Oh, I know what you’re thinking, “These sure look like cinnamon rolls.”
But don’t let your eyes fool you.
They may look like pillowy, yeasty cinnamon rolls, but they actually have the flakiness of biscuits.
These “Apple-Stuffed Biscuit Buns” are true butter bombs, too.
For nine rolls, you use 17 tablespoons of butter. (Cough, cough) But let’s not hone in on that, shall we? After all, without the butter, these wouldn’t be so wonderfully fall-apart flaky. And that’s what you want in a great biscuit or else why bother, right?
The recipe is from the new “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook”(W.W. Norton & Company) by Amy Traverso, senior food and home editor of Yankee magazine. The book, which I recently received a review copy of, is full of 150 recipes, both sweet and savory, that make use of fresh apples, apple cider and applesauce. There’s a handy primer, too, on varieties of apples that includes tasting notes, texture descriptions, best uses and origins.
These biscuit buns get their name from the fact that the dough is rolled up around a filling of cinnamon-sugar and one diced apple to create a pretty spiral effect when cut into slices.
The dough is fairly shaggy, because you want to keep the bits of butter intact and not thoroughly incorporated, so that when baked, they melt and form the air pockets that create flaky layers. It takes a bit of finesse to work with the dough, but your patience will be rewarded. Use a dough scraper to compress and shape it, and a rolling pin to flatten it. The parchment paper you use to support the dough will help you greatly in rolling it up tightly in much the same was that a bamboo mat does when making nori-wrapped nigiri sushi rolls.
They’re pretty irresistible when still warm from the oven, with a sturdy exterior giving way to a soft, sweet filling surrounded by buttery layers.
My husband, who was suffering from a cold, inhaled two without a blink. After all, if an apple a day keeps the doctor away, two apple biscuit buns surely must keep anything that ails you at bay.
That’s my prescription and I’m swearing by it.
“Apple-Stuffed Biscuit Buns”
For the filling:
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons salted butter, cut into chunks, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 large firm-sweet apple (about 8 ounces), such as Jazz, Pink Lady or Pinata; peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
For the buns:
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons cold salted butter, cut into small cubes
Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with a little bit of butter; set aside.
Make the filling: In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, 5 tablespoons butter and the cinnamon. Using a pastry cutter (or fork), cut butter into the sugar, working it in until the mixture looks like wet sand. Put in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the dough.
In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Sprinkle butter over the flour mixture and use your fingers to work it in (rub your thumb against your fingertips, smearing the butter as you do). Stop when mixture looks like sand studded with little chunks. Add egg mixture and stir with a fork just until dough begins to hold together. It will look quite ragged and not fully blended, but stop there. You want to prevent the butter from melting into the dough — those little chunks will create a flakier texture once baked.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set a rack to the middle position. Dump the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper and knead just enough to bring it all together into a ball. Using a rolling pin and bench scraper (or spatula), roll the dough (still on parchment) into a 9-by-15-inch rectangle with straight sides.
Sprinkle dough all over with brown sugar mixture, leaving a 1-inch border across one of the longer edges. Top with apples and gently press down. Working from the long edge opposite the border, roll the dough up tightly, jelly-roll-style, using the parchment as an aid. When you reach the border, give the roll a squeeze and turn seam side down.
Cut roll crosswise into 9 equal buns and arrange in the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve warm, right from the pan.
From “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook” by Amy Traverso
More Apple Recipes To Try: Stephanie Izard’s Apple-Pork Ragu with Pappardelle