Thinly sliced apples combined with one of my favorite healthy secret ingredients make these Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls not only delicious, but tipping the scale on the healthy side too!
Sometimes it’s good to be thankful for the little things. Like neighbors with apple trees.
Of course, neighbors with apple trees who like to share is even better.
The thing about a neighbor’s apple tree is that it gives you a much better idea of what organic really means. Yes, these apples don’t look like the glossy ones you find in supermarkets. But you know what they say? Looks can be deceiving. That is absolutely the case with these apples.
“They’re somewhere between a Gala and a Jonathan.”
“What?” I replied with my typical slightly raised eyebrow which I hope makes me look inquisitive. It’s my favorite cover for the standard, underlying condition that I usually feel – confused.
“When I moved here, the guy told me the apples from this tree taste like something between a Gala and a Jonathan apple.”
“Oh,” I said, a big smile spreading across my face. I don’t really care if they taste like a muttly mix of this or that, I’m just glad to have some fresh, organic apples. I decide not to tell her that. “Thank you so much!”
“Well, help yourself if you’d like more. There’s more than we can eat.” She must have sensed the hesitancy ebbing from my being because she continued, “Seriously, help yourself to more anytime you like!”
I envision her looking out the kitchen window and seeing me shimmying up her tree to grab an apple at six in the morning. I suffer from a serious case of bad timing so I could definitely see a scenario like this one playing out. I cringe.
I give her a big smile and say “Thanks!” I walk away with my big bag of backyard apples like I must have just won the lottery.
Life can be so good sometimes!
And I vowed to make some tasty sweets with those apples, and the first item on my list? Cinnamon Rolls! Yes, I know they don’t traditionally have apples in them, but that was something I intended to change.
Now, to be completely honest, I must confess that I don’t often like sweets for breakfast. They usually leave me feeling a like the character Cher in Clueless; a little on the lightheaded side. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to try out this idea for an Apple Pie Cinnamon Roll, because I thought the apples might step in for the sugar to add some sweetness. But I also added a second healthy ingredient. Chickpeas.
You might be asking yourself, “What is up with Marly and her obsession with chickpeas!” It’s ok to roll your eyes if you want to when you say that. I get it. Adding chickpeas to unexpected recipes can be kind of perplexing, but here’s the deal. I’m on a mission. It’s not a Blues Brothers kind of mission, but it’s a mission all the same. I’m creating a list of 100 Things to Do With Chickpeas.
These Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls just made it to the list.
I think the fiber from the apples and chickpeas really helps balance the sweet side of this early morning delight. But don’t take my word for it; give it a try yourself.
So here I am with another thing I’m thankful for. Apples from neighbors and Cinnamon Rolls that I can make…and eat too!
Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls
- ⅓ cup soy milk
- 2 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast, (1 package)
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons Vegan Butter (Earth Balance Margarine), softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 2 – 3 cups flour
- ½ cup corn starch
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 apple, peeled and thinly sliced (be sure to save the peel for the Apple Filling)
- Apple Pie Filling (See Recipe Below)
- Coconut Cream Drizzle (See Recipe Below)
- Pour soy milk in a small bowl and warm in the microwave for 11 seconds. You could do 10 seconds, but hitting the “1” button on the microwave twice is much easier. See how lazy I can be? After it’s done, test the milk to make sure it’s not too warm. I usually put my finger in the milk – it should be slightly warmer than my finger. If it feels hot, then it needs to sit and cool for a bit. Once youv’e got the temperature just right, add the yeast. Stir for a bit and then allow the yeast to proof in the warm milk until foamy.
- In a large bowl combine proofed yeast with sugar, Vegan Butter, and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl combine ground flaxseed, 2 cups of flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda and salt to create the flour mix. Gradually add flour mix into wet ingredients and stir until you have a sticky dough.
- Place the dough on a well-floured surface, sprinkle with flour and knead for 5 minutes or so. If the dough becomes sticky again (and it probably will) sprinkle with more flour. Repeat this while you’re kneading until the dough forms a nice consistent texture. If you don’t like the idea of kneading, think of it this way – being on your feet and moving around in the kitchen, getting your hands involved in the effort is not something we do as much now as we used to. We spend far too much time sitting in front of screens in our lives. Kneading this dough is your chance to get in touch with the feel of your feet on the floor, your hands in the dough. It’s all good!
- You’ll know your dough is ready when you press your thumb in the middle leaving an impression and the dough rises back up to fill the void. Place the dough in an oiled bowl (I usually just rinse down the one I was just using), spray the top with cooking spray, cover with a moist tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes to an hour so the dough can double in size. Oh, and don’t clean up that well-floured surface just yet…you’re going to need that in a minute.
- Here’s the part where you can go get your eyebrows waxed or schedule an appointment with your masseuse. You know, the typical things you do on a Saturday morning. Or you could just go ahead and make the filling.
- After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down (sorry, dough, but someone had to do it). Then pour it out onto your well-floured surface, sprinkle with a little more flour and use a rolling pin to flatten it out. Your goal is to shape the dough into a rectangle about 12″ x 16″. You can achieve that by turning and rolling the dough in different directions until you get it just right. You want the dough to roll out nice and thin, but not too thinly. It’s a tough measurement, but I know you can do it!
- Spread the apple pie filling in an even layer across the top of the dough. Top that with the thin slices of apple. You can also add some raisins here if you’d like.
- Now it’s time for the fun part, rolling the dough until it forms a sort of cinnamon roll log. You’re going to roll the long side of the rectangle so begin with the part that is closes to you and roll the dough one section at a time. Keep rolling the dough tightly as possible until you reach the end. Pinch the ends of the dough to try to hold all the goodies inside.
- Using a serrated knife, slice the rolls about 1 1/2″ thick and carefully place them into a greased cake pan. Leave about an inch between each roll. Cover loosely with that moist cloth from step 5 and walk away. This recipe gives you a lot of you time, doesn’t it? Go take a Spanish lesson or take a Tae Kwon Do class while you let the cinnamon rolls rise, probably about an hour. While you’re waiting you could go ahead and get that oven warmed up to 350° F.
- Once the rolls have risen, bake them for about 30 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when you look in and see a nice golden edge (see photos above).
- I know you want to eat them right now, but let them cool a little bit first and then slather on the drizzle. Hmm, that doesn’t work does it? Well, you know what I mean!
Apple Pie Filling
- 1 15 oz. can low-sodium chickpeas
- 1½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons hazelnut flavor (optional)
- Peel from one apple (use the one from the thinly sliced apple above)
- 3 tablespoons Vegan Butter (Earth Balance Margarine), softened
- 3 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. You want the filling to be thick and spreadable. If it’s too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until you get it just right.
Coconut Cream Drizzle
- 3 tablespoons Earth Balance Coconut Spread (or coconut oil, softened)*
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 – 2 tablespoons soy milk
- Stir together the softened coconut spread and powdered sugar. It should form a rather stiff dough.
- Add the soy milk, one tablespoon at a time until you get a nice spreadable icing.
- Either drizzle (as the name implies) or slather on top of those cinnamon rolls.