This thing should come with a warning label. It’s SO decadent, indulgent, and completely fall weekend brunch worthy. Cinnamon sugary, pillowy, yeasted pull apart bread covered in a thick cream cheese frosting just says it all. I don’t think I need to explain to you how wonderfully delicious this is.
It’s definitely meant for those lazy weekends when you have a little extra time on your hands. Don’t let the length of the directions and preparation time scare you! It’s SO worth it.
This was inspired by one of my favorite fall traditions/memories. Every year, I go to a local farm to pick pumpkins, apples, and stock up on local squash, cider, and pumpkin/apple butter. I’ve been going every year since I was a little kid.
They have a stand with these INSANE, freshly fried apple fritters. There’s always a huge line for them, and there’s no limit to how long I’ll wait. They’re piping hot, covered in powdered sugar, and such a treat. That’s where I got the idea for this bread.
I’m not as much of a pumpkin person as I am an apple person. I live for honeycrisp season. Honestly, what is better?! I’ve always always loved apples. When I was little, I’d have at least one granny smith every single day (with the skin cut off). These days, I’m a honeycrisp lover through and through, but I don’t discriminate.
Ohhhh my goodness. That pillowy yeasted goodness. I can’t.
As if I needed a way to make this bread more indulgent, I felt the need to add CREAM CHEESE FROSTING. Yes. It’s optional but totally 100% recommended. The richness of the cream cheese almost cuts the sweetness. You know what I mean?
You’re probably looking at me like I’m crazy.
The icing makes more than you need, but, you can reserve it for another use…
OR use it for dipping. You know, because that’s completely normal.
Apple Fritter Pull Apart Bread with Vanilla Cream Cheese Icing
- For the DOUGH:
- 2 3/4 c. + 2 T. all-purpose flour
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 tsp. 1 envelope active dry yeast
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 T. unsalted butter
- 1/3 c. whole milk
- 1/4 c. water
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- For the FILLING:
- 3/4 c. granulated sugar
- 3 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 4 T. butter, browned
- 2 granny smith apples, peeled and finely chopped
- For the FROSTING:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 c. powdered sugar
- 1-2 T. milk
- Begin by activating the yeast. Pour yeast into a small bowl and stir in 3 tablespoons of warm water. Add a pinch of granulated sugar and let sit for about 5 minutes. You know it's ready when it is foamy.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, the activated yeast, and salt. Set aside. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, over medium/low heat, melt the milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from the heat immediately and add water and vanilla extract. Let mixture sit for 1-2 minutes to cool off a bit.
- Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. Dough will be sticky.
- Place the dough is a large, greased bowl. I just sprayed mine with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Place in a warm spot and allow dough to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- In the meantime, make the filling. Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- To brown your butter, melt over medium heat and continue to whisk until little brown bits start to appear on the bottom, and butter gets foamy, fragrant, and amber colored. Once this begins to happen, watch very carefully. It can burn in an instant. Set aside. Grease and flour a 9x5 loaf pan. Set aside.
When dough is almost finish rising, peel and chop your apples. Punch down the risen dough and add 2 tablespoons of flour into the dough, kneading with your hands. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest for 5 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured workspace. Once finished rolling, the dough should be 12 inches tall and about 20 inches long. Brush the brown butter evenly over the dough. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture, then sprinkle evenly with apples.
- Slice the dough, vertically, into six equal strips. During this process, you will lose some of the apples, that's ok! Just stuff them back in. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack into six equal slices once again. Once again, you'll lose some apples here. Just stuff them in!
You’ll have six stacks of six squares. Layer the dough squares in the loaf pan. You don't want them to be super crowded in there. I ended up discarding a few dough squares. Stuff some apples down into the dough if you lost some in the process. Place a kitchen towel over the pan and let rise again in warm place for 30 to 45 minutes or until almost doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350℉. Bake loaf for 35-40 minutes, until the top is very golden brown. You want to make sure the top is super golden, to ensure the middle is completely cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a stand mixer, add the butter and cream cheese and whip on high speed for a couple minutes until fluffy. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar, gradually, whipping on medium/high until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add 1-2 T. of milk if it seems too thick, and whip again for 1 minute.
Run a butter knife around the edges of the loaf pan to loosen the bread and invert onto a plate or cutting board. Place a cake plate on top of the upside down loaf, and carefully invert so it’s right side up. Spread with desired amount of cream cheese icing. DEVOUR.
If you want to make the dough the night before, you can. Rise the dough until doubled in size (through step 6). Then, refrigerate the dough overnight for use in the morning. In the morning, let the dough rest for 30-40 minutes before rolling out.
I couldn’t wait for a bite. Story of my life.