coffee right now.

Karen March 29, 2011 at 10:37 PM  

Your cinnamon rolls are lovely, Viv. What a wonderful weekend treat. Love your gorgeous photos, especially the apples. Hope you're having a great week!

chow and chatter March 29, 2011 at 11:08 PM  

thanks for the Melbourne tips, would have been fun to meet let me know if your ever in America :-)

Swee San March 30, 2011 at 12:37 AM  

Yes I meant Art & Soul. lol silly me :S

Helen (Grab Your Fork) March 30, 2011 at 1:05 AM  

I love your rainy window pic. So dreamy and cosy!

Joanne March 30, 2011 at 2:49 AM  

Well I declare. I never thought I'd see the day where a cinnamon rolls recipe was actually healthified and still looked amazingly delicious!

Yi @ Yi Reservation March 30, 2011 at 3:45 PM  

I love cinnamon rolls and with apple sauce it's got be super delicious. Can't wait to try this!

pigpigscorner March 31, 2011 at 2:53 AM  

I tried this too without the frosting. So good!

Vivian - vxdollface March 31, 2011 at 9:56 PM  

oh gosh I am loving everything you make :D

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets April 1, 2011 at 2:17 AM  

I've lost track of the number of posts I've read about how amazing her cinnamon rolls are. I may finally have to make this recipe! I like your fruit additions and apple sauce :).

hanushi April 1, 2011 at 2:53 PM  

Viv, you finally did your chiffon cake. No worries, your next bake will be great! If you need any help in chiffon making, just drop me a message. I'll see what I can do (no guarantee tho, hehe).

Sudha April 2, 2011 at 4:58 AM  

Amazing Cinnamon Rolls and lovely photos you have here!I just made the raindrops photo my desktop screensaver...hope you don't mind:)

Congrats for the Top 9!


Team Gingerbread April 3, 2011 at 5:26 AM  

Hello Viv. I'm very new to your blog. Found it via foodgawker. I love your take on the Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls - your's look much healthier for sure. Hey, I have a blog called Sweet Rolls that Rock and I would love it if you would link these babies up at my monthly *Sweet rolls-o-rama* linky party :)

Cooking Gallery April 3, 2011 at 7:55 AM  

Gorgeous Cinnamon rolls and the pictures are just to die for...!!!

Joyti April 4, 2011 at 3:25 AM  

Yum! Those look delicious, and the applesauce not only makes it a bit healthier, but yummier too...

Vix Viral April 4, 2011 at 5:39 AM  

This looks DELICIOUS! My dad loves cinnamon rolls and my mom loves applesauce. Sounds like a perfect combination to try out on them. Thanks for the recipe!

Juliana April 5, 2011 at 5:29 AM  

Vivienne, the buns look so soft and fluffy, love the idea of apple sauce :-) Great pictures!

Viv April 5, 2011 at 10:51 PM  

Aleida - thanks! hope u get to make them for your parents soon :)

Juliana - thanks and welcome back!

Lisa @ Tarte du Jour April 5, 2011 at 11:29 PM  

I'm so happy it rained there so that I got to enjoy your cinnamon rolls and applesauce! Lovely photos as always! If I sniff hard enough, I think I can smell them....

grace April 6, 2011 at 12:17 AM  

Yumm love the spicy smell of cinnamon... we were ogling your photos at ms. g, those nice red shiny apples

ps. green food looks delish. and i see what you did to that avocado on toast, it's almost finished haha

Anonymous,  April 7, 2011 at 7:01 AM  

Gorgeous rolls! I use applesauce (and avocado, banana, yogurt and black beans) to replace fats often. But I rarely omit butter/oil entirely from a recipe. Like you mentioned, it is often too rubbery. I never considered using applesauce in cinnamon rolls though - they are the ultimate decadence to me! Can't wait to try.

Anonymous,  April 8, 2011 at 1:10 AM  

Thanks for visiting, Vivienne! What a small world - seems like you've lived all over the world. Any good find/eats you remember in the Bay Area?

I baked these up yesterday and they were delicious with applesauce. Mine didn't seem to rise to the height of yours, but the taste made up for the difference. Thanks again!

Anonymous,  April 8, 2011 at 9:11 AM  

Beautiful photographs. Your cinnamon rolls look sensational. Making some soon for Easter.

Lori April 11, 2011 at 6:58 AM  

Your cinnamon rolls are so beautiful! I love the addition of the apple sauce. This is one pastry that I rarely have luck with, but I think I need to try your recipe and give it another shot.

Anonymous,  May 1, 2011 at 11:40 AM  

Mmmm! Looks ammmazing! Apple season is seriously the best. It just brings me back to the simplest times. My best friend and I have a tradition where we pick bags full of apples during the season, eat them to cores deciding which ones will be the best for our pies, and go home and make as many desserts as a 25 pound bag of sugar and 2 HUGE bags of apples will get us/ : )
This post makes me smile!!

Anonymous,  May 9, 2011 at 3:52 PM  

hey babe , i happened to come across your blog.
your recipes are clear and truly bliss to follow.
i dont usually leave comments, but you deserve a compliment :) well done !

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