Apple Hawaij Challah Rolls

September 18, 2022

4 min read


Spice up your breakfast with Hawaij.

Cinnamon rolls are the ultimate comfort food. There’s nothing better than soft spiraled dough with cinnamon and brown sugar filling, topped with a sticky sweet glaze. It’s the perfect weekend morning treat. Challah dough makes beautifully fluffy cinnamon rolls for a lazy weekend morning. Unlike traditional cinnamon rolls, these are made with honey sweetened challah dough, and stuffed with juicy, spiced apples before being baked to golden perfection. The secret ingredient to these addictive morning rolls? Hawaij.

What is Hawaij?

Hawaij (hawayej or hawayij) is a Yemenite spice blend that tastes like a warm hug… with a kick. Hawaij is unique in that it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes based on which blend you find. There is one for soup and this one for coffee. Hawaij for coffee is typically a blend of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves and is a key ingredient to Yemenite coffee. Think pumpkin pie spice’s edgy cousin and is perfect for baked goods. It lends the perfect warming spice (with a little bit of something extra special) to these Rosh Hashanah worthy challah rolls.

Where to buy Hawaj?

I love using Jamie Geller Hawaij for Coffee for this recipe. It lends the perfect amount of spice, without being overwhelmingly savory.

Why this is the perfect Rosh Hashanah recipe?

During Rosh Hashanah, it is customary to dip apples into honey to signify a sweet new year as well as tear into a round challah. This year, we’re putting it all together for an apple and honey studded challah roll, swirled into your challah!

When making your challah this week, double the dough and make it into brunch time rolls – you won’t regret it! These cinnamon rolls will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Food4Thought: Did you know that it’s a custom to serve round Challah in place of the traditional braided which symbolizes the “circle of life?” Get more Jewish food thoughts here.

Makes: 12 rolls
Active time: 30-45 minutes
Resting time: 2 ½ hours
Cooking time: 50 minutes



  • 1 package instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup melted butter or vegan butter, at room temperature
  • 3 ½ - 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Jamie Geller Hawaij seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  • 4 medium apples, peeled, cored, and diced into ¼ inch pieces
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter or vegan butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Jamie Geller Hawaij seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Optional glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk


1. Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the yeast, sugar, and water. Let sit, covered for 5 minutes. If the mixture is bubbly and/or foamy, proceed. If not, you may need to get fresher yeast!

2. Add the eggs, honey, and butter. Mixing to combine. Replace the paddle with the dough hook attachment.

3. At a low speed, add the flour, one cup at a time, along with the Hawaij and sea salt

4. Mix on medium until a soft dough forms, about 6-7 minutes. The dough will be a little sticky!

5. Transfer to a large, oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel. Let rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes, or until doubled. You can also cover and store in the fridge to rise overnight.

6. Meanwhile, make the filling: In a large bowl, combine the apples, butter, brown sugar, Hawaij, and cinnamon.

7. Generously grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter.

8. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a large, approximately 12x28-inch rectangle, with the long edge closest to you.

9. Evenly sprinkle the filling overtop of the dough.

10. Starting at the long edge closest to you, tightly roll the dough into a log.

11. Cut into 12 even pieces using a very sharp knife or use unflavored dental floss!

12. Arrange them in the greased baking dish, and cover with a kitchen towel.

13. Let rise for an additional 45-60 minutes.

14. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

15. Bake the rolls for 45-50 minutes, or until a deep golden brown, turning halfway through. If they begin to brown too much, cover loosely with aluminum foil.

16. While the rolls are baking, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk (1 tablespoon at a time) until the consistency of heavy cream.

17. Drizzle over-top the cooled rolls.

18. Enjoy!

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