Rolling in Dough…and apples, and cinnamon and more!

Breads and Muffins / January 8, 2017

Most weekends I’m throwing a dinner party; setting the table with care, running down a menu in my head and strolling along the aisles of the supermarket assembling the fresh ingredients I need. But some Saturday nights I skip the messy kitchen and we sneak off to watch movies with friends. We don’t actually go out, we go up; to their third floor home theater that pretty much puts the AMC Theater franchise to shame. Mostly because it comes with good wine and a friendly golden retreiver to keep us company and feeling loved. When we’re lucky enough to be invited, I rarely go empty handed, knowing with giddy delight that as soon as I walk through the door our hosts will be standing ready and with forks in hand to try one of my creations.

I suppose if I had all my wishes come true I would be able to spend all my time in the kitchen. Not only rolling out dough, but rolling in it. Given that I’m not quite to the brilliantly rich and famous level as of today, I will settle for just rolling out the dough. And roll, roll, roll I did!

Most of the time I create all my recipes 100% from my imagination. Certainly I am inspired by everything I see, but because of that whole not-a-billionaire-yet thing I often have to make due with what’s in my kitchen at that moment and I might need a nudge from an existing recipe to get my head going. In this case it was an old Salt Lake City cookbook for a good old fashioned dessert using sweet and crisp Fuji Apples.
It should be said that anything involving dough, sugar and cinnamon makes any dish universally perfect. I believe there should be a whole cookbook just called sugar and cinnamon! Don’t you? — Hmmm. Did I just get closer to my billionaire status with that idea?

Whether rich or poor, however, I do believe in the power to nourish. I believe that even something like a bit of dough wrapped around an apple and baked to perfect can be a metaphor for connecting us all in peace and laughter. There is no higher calling than feeding what’s good in all of us.

And, by the time these little babies came out of the oven, golden and brown, it was about time to grab our coats, boots and scarves and make our way over to the neighborhood Bijou for stories, wine and dessert. I think they’ll like these little beauties, don’t you?

Sweet Fuji Apple Rolls with Syrup

Inspired by Lora Lee Young in the cookbook Kissin’ Wears Out, Cookin’ Don’t, by the Butler 19th Ward Relief Society, 1978.

Makes 14-16 rolls


3 large, crisp Fuji apples, diced
2 C all-purpose flour
1 t kosher salt
3 heaping t baking powder
3 T sugar + 1 t
½ C unsalted butter + 4 T
½ t cardamom powder
½ t ginger powder
1 ½ t cinnamon, divided
1+ C of heavy cream
Flour for dusting


1 C sugar
½ C water
2 T brown sugar
½ t vanilla
¼ T kosher salt
1 C powdered sugar


  • Make the glaze first by heating the water, white and brown sugars, vanilla and salt until bubbling. Lower heat and keep to a low boil for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool a bit.
  • Cut the three apples into small chunks and place in a bowl with the 1 t sugar and ½ t cinnamon, stirring to combine.
  • In another large mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, sugar, and baking powder. Cut the very cold butter into small cubes and cut it into the flour mixture using your hands, rubbing the butter between your fingers as you work until about butter chunks are almond sized. Having some pieces that are bigger than that is fine, too. It will make a better dough! Then add the cream and begin to stir with a large spoon. If you see it’s going to be dry, go ahead and add 1 – 2 more T of cream. Work it gently, folding the cream in so you don’t overwork the dough. When combined and still a bit sticky, form into a ball and drop onto a floured surface. Pull it
  • Together so it sticks together, forming a disc and using a rolling pan, flatten to about an 11” by 16” square or until about 1/8 inch thickness. Trim off the edges so you have a fairly square piece of dough. Using a spatula, slather the 2 T butter on the dough surface all the way to the edges. Then cover with the apples, pushing them out to the edges. Roll up the dough and apples jelly roll style, sealing the ends with a bit of cream or water. Slice into about 16 even pieces. #15 and #16 for me were pretty sad and wimpy so you can leave those off and discard dough if you want them all perfect.
  • In a large glass baking dish, butter the bottom and sides with butter. Now add half the glaze to the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange all the rolls over the syrup and add a few more tablespoons of the glaze until you can see there is liquid syrup around all of them about ¼ to ½ inches deep. Dust with a bit more cinnamon. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Remove, place on a cooling rack and let sit for about 10 minutes. Serve warm.
  • To serve, place a roll on a dish, and top with the remaining syrup that you’ve added the powdered sugar to, so it’s a runny frosting. (You decide what consistency you want, whether thicker like an icing or runny.)

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