These buns came about after we had a surplus of slightly old and floury apples just crying out to be made into a compote. This paired with a refusal to eat THAT cereal from-the-very-back-of-the-cupboard for breakfast meant that these tasty autumnal treats were born. (I loathe cereal, but more on that another time…)
The enriched dough itself isn’t overly sweet and infusing your milk with bay means that the dough is slightly more aromatic and savoury. It’s subtle, but the bay is there. Heating your milk to just below boiling point will cause your dough to be so soft and pillowy that you’ll definitely be going back for seconds. My hollow-legged boyfriend had thirds!
- 175 ml Whole milk
- 35 g sugar
- 7 g fast-action yeast (1 sachet)
- 350 g strong white bread flour (extra for dusting)
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- 50 g Butter (softened)
- 5 dried bay leaves
- 4 eating apples (such as cox or braeburn, you could use one large cooking apple if you want a sharper apple flavour)
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 lemon (zest)
- 2 handfuls of raisins or sultanas (optional)
- 75 g Butter (softened)
- 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp Butter (softened)
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp Whole milk
- 1/2 lemon (zest)
Add the milk and bay leaves to a pan and heat to just below boiling point. Leave to infuse and cool until the milk isn’t too hot to touch.
Core and roughly chop your apples. Don’t bother with peeling them. Add them to a non-stick saucepan with a tbsp of caster sugar and the mixed spice. Place on a low heat and cover with a lid. Cook them to your desired consistency. Chunky is fine! I opted for a compote-like consistency. Once cooked, add your lemon zest and set aside.
Whilst your apples are cooking, remove the bay leaves from the milk and discard. Add the packet of yeast to the milk and whisk.
Sieve the flour into a big mixing bowl and add the sugar. Make a well in the middle of your dry ingredients and pour in the milk mixture and the beaten egg.
Stir until it forms a craggy dough and then slowly add the softened butter, a teaspoon at a time until it’s all combined.
Knead the dough in a mixer or lightly floured surface for 10-15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Form into a ball and place in a clean bowl. Cover with a tea towel or clingfilm and leave until doubled in size. This can be anything between 45mins – 1 1/2 hours.
Grease and line your tin. I used a square tin, so made 9 buns. (But you could use a 23inch round tin and make between 6 – 8 larger buns.)
To make the cinnamon butter, simply beat together all the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
Once your dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knock it back. Roll out into a rectangle around 30 x 50 cm with the longest side nearest to you.
Spread the cinnamon butter across the dough. I find it easier to drop little dollops of the butter all across the dough before spreading. This prevents the dough from tearing. Leave a 1cm border around the edge.
Next, you need to add your apple. Your apples may have become a little watery whilst sitting, so pour away any excess liquid. Spread evenly across the dough. Again, leaving a 1cm border.
Carefully roll the dough as tightly as you can, using the longest edge that’s nearest to you. Try not to squeeze out the filling as you roll. It’s tricky to get a lot of turns out of the dough as the oozy filling is so wet!
Cut into your desired amount of slices. Place cut-side-up in your tin and cover loosely with clingfilm or a tea towel. Preheat your oven to 180c / 160c Fan / Gas 4. Leave to rise for 30-45 mins or until all the buns look plump and puffy and are snuggly tucked up against one another.
Brush the top of the buns with beaten egg and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake on the middle shelf for 35-40 mins until golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin. Dust with some additional cinnamon if you wish.
To make the icing, sieve your icing sugar into a large bowl and add the milk. Whisk together, then add your vanilla and softened butter. Whisk until smooth. Pour over your cooled buns (whilst still in the lined tin) and add zest the lemon over the top.
This recipe is largely adapted from Olive magazine’s toffee apple cinnamon buns.
I found that the buns were actually better the next day once they had absorbed some of the appley moisture. But by all means, eat them warm from the oven if you can’t wait 🙂