Heirloom apple rolls are one of my favorite recipes and it’s been passed down through our family for over 200 years!

Heirloom Apple Rolls from over 200 years ago. Tender cinnamony rolls loaded with apples and baked in a sweet syrup. Serve with warm cream or milk and enjoy ohsweetbasil.com

My Grandma is such a lovely, sweet, tender hearted woman and these apple rolls are her recipe from over 100 years ago at least (although I did modernize them with butter instead of lard)

heirloom apple rolls ohsweetbasil.com

I loved going to Grandma’s house, sitting on her lap to read a bazillion stories and have her tickle my arms or back until both of us were out cold. She still lives in the same, cute house in Jerome, Idaho and I don’t know that many people had a backyard quite like her’s. We would have summer picnics where all the cousins would come over and we’d run around playing games while the adults prepared the food and Grandma made homemade ice cream.

apple rolls with warm cream ohsweetbasil.com

The weather was always perfect, the grass green and the trees were strong and tall to climb in. You could always find my older sister up in an apple or apricot tree reading another book.We loved visiting the cows on the farm to give them bottles, collecting “cat tails”, playing in the ditch,  and creating “circus acts on the swing set during family picnics under the fruit trees. Grandma’s house is and was magical.

apple rolls ohsweetbasil.com


This Apple Roll recipe has sooo much sentimental value to me. This is a recipe that just keeps getting passed down through the generations, and I cannot wait to teach my darling girls to make them for their families. Grandma says that this recipe was passed down through the “Mamas” to their new families clear until it got to my mom, who hates cooked apples and dropped the ball. I’m lucky that Grandma taught me to make them so I can continue the tradition. I love how much she loves this recipe and her memories of her mother making them and the kids being so excited and mouths just watering while they waited to eat them.

Here’s what Grandma has to say about the rolls,
“We used to be so hungry for them, and mama would put them in a big square pan and that’s all we would eat for dinner. We would eat them with fresh cream and we just couldn’t wait to eat them up!”

Grandma is just darling. Seriously, just look at how cute she is! Mary Tyler Thueson is  an incredible storyteller. In fact, she wrote a book and gave it to each of her kids and grand kids  So, I thought it would be fun to share her stories every now and again. Plus, I love that these old recipes use ingredients that are simple and have been around forever.

Robin’s Lace

It had been a long, cold winter but today was warm and sunny. The new leaves on the big popular trees had already unfolded and little green plants were pushing their way up through the warm, rich soil. It had only been a few short weeks since the young farmer had come in from doing chores and said, ‘The snow has begun to recede from the Tetons; Spring is on it’s way!’ Even though the Grand Tetons were many miles away, their three stately spires could be seen reaching high into the clear blue sky.

This day, the young mother took her chair out on the lawn to be near her children as they gathered rocks from the little stream behind the log house. She was busy sewing lace on a tiny white frock but took the time to wipe a little nose or look at the pretty colored rocks the children brought to her. 

The robins who were noisily gathering twigs and bits of string to build their nest seemed to sense the mother’s secret held close beneath her heart. They wanted to be the first to tell the whole world. 

Summer was busy and passed quickly, as they always do on a farm with baby calves to feed, long rows of potatoes to cultivate, hay to mow and stack, and wheat to thresh. There were no tractors or other motorized conveniences on this farm. The machinery was all pulled by horses, who were cared for and treated like family members. 

It was the last of October when the farmer announced to his family that winter was on the way because there was fresh snow on the Grand Tetons that very morning. On the 26th of October a baby girl was born to the young farmer and his wife. The baby was named, “Mary” for a grandmother this child would never know. 

Thus, my happy life began on our farm west of Ucon, Idaho. I not only joined six brothers and sisters but also shared the lace from my very first dress with a nest of baby robins.”


 apple rolls ohsweetbasil.com

I love discovering my family history. When I read my grandma’s stories I feel not only closer to her, and better understand who I am, but it makes me want to be a better mother myself. What a different time she lived in. Sometimes I think I was born during the wrong time, there’s just something lovely about farm life, and when Grandma tells me about playing outside in the creek, and spending time on her mama’s lap I can’t help but want to make sure that my children have time to just be with me. No crazy distractions just simple time together.

eirloom apple rolls ohsweetbasil.com

A Few Tips

Make sure that you cut the shortening/butter into the flour mixture until it resembles a sandy like texture. Then, roll out to about 1/4″ thick, spread with the brown sugar/cinnamon and then one by one grate the apple over all of the dough. Don’t grate the apple into a bowl ahead of time or it will quickly brown. I actually prefer to peel my apple and then grate the whole apple until I get to the core, turning as I go. This way I always have something to hold onto.

how to make apple rolls ohsweetbasil.com

Lastly, I prefer to cut my rolls with unflavored floss or thread. It’s how my mom did it and I find it quicker and easier. Just slide the thread under the dough, cross on top and pull tight to cut through. Slide the thread back under the dough, and repeat until done.

Heirloom Apple Rolls

Heirloom Apple Rolls
Recipe type: breakfast, dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9-12 rolls
An heirloom recipe for apple rolls. Much like a cinnamon roll but full of tart apple and served with warm cream.
For the Dough
  • 2 Cups of flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¾ cup milk
For the syrup
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water
For the Filling
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 Cups apples, grated
For the Dough
  1. In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine thoroughly. Add the shortening or butter in chunks and cut in with a pastry cutter or fork until you reach a sand like texture (small pieces of shortening). Add the milk, and stir to combine into a soft dough.
  2. On a floured board, roll the dough in an oblong sheet ¼ inch thick, and brush with melted butter.
  3. Cover dough with 3 cups grated apples, and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, roll like a jelly roll, cut in slices 1½ inch thick and place in a pan of sugar water. bake 400 about 40 min
For the Syrup
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat add the water and sugar. Heat through and stir until dissolved.Pour into a 9x13" baking dish.
  2. serve with warm milk or cream in the dish with the rolls.
you may use lard, shortening or butter for this recipe. We use butter.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 roll per person

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