Easy, fluffy, soft baked apple cinnamon rolls rolled in cinnamon sugar – these apfelschnecken can be found in many German bakeries and are the perfect fall treat!
Which apples should I use?
Really any apples will work in this recipe. However, I do recommend picking an apple that is more likely to hold its shape such as a granny smith or honey crisp!
How do I know if my dough has proofed for long enough?
These apfelschnecken proof twice; the first time is right after mixing, the second time is once they have been shaped. In both cases, the dough should double in size but not exceed that. It can be helpful to take a photo pre-proof to compare.
Can these be made in advance?
These taste best, still warm and fresh out of the oven. However, if stored in an airtight container, they can be eaten within a few days after baking (especially good if reheated in the oven or the microwave). They can also be rolled and sliced and placed on baking sheets, covered with plastic wrap, and then baked in the morning!
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Tips for making Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- When making yeasted dough, ensure that you allow your mixer to fully knead the dough, until it forms a smooth ball and the sides of the bowl are cleaned.
- It is very important that the butter in the filling is soft and spreadable but not melted. This will allow you to add extra butter into the filling but not tear the dough.
- The apple pieces need to be small. This will allow for tight rolls and keep the apple pieces from falling out. The apple pieces should be no larger than 1/4″.
- The schnecken should be brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar immediately after baking. This will allow the flavors to sink in and the sugar to stick.
- All Purpose Flour: Any all purpose flour will work for these! I have not yet tried any other flours with this recipe.
- Sugar: This recipe uses granulated sugar in the dough and filling as well as in the cinnamon sugar coating.
- Milk: The apfelschnecken use milk as the liquid in the dough; however, they will also work with non-dairy milks such as almond or light coconut milk.
- Butter: The butter adds moisture to the dough as well as the filling!
- Eggs: I use standard large eggs from the store. There is one whole egg and one egg yolk in the dough.
- Yeast: In this recipe, active dry yeast is used. However, if you are using instant, simply whisk it in with the flour and sugar in the first step.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract adds flavor to the dough.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon works well with apple and adds warmth to these schnecken.
- Lemon juice: Lemon juice adds a little brightness to the apple as well as keeps them from turning brown.
- Apple: This recipe only uses one apple in all of the schnecken. It is not that important which apple you choose but honey crisp and granny smith are my two favorites!
How to make Apfelschnecken
Make the dough
- Heat the milk until it is just lukewarm, then stir in the yeast. Set aside to bloom for ten minutes.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer add in the flour and sugar, then whisk to combine.
- Then add in the butter, egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and bloomed yeast/milk mixture. Use the dough hook attachment to knead the dough on medium low speed until smooth and the sides of the mixing bowl are clean.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl (can be the same mixing bowl). Cover the bowl with a towel or plastic and place somewhere warm to rise for an hour.
- While the dough proofs, peel and core the apple. Then dice into 1/4″ chunks, squeeze half a lemon over the apple and stir together. Set aside until the dough is ready.
- Mix together cinnamon and sugar to create the cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Once proofed, gently roll the dough out into a 24 cm x 45 cm rectangle.
- Use an offset spatula or rubber spatula to spread the softened butter over the entire surface of the dough.
- Stir the chopped apples with 2-3 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Sprinkle the apples over the butter and dough in an evenly dispersed layer. If any liquid has run off of the apples, be careful not to pour it onto the dough.
- Starting at one short end, roll the dough up tight. Squeeze it along the way to lock in the apple chunks.
- Once rolled up, place the roll on it’s seam. Mark 2 cm slices along the top of the roll.
- Use a sharp knife to slice through the roll and create 12 slices. Place 6 slices onto each baking sheet. Tuck the end of each roll/slice under each slice. This will prevent the roll from unrolling.
- Place the baking sheets somewhere warm to proof for half an hour.
- Arrange two oven racks in the oven so that they divide the oven into thirds. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 325 F if baking on convection – either will work for this recipe.
- Once proofed, bake the schnecken for 20 minutes until golden brown. If not baking on convection, rotate and swap the baking sheets after 12 minutes to make sure they bake and brown evenly.
- Once baked, remove the schnecken from the oven and immediately brush with melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Leave to cool for at least five minutes before enjoying!
- Stand Mixer
- 125 ml milk lukewarm
- 15 grams instant yeast
- 425 grams ap flour
- 100 grams granulated sugar
- 1 egg room temp
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100 grams butter softened
- 60 grams butter soft and spreadable
- 1 apple large
- 1/2 lemon juice
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
- 40 grams butter melted
- 150 grams granulated sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- Heat the milk until it is lukewarm, stir in the yeast. Set aside to bloom for 10 minutes.
- In a large stand mixing bowl, add flour and sugar, and whisk together.
- Add in the remaining dough ingredients and the bloomed yeast/milk mixture.
- Use the dough hook to knead the dough on medium low speed for 10-15 minutes until smooth.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or proofing bag and set it somewhere warm to rest for 1 hour.
- Peel and cut the apple into 1/4" chunks.
- Add the cut apple into a bowl and squeeze the lemon juice over the top. Stir to combine.
- Stir the cinnamon and sugar together to create the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Assembling the Schnecken
- Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- After the 1 hr has passed, roll the dough out into a rectangle that measures 24 x 45 cm.
- Spread the softened butter over the dough.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar mixture to the chopped apple and stir to combine.
- Spring the apple filling over the spread butter.
- Roll up the dough starting with one short side. As you roll, squeeze it to make sure the roll is nice and tight.
- Measure out slices that are approximately 2 cm thick. Then cut at each 2 cm mark. Place the slices onto the baking sheets, leaving at least 3 inches between each roll. There should be no more than 6 on a half size baking sheet.
- Tuck the ends under each roll. Leave the schnecken to rest for 30 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 350 F or 325 F if baking on convection.
Baking and finishing
- After the schnecken have rested for 30 minutes, bake them for 20 min until golden brown. Rotate and switch the baking sheets after the first 12 min to ensure even browning if not baking on convection.
- Once the schnecken are done baking, while still hot, brush with the melted butter.
- Sprinkle all of the schnecken with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Leave to cool for at least 5 minutes before enjoying.