Virtue Michigan Apple Sticky Buns

virtue cider variety case Baking + booze + fruit should be the norm because oh my goodness does it go together beautifully. These buns are literally the most caramel apple-y thing I’ve ever tasted. Adding hard cider to both the apples and the caramel really brings the apples to LIFE! As part of my extended Beer Baking project, today we’re going to talk about Virtue Cider. Virtue Cider is located in Michigan using only locally grown apples.  Gregory Hall decided to master cidermaking and if you taste their variety of ciders, then you will agree they are one of the best you can get! 

Virtue sent over a multi-pack of 4 different ciders: Michigan Apple, Brut, Michigan Honey and Michigan Cherry. So you may see me use one of the other flavors in another recipe. I make no promises, but I’ve been thinking about cherries and cherry cider.  But for now we are all about the gooey combination of caramel and apples and cider!  Today we’re using the Michigan Apple in a pillowy, apple-y, boozy apple sweet roll AKA schnecken or sticky bun as its known here in the states. Typically sticky buns have nuts and you could definitely add a layer before you put in your buns. virtue cider michigan apple sticky buns unbaked

For years now I’ve been using some form of booze in everything I make with apples from pies to apple bars. This recipe lends itself to using cider in both the apples and the caramel. The cider caramels aren’t really a new idea, but I’ve never seen it in a sticky bun. If you need to source the cider, then you find out more about the cider house here! You may even want to take a trip to Fennville, Michigan to get it from the source!

Virtue Michigan Apple Cider Sticky Buns
A Michigan apple sticky bun using Virtue Michigan Apple Cider. This is a schnecken style with gooey caramel and apples for the ultimate apple treat.
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Dough
  1. 3/4 cup buttermilk
  2. 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  3. 3 large eggs
  4. 1 teaspoon salt
  5. 4 1/4 cup flour
  6. 1/4 cup sugar
  7. 2 1/4 teaspoons active yeast
Filling
  1. 4 apples, peeled and diced (I used Pacific Rose)
  2. 4-8 Tablespoons sugar
  3. 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  4. 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  5. 1/4 cup Virtue Michigan Apple Hard Cider
Cider Caramel
  1. 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup reduced Virtue Michigan Apple Hard Cider (reduced from 1 cup)
  4. 2 Tablespoons corn syrup
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla
For The Dough
  1. I layered everything in the bread machine in this order and put it to work. An hour and a half later I had gorgeous elastic, perfectly risen sweet dough. This recipe makes enough to make a dozen buns or rolls. If you want to make the dough by hand, leave me a comment and I’ll include the entire recipe.
For The Filling
  1. In a medium saucepan, cook diced apples and sugar until par-cooked 5 -7 minutes. In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice and cornstarch, pour into saucepan. Then add the Virtue Michigan Apple Hard Cider, heat until the sauce thickens and glazes the apples. Set aside to cool.
For the Cider Caramel
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup Virtue Michigan Apple Hard Cider to a rolling boil and reduce to about 1/4 cup. This will take 10-15 minutes. When reduced add rest of caramel ingredients and bring to a boil, making sure dark brown sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour in either two 9-inch round pans or a 13x9-inch pan.
Assembly
  1. Take your freshly risen dough and on a floured surface; stretch, pat and pull it till you reach a 12 x 16 inch rectangle. With the 16 inch side being horizontal to you. Spread cooked apples on dough leaving a 3/4 inch area all along the top topping free. You’ll need this edge to be able to seal your rolls when you roll them up.
  2. Tightly roll dough up. When finished pinch all along long side to form a seam and seal rolls. When sealed, gently stretch dough to 18 inches in length. Place seam side down and cut into 1 1/2 inch slices with a serrated knife. Place these in a greased 9×13 inch baking pan or two 9 inch rounds, cut side down. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place till doubled in size or place in refrigerator to rise overnight. (Mine took about 40 minutes to double, but it was warm out)
  3. When doubled in size, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake till puffy and golden brown 20-35 minutes. Mine took 26 minutes to cook. Don’t be scared if they seem to bulge up in the middle of the pan. This is due to the caramel underneath, they’ll settle down after cooling a bit. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Invert onto serving platter and serve.
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Brick Safari All Summer At Brookfield Zoo

brick safari cobra A safari usually takes months to plan in advance! Lucky for you, your entire family can enjoy the Brick Safari at Brookfield Zoo! Find all of your favorite animals through a special safari path.  All summer long you can view your favorite zoo animals on a different level.   brick safari giraffe

Brick Safari are all to scale.  From the smallest of creatures to the largest of them all! Can you take a full giraffe selfie? We tried but we didn’t get quite the whole giraffe! They are so tall! We had a lot of fun trying to take selfies with all of our favorite animals!

With over 40 animals to see on your Brick Safari, you can experience animals in a new way.  These brick sculptures are actual animal sizes.  Brookfield Zoo is the first stop for this traveling exhibit. It’s hard to really understand how big a dolphin is when they’re always in the water.  Now you can see just how big they are compared to you!  brick safari lion roar

There are quests as well to do during your Brick Safari.  Plus a safari jeep and a lion out in the open for great photos!  Not to mention you can see some animals that you can’t find at Brookfield Zoo.  There are pandas and an elephant in the Brick Safari.  That elephant took 1600 hours to build using nearly 300,000 bricks.  Each animal has some fun facts and the amount of bricks and time it took to build each one! brick safari elephant

At the end of your brick safari you can build your own animals.  Don’t just look at them, but enjoy building with the bricks! Part of the appeal is knowing that you can build anything you can imagine.  This exhibit will hopefully inspire more people to try creating what they can imagine!  We had fun building a penguin with bricks.  Not to scale but it is still cool to see them come to life! There are a large variety bricks to be found at the end.  You can buy a variety of kits from miniature animals to larger scale builds.  Plan your trip for a Brick Safari until September 29th!

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