- 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast (1 packet)
- 1/2 cup warm water (98 – 105°F)
- 3 Tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup apple butter (if you are feeling industrious, make up a batch of my Drunken Granny Apple
- Butter, or grab a jar from your local farmer’s market)
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups bread flour
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter
- 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar or Cinnamon/ Sugar mix (add 2 teaspoons cinnamon to 1/4 cup of granulated sugar)
Using an electric mixer with a bread hook, place the warm water and sugar in the mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it foam for 10 minutes.
Then turn on the mixer and add the apple butter, egg and salt. Slowly add the flour. Once all the flour is in the bowl, add the melted butter. “Knead” the dough with the bread hook for 5-8 minutes.
The dough will be smooth, but very tacky. Dump it out onto a floured work surface. Using a floured knife, cut the dough into 4 quarters. Then cut each quarter into 6 equal pieces, to make 24 small dough segments.
Turn the ends of each dough segment under to create little balls.
At this point, you must decide whether you want to try the crock pot method or traditional oven baking method. If you would like to try the crock pot version, place a large piece of parchment paper in a 6 quart slow cooker, and press down. Arrange 12 dough balls in the slow cooker. Then carefully lift the parchment paper out, and repeat with the remaining dough balls and another piece of parchment, creating two separate batches. Place the lid on the crockpot and cover the additional dough balls on the counter, with plastic wrap. Allow them to rise for 1 hour at room temperature. *At this point the dough balls could be put in the fridge for up to a week, until ready to bake.
Gently brush melted butter over the rolls and sprinkle them with a little brown sugar or cinnamon sugar mix. Turn the slow cooker on high and “bake” for 60-90 minutes, depending on your crockpot. To test, touch the top of the rolls. If they feel slightly firm and are no longer tacky, the rolls are ready. Repeat with the second batch of dough balls. Each batch will cook for 60-90 minutes, 3 hrs total.
If you would rather go with the oven method, preheat the oven to 450°F. Allow rolls to rise for 1 hour, covered on parchment covered baking sheets. When ready to bake, gently brush melted butter over the rolls and sprinkle them with a little brown sugar or cinnamon sugar mix. Place trays in the oven for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and turn the temperature down to 400°F for about 8 more minutes, until they are golden brown. Let cool on wire racks.