Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls
From Twin Cities food blogger greens & chocolate: decadent homemade cinnamon rolls with sweet spiced apple filling and caramel cream cheese frosting. Perfect for a chilly fall day!
As we move into fall and the leaves start changing, I always start getting the itch to spend more time in my kitchen, especially to bake. There’s just something more enticing about a pan of warm brownies/bars/cinnamon rolls on a chilly fall day than on a hot and steamy summer afternoon, y’know?
Cinnamon rolls are definitely a treat in our house. I would say I typically have more of a savory breakfast palate, and while I love whipping up eggs, bacon and avocado toast, cinnamon rolls are pretty rare. That said, I hope I make an exception to that more often because these Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are quite heavenly!
While testing this recipe through and through, I found a few things essential to ensuring success that we should go over. First, and most importantly, shredding the apples in the filling. I tried making these with diced apples and they just seemed too heavy and clunky in the filling. When I finally shredded the apples, they were noticeable but not overbearing in the rolls. Next, it was important to start off with room temperature ingredients in the rolls. This means having softened butter and room-temperature eggs.
For the butter, I just set out a stick the night before. I’d say this isn’t too much to ask, because if you’re going to make cinnamon rolls, it probably isn’t a last-minute decision. You go to bed knowing you’re gonna get some rolls the next morning! For the eggs, just set them in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes and they’ll be good to go.
Lastly, go with your gut when adding more flour. After kneading the dough, it should be soft and not too sticky. If it still seems sticky (mine did), add a couple of tablespoons at a time until it stays away from the sides of your bowl. I added about ¼ cup extra at the end, but I always like to start with 3 cups and go from there, just to be safe.
If you follow these steps you should have Caramel Apple Cinnamon Roll success!
These were absolutely delicious straight out of the oven with a big slathering of caramel cream cheese frosting. Not only that, your kitchen will smell like fall. On a crisp fall morning, these are what I will be craving!
Makes 12 cinnamon rolls
Preparation time: 2 ½ hours
Cook time: 30 minutes
For the dough:
1 cup warm whole milk (100-110 F)
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
For the filling:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, divided
4 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
1 large apple, shredded
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
For the caramel cream cheese frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
¼ cup caramel sauce
- Place the warm milk and yeast in large mixing bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes, until it starts to get foamy. Add the sugar, butter, egg, egg yolk and salt; whisk to combine.
- Add bread flour and knead with electric mixer for 8 minutes. At this point, you should have a soft dough ball. If it is still quite sticky, add more flour, approximately 2 tablespoons at a time.
- Transfer to a well-greased bowl and cover with a towel. Place in a warm area and let rise until doubled, about 1 ½ hours. I usually turn my oven on for a few minutes until it’s warm, turn it off, and stick my dough in the slightly warm oven.
- Once it has doubled in size, place it on a well-floured surface. Roll out into a large rectangle that is approximately 10 x 18 inches.
- Spread 3 tablespoons of the softened butter onto the rectangle, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.
- In a small skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, shredded apple, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sauté until apple is softened, about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle apple over dough.
- Roll the dough tightly so you have one long roll. Cut roll in half, and then into quarters. Cut each quarter into 3 even cinnamon rolls.
- Place cinnamon rolls into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Cover with a towel and let sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 350 F.
- Bake cinnamon rolls for 25-30 minutes, until golden on top.
- Make the caramel cream cheese frosting by beating cream cheese, butter and caramel sauce in a bowl with electric mixer until combined.
- Spread caramel cream cheese frosting over the warm cinnamon rolls. Serve and enjoy!