Cinnamon Apple Candy Cane Kolache with Cinnamon Drizzle

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An amazingly delicious apple cinnamon sweet roll dressed up as a candy cane for the holidays.

Every year we have family over to our house for Christmas breakfast and every year I make Kolaches. Kolaches are a Czechoslovakian pastry. We are not Czech, but when I saw a recipe for them in Better Homes and Gardens in April, 1997, while waiting to see a doctor, I knew my family would love them.

So I asked the receptionist to make a copy of the recipe for me and I’ve been making them ever since. This year, Lori at Recipe Girl posted a fun recipe for Candy Cane Coffee Cake. So I thought it would be fun to make Kolaches in the shape of a candy cane. Which I guess means they weren’t technically Kolaches anymore. But delicious just the same!

I used my favorite roll recipe for the dough (adding a teaspoon of vanilla) and the Daring Baker’s apple filling recipe. Jenny at Picky Palate has me addicted to cinnamon chips and I thought they would be a great addition to the apple filling. So I added half a cup of chips to the filling and added a cinnamon drizzle on top. It tasted amazing! Definitely one I’ll make next year!

Cinnamon Apple Candy Cane Kolache with Cinnamon Drizzle


Sweet Roll Dough

  • 2 c. bread flour
  • 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 t. vital wheat gluten
  • 1 pkg. rapid rise (instant) yeast
  • 1 c. milk (120º to 130º)
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Apple Filling

  • Makes enough for two braids
  • 4 Fuji or other apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Cinnamon Chips

Cinnamon drizzle

  • 2/3 cup chips
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons shortening (do not use butter, margarine, spread or oil)


Sweet Roll Dough

Mix 1 cup bread flour and 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, wheat gluten, and yeast. Heat and stir milk, sugar, butter, and salt until warm. Add to flour mixture, add egg and vanilla. Beat at low speed for 1/2 minute. Beat 3 minutes at high speed.

Stir in the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough. (Add more or less if necessary.) Knead until smooth (6 to 8 min.). Shape into a ball. Place in greased bowl, turn. Cover, let rise until double (45 to 60 Min.). Punch down, let rise again (30 min.), Punch down, let rest 10 min and shape into desired shapes. Cover. Let rise until double (30 min.). Bake at 400º until lightly brown 10 – 15 minutes.

Apple Filling

Toss all ingredients except butter in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium heat until slightly nutty in color, about 6–8 minutes. Then add the apple mixture and sauté until apples are softened and caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’ve chosen Fujis, the apples will be caramelized, but have still retained their shape. Pour the cooked apples onto a baking sheet to cool completely before adding cinnamon chips and forming the braid. (If making ahead, cool to room temperature, seal, and refrigerate.) They will cool faster when spread in a thin layer over the surface of the sheet. After they have cooled, the filling can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Left over filling can be used as an ice cream topping, for muffins, cheesecake, or other pastries.

Create Braid

1. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 15 x 20-inch rectangle, 1/4 inch thick. (I usually roll it out on floured parchment.) If the dough seems elastic and shrinks back when rolled, let it rest for a few minutes, then roll again. Place the dough (parchment) on the baking sheet.

2. Along one long side of the pastry make parallel, 5-inch-long cuts with a knife or rolling pastry wheel, (I use a pizza cutter) each about 1 inch apart. Repeat on the opposite side, making sure to line up the cuts with those you’ve already made.

3. Spoon the filling you’ve chosen to fill your braid down the center of the rectangle. Starting with the top and bottom “flaps”, fold the top flap down over the filling to cover. Next, fold the bottom “flap” up to cover filling. This helps keep the braid neat and helps to hold in the filling. Now begin folding the cut side strips of dough over the filling, alternating first left, then right, left, right, until finished. Trim any excess dough and tuck in the ends.

Cinnamon drizzle

Melt in microwave at high for 1 minute; stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth.

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