Apple Honey Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns

Baking, Breakfast, Desserts

Nothing spells comfort food more than an old-fashioned cinnamon bun, and these Apple Honey Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns made with BC Tree Fruits apples are perfect for cold winter mornings (perhaps Christmas morning?).

I clearly recall the day that I spent with my grandma Laurin (my Dad’s mom) learning how to make her famous cinnamon buns from the expert herself: I was 16 years old, and was just starting to learn about health and nutrition.   I rolled out the dough according to my grandma’s orders, and watched in absolute horror as she spread HANDFULS of butter over the dough.  My jaw dropped further as she added the brown sugar in huge scoops, sprinkled it with cinnamon before rolling it all up. NO WONDER they tasted so good!

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Fast-forward to this week when I decided it was time that I re-work this recipe to be a bit healthier and include some BC Tree Fruits apples, which seemed like a match made in heaven, yes?  I’ve learned many things in life, and my most recent revelation is that a cinnamon bun can only be so healthy before it’s not really a cinnamon bun any longer, at which point it’s also just not worth it in my books.  My first attempt was an epic fail: dry, crusty, and not sweet enough.   Blah.

After many batches of bread and boxes of apples later, I found the right balance that is much healthier than my grandma Laurin’s, but still tastes sinfully good!  I’m a big fan of apples, and am so grateful to live in Kelowna where I have unlimited access to the best apples in the world through BC Tree Fruits!  There are endless varieties of apples: I used Gala apples for this recipe and they worked perfectly, but most apple varieties will work well here.

Makes 12 cinnamon buns

 

For the Dough:

Step 1:

  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt

Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl and cool.

Step 2:

  • 3/4 cups lukewarm water (not too warm, you’ll kill the yeast)
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. yeast

Dissolve the water and sugar in a small bowl.  Sprinkle the yeast on top and let sit.

Step 3:

  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups unbleached white flour

 

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cups packed grated BC Tree Fruits apple (I used peeled Gala apples)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/4 c. honey

 

Directions:

  1. Mix the eggs into the first (Step 1) mixture once it has cooled to room temperature.
  2. Add 1 cup of the whole wheat flour from Step 3 to this mixture and stir well.
  3. Add the yeast mixture (Step 2) to the bowl and stir to incorporate.
  4. Gradually add the remaining flour, cup by cup (starting with the whole wheat flour), until the dough gets too difficult to stir in the bowl.  At this point, on a floured surface (your counter), empty the dough and knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  You will need to keep the surface floured to prevent it from sticking, and you may need slightly less or more flour than the recipe calls for as there are many variables to making bread.
  5. Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel, and place in a draft-free warm area to rise.
  6. Let the dough rise until doubled (about 40 minutes) and punch it down.  Repeat this process once.
  7. Preheat your oven to 350 F and grease a rectangle 9×13″ baking pan. On a lightly floured surface (I use all-purpose flour for this), roll out your dough to form a rectangle, approximately 1×2′.  Again, it doesn’t have to be exact!
  8. For the filling: spread the butter evenly on the dough, leaving a small 1/2″ edge, and sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon to evenly coat the dough.  Top with an even layer of the shredded apple, sprinkle with the raisins if using, and drizzle with honey.  Roll the dough into a long log from the longest edge of your rectangle until it is completely and tightly rolled. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 12 even slices or rounds.  Place the rounds evenly in the pan as pictured, cover with a clean towel, and allow them to rise in a slightly warm and draft-free area until they are doubled in size.
  9. Once doubled, bake for 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned.  Immediately turn the pan over onto a sheet of parchment paper on the counter once you remove them from the oven.
  10. These are best served fresh out of the oven, enjoy!

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Thank you to BC Tree Fruits for sponsoring this post, I am in love with your apples!

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11 Comments on “Apple Honey Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns”

  1. Lyndsay

    Hi Tori,
    These look amazing! I can’t wait to try them. I was wondering if the bibs could be prepped in advance and then popped in the oven on the morning? If so, how would you suggest going about it?
    Also, do you think I could make them gluten free? If so what flours would you suggest?
    Thank you and Merry Christmas!

  2. siri

    hi i keep trying to print this recipe to make christmas morning and it says the print link doesn’t work. Any fix on your side?

  3. maryanne

    updated question: do you think these would taste as good if using gluten free flour? or spelt flour instead?

  4. J

    I tried with gluten free flour…not as lovely as I had hoped. They were not fluffy but more dense like a cookie. I’m thinking the yeast was unable to react the same with the different flour. Added some frosting and kids still gobbled them up…more of cinnamon apple cookie swirl ;-). I’ll have to try with regular wheat flour next time.

    BTW, tried your chicken with butternut squash last night and it was divine 👌🏼…the whole family was in ❤️.

    1. Tori Wesszer

      Hi Jess thanks for the feedback, I must say I’m not surprised:(. Gluten in the flour makes it soft and elastic (hence why you knead dough), which is always a challenge when you make bread from gluten free flour. BUT I’m happy that the chicken was a hit in the house! Hopefully you have a chance to try the cinnamon buns with regular flour as I think you will be much more happy with the results! Happy Weekend! Tori

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