Apple Honey Cinnamon Rolls

apple honey cinnamon rolls

Next week is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year. (Literally “head of the year” in Hebrew.) As I little kid, I didn’t even know about the secular new year celebrated in January. It’s always made sense to me that the year should start in September, as that is when school starts. Or maybe it should start in March or April, when the first signs of new life appear in the Spring. But this is when the Jewish New year was set in ancient times, maybe because it corresponded with some important part of seasonal farming?

Now, this holiday always causes some difficulties for my brother and me because we have to miss a day of school to attend services, and then return to a crazy amount of make-up work and missed education (in some classes. In others I already know I won’t miss anything special…) But the nice thing about this holiday is also the very thing that’s a drag about it – I have to miss school, but hey: I GET TO MISS SCHOOL!

One of the most prevalent aspects of Jewish life is that pretty much every Jewish holiday is accompanied by quirky food traditions. One of the main food traditions for Rosh Hashana is apples dipped in honey. This is supposed to represent a sweet new year. (To me it nearly always represents a bowl of Red Delicious apple slices being pushed at me – no, thank you!) Another big theme of Rosh Hashana is circles and roundness – I think this is because each year has a beginning and an end, and the end is met directly by the beginning of the next year. Time never truly ends. It’s almost like the ancient Mayan calendar that progresses in a circle. Anyway, these circles are manifested in the traditional Rosh Hashana challah bread, which is shaped like a swirl instead of the usual braided shape for year-round challah.

I baked both of these Rosh Hashana traditions into a special treat: apple honey cinnamon rolls! They are sweet, gushing with rich filling and complete with delicious apple chunks. Granny Smith apples, that is! (I guess I’ll just have a sour new year. Somehow, Red Delicious just aren’t all that delicious to me.) The only thing that could have brought these cinnamon rolls a smidgeon closer to perfection would be pecans. That would have been the perfect addition, but I didn’t think of it until after they were baked! Oh, well, there’s always next year.

Enjoy these splendid cinnamon rolls, and I wish you a happy year!

Apple Honey Cinnamon Rolls

adapted from this recipe from Feed Me, Seymour

makes 12 medium rolls

apple and honey cinnamon roll


for dough

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (+ a bit more for flouring your work surface)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbls honey
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter, softened (I just microwaved for 30 seconds or so)

for filling

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbl cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3/4 of one Granny Smith apple, chopped into chunks (the smaller and flatter the chunks, the easier it will be to roll up the dough)


Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with greased aluminum foil (I didn’t do this and ended up with a very messy cookie sheet!)

To make filling: In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and honey. Set aside.

To make dough: In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix. Add honey and softened peanut butter. Slowly pour in coconut milk. Mix just until combined, but be careful not to over mix. Mixture will be soft and a bit wet.

Shape dough into two balls of equal size. Place them side by side on a floured surface (I just floured my cookie sheet and baked the rolls on that.) Now, flatten out the balls to form two rectangles.

Put it all together: Spread filling evenly over each of the rectangles, avoiding the very edges if possible (the filling is very gooey and will migrate!) Sprinkle apple chunks over filling.

Roll up each rectangle from the short side. This is the hardest part since apples keep tearing holes in the dough and filling wants to just ooze out and make everything into a big mess. The rolls may get so messy they don’t even resemble rolls anymore, but I urge you to just roll with it! Mine looked horrible and got all flat when I baked them, but the taste and texture turned out awesome!

Cut/pull off pieces of the rolls about 1/2 inch thick to form the basic shapes of cinnamon rolls…sort of… it won’t be perfect, but just get it so the filling is more or less inside the dough in each roll-ish shape and throw it in the oven.

Bake in preheated oven for about 8 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm and drizzled with a touch of honey. Mmmm… this tastes like a pretty sweet new year to me!

cinnamon apple honey roll

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