apple cinnamon twist

We're barely into the second week of fall and I'm on my second apple post already. But look around the foodie blogosphere and what you'll see is apples, apples and more apples. It's fall! It's apples! So are you sick of apples yet, people? Neither am I. Phew. Because I've got at least two more apple posts in the pipeline. Well, at least it's not pumpkin. Although never fear, that's coming too…

Apple overload or not, trust me here, no one's gonna whinge and moan if you present them with this apple cinnamon twist from King Arthur Flour, October's selection for the Avid Bakers Challenge. Because it's really, really good. Really. A light and slightly sweet dough, tangy apple filling with a touch of cinnamon, a creamy drizzle of icing. You see anything to complain about here? Didn't think so. And neither did the Official Shaggy Dough Taste Testing Team, who were a happy lot when I brought the two loaves into work.

I've made quite a few of these twisted braids and have never been disappointed in one yet. They're easy to make once you get the twist thing down (we're not talking rocket surgery here), the possibilities for fillings are endless and they're always really pretty to look at too. This particular bread is only slightly challenging in that the apple filling might make accomplishing the twist a little messy, but it's no biggie. Two tricks that can make it easier are, first, to dry off the apples after you grate them and second, not make the filling until you're just about to use it. I made mine a little too soon and while it started out okay, by the time I was ready to spread it over the dough it had definitely gotten a soupier.  But never fear, messy or not, it's still a mighty tasty bread that will earn you major brownie points with family and friends. Definitely one to add to your baking to-do list.

And don't forget to check out how the other ABCers did with this month's challenge.

Next up…more apple stuff!

apple cinnamon twist

Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3 1/4 cups (13 to 13 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 ounces) potato flour OR 1/2 cup dried potato flakes
  • 1 heaping tablespoon (1/2 ounce) granular lecithin* (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla OR Princess Cake Flavor
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) milk

Filling

  • 1/2 cup (3 3/4 ounces) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) ClearJel or unbleached all-purpose flour* 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup peeled, grated apple (1 to 2 large apples, 10 to 12 ounces whole)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Glaze

  • 1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water OR 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream*

Instructions

  1. Add all of the dry ingredients in the bowl of your mixer, making sure to fully incorporate the potato flour or flakes. Mix in the remaining dough ingredients using the paddle attachment until it all forms a shaggy dough. Cover and let rest for about 30 minutes.
  2. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed for about 10 minutes. The dough will be soft and somewhat sticky. Lightly grease a bowl, add the dough and turn to coat, then cover the bowl and let the rise until nearly doubled (about 1-1/2 to 2 hours).
  3. To make the filling, toss the grated apples and lemon juice. Mix together the sugar, flour or ClearJel and cinnamon, then add in the apples, mix and set aside. (Note, I made my filling while the dough was rising and by the time I was ready to use it, it had gotten very soupy. When I bake this again, I'll hold off on the making the filling until just before I was about to use it.)
  4. Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured work surface and deflate gently, folding it over a couple of times, then divide in half.
  5. Roll one half of the dough into a rectangle, about 10 x 12. Spread half of the apple cinnamon filling over the dough, leaving about a 1/2 to 1" clear on all sides.
  6. Roll from the long edge into a tight jelly roll shape, pressing the edges together to seal. Place the roll on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Cut the roll in half lengthwise with a sharp knife or pizza cutter and turn the cut sides up. Working from the center to the end of each roll and keeping the filling side facing up, twist the two rolls over one another, then pinch the ends to seal. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
  7. Lightly cover the loaves with plastic wrap and let rise for 1–2 hours.
  8. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°. Bake the loaves for about 30–35 minutes, until lightly browned. Tent with foil if they're browning too quickly. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before glazing.
  9. To make the glaze, mix all of the ingredients together until smooth and drizzle over the cooled loaves.

Notes

  1. Not quite sure what the lecithin adds but I have it so I used it. There's some educated baking for ya.
  2. I used the Princess flavor since I have that too. It's an interesting addition and I don't mean that in a "Well, bless your heart" kind of way. Very distinctive aroma and flavor.
  3. No Clear Jel on hand–must remedy that pronto–so I used flour. If you do go that route, see above about not making the filling until just before you're ready to use it.
  4. I used heavy cream but found I needed way more than 3 tablespoons to get a drizzle-able (did I just make up a new word?) consistency. More like 4–5. The icing was a bit too sweet for my taste–well, yeah…there's a cup of sugar in there–so I'll probably try lemon juice next time instead of water or cream to cut the sweetness a bit.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour