It’s fall, and I’ve got apples on my mind: apple pie, apple cider, cider doughnuts, basically anything apple. I was really in the mood to make apple something, but I was also in the mood to make bread or something yeasty. I thought about chop chop bread, but quickly thought of good old fashioned cinnamon rolls, and began to taste them as soon as the thought entered my mind. I was going to make apple cinnamon rolls with caramel cream cheese icing. You can’t go wrong with apples and caramel. They go together like peanut butter and jelly.
I knew I didn’t want to make a fritter-like roll with chunks of apple (I may or may not have food texture issues), so I used my handy mandolin and sliced the apples as thin as I could, layered them, and rolled them with the dough. I will fully admit that it was a bit of a mess, and there was a bit of swearing happening as I put the rolls in the pan, but they turned out beautifully! I saved time buy using salted caramel sauce from Trader Joe’s, and lightly drizzled the icing on the rolls. I set extra icing aside in a small bowl for dipping.
The rolls were great. The dough was soft and fluffy, and the apples were soft without being mushy and full of cinnamon and brown sugar. It reminded me of an apple brown betty. My somewhat fruit adverse son gobbled them up, and so did I.
apple cinnamon rolls with caramel cream cheese icing
for the rolls
- 2 ¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast
- ¼ cup warm water 110°F
- ½ cup milk scalded (heated to 180°F)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ¼ cup 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 ½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
for the filling
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 granny smith apples sliced thin
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
for the icing
- 4 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
- 1-2 tablespoons caramel sauce
- Milk as needed to thin icing
make the rolls:
Combine yeast and warm water in a small bowl and let sit until the yeast has become frothy. Combine milk, sugar, butter, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let cool to room temperature.
Using a dough hook, add 1 ½ cup of flour to milk mixture, and combine on medium speed until well combined. Add yeast and egg, beating well. Slowly add remaining flour forming a soft dough and beat well. Dough will be tacky. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double (about 1 ½ hours).
Heat the apples in a microwave safe bowl for approximately one minute. You want to the apples to be limp, but not mushy.
While the dough is rising, make the filling. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll about to 9 by 13 inch rectangle with the longer side facing you. Spread the 4 tablespoons of butter on top of the rectangle leaving a 1-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle with the sugar mixture. Layer the apple slices on top of sugar mixture. Carefully roll the dough, starting with the longest side facing you and pinch the edges to seal. Cut the roll into 1-inch slices and place sliced side down into the baking pan. Cover and let rise for an hour. Preheat the oven to 375°. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
make the icing:
Combine cream cheese and caramel. Gradually add powdered sugar and mix until smooth. If the icing is too thick, you gradually add milk until desired consistency is reached.