The Jewish New Year is quickly approaching and the big question is, do you follow a traditional holiday menu of brisket, noodle kugel and matzo ball soup or do you branch out and do something ...
Place 1/3 cup warm water into a liquid measuring cup. Add the yeast and teaspoon sugar and mix. Let sit five minutes, or until thick. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, place 1/2 cup of the oil, salt and 2/3 cup sugar. Whisk well. Add the boiling water and whisk to dissolve the salt and sugar. Add the cold water and mix again.
Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add to oil mixture, reserving one tablespoon to brush on the loaves. Cover the reserved egg and place in the fridge. Add the vanilla and cinnamon to the bowl and whisk in. Do not worry that the cinnamon does not dissolve; it will mix in later. When the yeast bubbles, add the yeast mixture to the bowl and stir.
Add 6 cups of the flour, one cup at a time, mixing the flour in completely after each addition. You can use the dough hook in a stand mixer. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead until smooth, adding flour a little at a time from the remaining ½ cup. The dough is done when you rub your palm across the dough and it feels soft. Shape the dough into a ball. Lift up the dough and add the remaining one teaspoon oil to the bowl and rub all around the bowl and on top of the dough. Place the dough into the oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise one hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the apples. Peel and core the apples and cut into 1/4-inch cubes. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg and apples. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until fork tender. You do not want them to be too soft. Add the remaining teaspoon cinnamon and honey and stir. Scoop into another bowl and let cool. If any liquid remains in the bowl, strain out before filling the rolls.
Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
When the dough has risen, divide into 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then roll between your hands into an 8-inch strand. Place horizontally in front of you and use a rolling pin to roll the dough until it is about 4 inches wide. Add one heaping tablespoon of apple filling and use your fingers to spread along the dough the long way. Fold one long side of dough over the filling and then roll up to close. Pinch the edges closed, tucking in any apples that try to escape. Tie each strand into a knot, pulling an end through the top to look like a button, or shape into a spiral by coiling the strand around and tucking in the end. Place on the prepared baking sheets and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Take the reserved egg, add two teaspoons water and one tablespoon honey and stir. Brush the tops of the rolls.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Store covered at room temperature for up to three days or freeze for up to three months.
Recipe from The Holiday Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer
Sterling / November 2013