Greetings! As soon as I saw these pull-apart rolls on the King Arthur website, I wanted to make them. For the boiled cider used in their recipe, I instead substituted 4 cups of apple juice that I reduced to 1/2 cup. I couldn’t find apple cider anywhere in the grocery stores around me, for some reason, but the unfiltered, pressed apple juice that I did find seemed to fit the bill and I was amazed at how concentrated the apple flavor is in the reduction I made!
If you are on the fence about whether to take the time to make your own apple juice reduction, it didn’t take too long at all, just a little over an hour on medium heat, but the effort is well worth the final product. I was worried that these rolls wouldn’t be apple-y enough, but the reduction makes up for the small amount of diced apples on top of each roll.
Next time I make these, I might consider weighing each of the 8 small dough balls for each roll so that they would look more uniform. But overall, I was really pleased with the final product and glad I added the milk powder and egg to the dough, which made the dough softer and tastier.
apple pull-apart rolls (modified from a King Arthur Flour recipe)
2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm whole milk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
pinch of sugar
3 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons potato flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, not packed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons malted milk powder, optional
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature, lightly beaten
4 cups for making the apple juice reduction (see below)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 and 1/2 cup peeled, cored, diced apples, any variety
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 Tablespoon whole milk
3 Tablespoons of the apple juice reduction (see below)*
4 cups apple juice for 1/2 cup apple juice reduction (see below)*
*Make the apple juice reduction: place 4 cups of apple juice, preferably unfiltered, into a medium saucepan and heat on medium heat for about 1 and a half hours or until juice has reduced and concentrated to about 1/2 cup. Turn off heat and set aside.
In a bowl, add the milk and water and stir in the active dry yeast with a pinch of sugar, then let sit to bloom until bubbly and frothy, about 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, potato flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and if using, the milk powder. Also had the lightly beaten egg and the tablespoons of butter. No need to make a well in the center. All ingredients will be mixed in by stirring and kneading.
When yeast has bloomed in the milk/water, add it to the dry ingredients, a little at a time, in different areas of the bowl, while stirring with a spoon or just use your hands to massage it and mix it in until a smooth dough forms.
Resist the urge to mix in more flour. Unless it’s really sticky, add a teaspoon of flour at a time to it. Otherwise, it will get more manageable the more you knead it. Knead for about 5-7 minutes, then place in a lightly oiled bowl, turned once to coat all sides, then cover the bowl and let sit for about 60-90 minutes until doubled in size.
When dough is rising, peel, core, and dice apples and place them in a bowl with a splash of a mixture of lemon juice and water to help keep them from browning. Cover apples with plastic.
Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
When dough has doubled (or almost doubled), divide into 12 pieces, each piece weighing 2 ounces. For each roll, divide each 2 ounce piece into 8 pieces. It doesn’t have to be precise, but if you want them to be uniform, use a gram scale to portion out 7 grams of 8 little balls. (I didn’t do this, but just “eyeballed” it. Next time I might try doing this.) Roll each piece into balls.
Dredge each ball of dough in the cinnamon sugar, then place four in the bottom of each muffin mold, followed by topping with a heaping Tablespoon or so of diced apples. Dredge the four remaining pieces of dough in the cinnamon sugar and place on top the diced apples in the mold.
After all the rolls have been assembled, cover loosely with a lightly greased piece of plastic and let rise for about 2 hours until noticeably puffy.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
When ready, remove plastic and place tray in the center rack of the oven and bake for about 15-17 minutes until the tops are lightly browned.
Remove from the oven and place tray on a wire rack. Do not remove rolls right away, let it cool about 15 minutes.
After removing each roll from the mold, drizzle about a teaspoon of the remaining apple juice reduction over each roll. Let them rest while making the glaze.
Make the glaze by whisking together the confectioners sugar, salt, unsalted butter, whole milk, and 3 Tablespoons of the apple juice reduction. Divide evenly among the rolls by drizzling a little over each roll. Rolls are best served when still warm or at least on the same day.