I took my favorite challah recipe and transformed it into cinnamon rolls. Filled with apple butter and pecans, and sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar, these are a delicious late autumn treat.
Very lightly adapted from The Clueless Baker, by Evelyn Raab
4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
4 ½ teaspoons instant yeast
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm water
½ cup olive oil
½ cup apple butter
⅓ cup pecans, roughly chopped
Cinnamon and brown sugar, to taste
Note: I prepared a cinnamon sugar mixture with 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. I sprinkled around half of it over the challah rolls and stored the remaining mixture in an airtight container for later use.
Prepare the dough: In a large mixing bowl, stir together 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Mix in water, eggs, and olive oil until smooth. Add remaining 2 cups of flour. Knead, either directly in the bowl or on a lightly floured surface, until dough is elastic and springs back when touched. Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Set aside to rise until doubled in size, around 30-45 minutes.
Fill and shape the rolls: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough into a long oval around ¼ inch thick. Spread with apple butter, leaving a slight border around the edges. Sprinkle chopped pecans evenly over the apple butter. Roll up dough as if preparing a jelly roll. Using a serrated knife, cut into 10 pieces. Place rolls cut-side down on prepared baking sheet around an inch apart. If rolls have loose ends, tuck them under the dough so the rolls don’t come undone when baking. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise for 20 minutes.
Bake: While rolls are rising, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle tops of rolls with cinnamon-brown sugar mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until rolls just begin to turn golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container or Ziploc bag at room temperature.
Liana’s Kitchen is a column by Astoria-based chef and foodie Liana Grey. Check out her food blog Bakerwithoutborders.