I never understood the point of blogging. I work in tourism and am passionate about travel and sharing my experiences with my family and friends through my photos but I never liked the idea of travel blogs. Maybe it’s the cynic in me, but I see them as a way for people to scam free trips off operators because of SEO value and that sort of stuff. There are better ways to gather info and advice about destinations, in my opinion.
I never understood the point of blogging…until I discovered food blogging, that is! The idea of sharing recipes and my cooking exploits with my friends and the world seemed like the best idea ever. I had been getting into baking and was looking for some recipes online when I came across Sally’s Baking Addiction. It was the first food blog I had ever visited and I absolutely loved it. Her pictures are stunning and make my mouth water every time I look at them. Her blogging tips inspired me to give it a go and while my blog is nowhere near as awesome as hers, you have to start somewhere, don’t you?
The first recipe of Sally’s that I tried were her Glazed Chocolate Donut Holes. My version were not very successful – I didn’t have a mini muffin tray, so was using a full sized one, meaning I was estimating timings. I also forgot to add the butter to the mixture! I had just put them in the oven and started cleaning up the kitchen when I saw the butter sitting there. Panic ensued, but the muffins were actually pretty tasty and everyone at worked enjoyed their ‘fat-free’ element; they just didn’t taste anything like donuts. At least the were edible!
The second recipe I tried of Sally’s were her Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls and this time, I followed the recipe to the letter. They don’t look as good as Sally’s, but they definitely tasted good. My dough didn’t seem to rise as much as I expected when I left it to stand as instructed, but they seemed to rise well enough in the oven.
I hadn’t really baked with yeast before, and was a bit apprehensive, but it wasn’t as hard as I expected. I kept putting off making the filling while the dough was resting, so it hadn’t cooled down as much as it should of, but it didn’t seem to affect anything too adversely. My rolls were not as even as they could’ve been, I started cutting them a little too small, so there were a few tiny ones to begin with. Like I said, not perfect, but tasty nonetheless.
The dough was soft and moist and the flavours were delicious. They probably needed a few more minutes in the oven, but I was worried that they’d had enough already. All part of the learning curve.
As with most of my baking accomplishments, I took them into work, where they were a huge hit. I’m glad I’ve got such willing colleagues to test everything on, otherwise my boyfriend and I would be gaining weight like no tomorrow!
Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
7g sachet dry yeast
½ cup warm water
½ cup apple juice
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1½ tsp vanilla essence
30g unsalted butter, softened
3½ cups plain flour
60g unsalted butter, softened
2 medium apples, cored, peeled, thinly sliced
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
60g unsalted butter
½ cup brown sugar
2½ tbsp heavy cream
- For the dough, firstly dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a small jug, stirring for a minute or so. Pour into a large mixing bowl, adding apple juice, salt, vanilla extract, sugar, egg, butter and 1½ cups of flour. Using an electric mixer, beat on low until combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir in about 1½ to 2 cups of flour, so that the dough is easy to handle and isn’t sticky. The dough should rebound when poked.
- Lightly flour your workbench, and knead dough using your hands for 5-6 minutes. Lightly grease a bowl, form the dough into a ball and transfer to the bowl. Cover the bowl and leave in a warm place for about 1 hour 30 minutes, until the dough is double it’s original size.
- While the dough is rising, make the filling by melting 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan. Add apples and cook for about 10-15 minutes, until soft. Drain the apples and refrigerate in a small bowl until cool. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix brown sugar and cinnamon together.
- Line a 23 x 33cm baking tray or slice pan with baking paper. On a lightly floured workbench, use a rolling pin (or in my case, an empty wine bottle!) to roll the dough into a 23 x 38cm rectangle, ensuring the thickness is even. Spread 2 tbsp softened butter over the dough, followed by half of the cinnamon and brown sugar mixture. Spread cooled apples evenly over the dough, and sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon and brown sugar mixture.
- Roll the dough up tightly and cut into 15 evenly sized pieces. Position the rolls in the prepared baking tray/slice pan in a 3 x 4 configuration, then cover and leave in a warm place for about 45 minutes to rise.
- Preheat oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Cover baking tray/slice pan with aluminium foil and bake for 30 minutes, until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
- For the caramel sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the brown sugar and cream. Over a medium heat, stir constantly, until sugar has dissolved. Bring to boil for 3-4 minutes, then remove from heat and pour over cinnamon rolls.
Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, rewritten.