Apple Cinnamon Rolls
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This homemade cinnamon rolls recipe is a keeper! Packed with juicy apples and smothered with apple caramel sauce, these cinnamon rolls are simply the BEST!
I think about food all the time. (Surprise, surprise!) And guess what?
I even started developing recipes in my dreams now. Last Saturday morning, I’ve been in the kitchen preparing delicious weekend breakfast. It smelled fantastic! Fresh cinnamon rolls were baking in the oven, apple caramel sauce was bubbling on the stovetop, and fresh coffee aroma filled the room… And bam, all that disappeared in a flash! I opened my eyes! That’s what happened. No fresh cinnamon rolls, no caramel sauce, no coffee. It was one colorful dream, but it was so real!
The good thing though, it was so vivid that I actually remembered exactly how I was making those apple cinnamon rolls! I had to recreate those delicious-smelling rolls from my dream that I never got to taste. To my surprise, they turned out fantastic. Super soft and moist rolls with caramel sauce that’s simply to die for! I’m serious, all that shredded apples in the dough created amazingly soft rolls. And apple infused caramel sauce was an amazing compliment.
The recipe is fairly straightforward, but it does require some patience. Waiting for the dough to rise is the hardest thing for me. It’s important, though, to let the dough rise sufficiently in order to enjoy the most amazingly soft rolls. There is nothing to be afraid of yeast-risen dough. Just remember, it loves warm and humid environment. That’s why I place my dough in the microwave with a glass of hot water. Because it’s such a tight space, hot water creates warm humid environment that’s perfect for the dough to rise. Note, you don’t need to start the microwave; we’re just using it as an insulated box, if you will.
Now, when you knead the dough with shredded apples, you’ll think that it was a waste of your time and that it will never going to work. Trust me, everything will be just fine. It will be extremely sticky and messy for a moment, but add flour little by little and keep kneading. The dough will come together again, but it’ll be pretty soft and slightly sticky due to apples. The reason we are not adding apples at the beginning is because the dough will be too heavy and it won’t rise properly. And from here, just follow the directions in the recipe, and you will be enjoying fluffy apple cinnamon rolls in no time.
I’m telling ya, worth every effort!
Now it’s your turn to make this dream come true!
Apple Cinnamon Rolls
For the dough
- 2 tsp dry active yeast
- 4 cups 500gr all-purpose flour, plus additional ¼ cup (30gr)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp 55gr unsalted butter, softened
- 2-3 cups 160ml milk
- 1 egg
- 2 cups shredded apple about 2 medium apples
- 2 tbsp 30gr unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
For caramel sauce
- 1/2 cup 113g unsalted butter
- 1 cup 200g light brown sugar
- 1 cup 240ml heavy cream
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup (60ml) lukewarm water. Let it sit for 10 minutes. The mixture should become foamy, which means the yeast is active.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for filling. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl with paddle attachment, whisk together 4 cups of flour, sugar and salt. (If you’re not using a stand mixer, simply use a whisk.) Add yeast mixture, butter, milk and egg and mix until the soft dough forms. Put on a lightly floured surface and knead for at least 8-10 minutes until smooth. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with damp towel and place in warm place to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. (I usually put the bowl in a microwave with a glass of hot water.)
- Once the dough is doubled in size, put on a floured surface and punch it down. Roll the dough out into a rough rectangle. Place 1 ½ cups of shredded apple in the middle and fold the dough over. Sprinkle ¼ cup of flour over the dough and knead until the apple is evenly distributed. (This step is messy. Add a little more flour, if needed.)
- Roll the dough out into a 15×19 rectangle. Spread the melted butter all over the rolled dough, and sprinkle sugar mixture from step 2. Roll up the dough into a log, and cut into 12 equal rolls. Put the rolls in greased 9x13in (23x33cm) baking pan. Cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rise for 30-60minutes, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
- While the rolls are baking, make the apple caramel sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and add the remaining ½ cup of shredded apple and brown sugar. Once the sugar is melted, pour in heavy cream and cook for about 5-7 minutes, whisking frequently. Add vanilla extract and salt. Taste and make sure you’re happy with the flavor. Add more vanilla extract or salt, if needed. Cool slightly.
- Pour half of the caramel sauce over the rolls 5 minutes before the rolls are done. Continue to bake for 5 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Serve with remaining caramel on the side.