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Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned about my husband’s taste in sweets, is that he’s as traditional as you can get. He loves apple pie, chocolate chip cookies, vanilla ice cream, and cinnamon rolls. So when I saw this recipe pop up on Pinterest for these Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls,I knew immediately that I was going to make these for Tyson. I mean, it has two of the four desserts he loves the most, combined into one! It can’t be more meant to be than that. Well, maybe if it also had chocolate chip cookies and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. But that’s out of control, even for him. So Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls it is!

I’ve made cinnamon rolls a couple times before. Each time, I get impatient and don’t let the dough proof properly. How the heck am I supposed to wait two hours for the dough to rise once, roll it into cinnamon rolls and then proof another two hours?! It’ll be lunch by the time I finish these. It’s not shocking to understand why the rolls came out slightly tough. This time I was determined to give the dough enough time to rise (twice!) because I crave that soft, chewy, delicious feel of traditional cinnamon rolls that I can’t seem to master.

And OMG, did these rolls come out amazing! The dough was moist and chewy, but soft and fluffy at the same time. The moisture from the apples created a syrup at the bottom of the rolls that was absorbed during baking so there was sticky sauce all throughout. The apples retained some texture so they were al-dente and not mushy. This is definitely going into the vault of best things I’ve made. EVER!

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Here are a few tips I learned while baking that I think are imperative for having them come out perfect:

  1. After you cook the apples, make sure you drain them as much as you can. This eliminates the excess water that they have. Too much water will drown these cinnamon rolls. Even after I drained them, about an inch of water collected at the bottom on the pan before cooking. Any more than that would have been baaad news.
  2. Make sure the milk for the dough is scalded, don’t just warm it. To scaled milk, heat it to medium-high heat until bubbles start to appear around the edge of the pot. Remove from heat and let it cool until warm. Don’t put the hot milk into the dough mix or it could kill the yeast.
  3. Make sure you knead the dough for the full five minutes. Kneadingthe dough makes the rolls light, airy, and chewy. It’s a crucial step in making these. Without well-developed gluten, the rolls would be flat and tough.
  4. And last but not least, let the rolls rise for the full amount! Trust me, it’s worth it! If you want these for breakfast and don’t want to wake up at 5am, make them the night before, refrigerate them, and then heat them up in the morning.

Here are all the kitchen tools and serveware that I used in this post. For each item that is sold, I receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting the brands that support CPA!

Recipe (adapted from the Hopeless Housewife):

Print Recipe
Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls
Two amazing sweet treats combine to make these delicious rolls. Make them for breakfast, dessert, or just because.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 3.5 hours
Servings
rolls
Ingredients
For the dough
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup water lukewarm
  • 1/2 cup sugar white
  • 1/2 cup milk scalded
  • 1/3 cup butter melted
  • 1 egg large
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour
For the filling
  • 6 tablespoons butter melted, divided
  • 5 granny smith apples peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/2 cup sugar white
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice optional
For the icing
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter unsalted, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk as needed
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Passive Time 3.5 hours
Servings
rolls
Ingredients
For the dough
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup water lukewarm
  • 1/2 cup sugar white
  • 1/2 cup milk scalded
  • 1/3 cup butter melted
  • 1 egg large
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour
For the filling
  • 6 tablespoons butter melted, divided
  • 5 granny smith apples peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/2 cup sugar white
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice optional
For the icing
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter unsalted, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk as needed
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, add yeast and 2 teaspoons of the sugar to the lukewarm water and let it sit until it dissolves, about 10 minutes.
  2. In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer using the dough hook attachment, (or a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer) add scalded milk, melted butter, egg, remaining sugar, and salt and mix on low speed until combined.
  3. Add half of the flour and mix until smooth.
  4. Add yeast mixture and continue to mix on low.
  5. Slowly add the remaining flour until fully incorporated.
  6. Remove dough from mixer bowl and then knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes. Make sure you knead for the whole time (see tip 3 above)
  7. Remove dough, place in a greased bowl, cover, and set aside on countertop or warm place (I put in my microwave without turning it on). Let it rise until it is double in size, about 1.5 hours. Not a minute less! (see tip 4 above)
  8. While dough is rising, make the filling. Heat 4 tablespoons of the butter and white sugar in a large skillet, then add the apples. Sauté until apples are slightly caramelized but still al-dente. Remove from heat and strain over a bowl. Leave in strainer until you need them to let excess water drain out (see tip 1 above).
  9. When dough has risen, remove cover and, using your fist, punch the dough down and remove from the bowl.
  10. Roll out on a well-floured surface into a 16x24 inch rectangle and spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter almost out to the edges, but not quite.
  11. Mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle evenly across the butter.
  12. Spread the apple mixture over the brown sugar as evenly as you can.
  13. Roll into a log, starting from one end to the other, lengthwise, so the log is 24 inches.
  14. Using a serrated knife, gently cut 2 inch slices with a sawing motion (try not to push too hard to pinch the dough), this will give you 12 cinnamon rolls. Quick tip: if you don’t want to measure 2 inches out for every roll, cut the log in half, then cut each piece in half again. You have 4 pieces now. Then cut each fourth into 3 pieces. Now you have twelve even slices.
  15. Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment. If you want your cinnamon rolls in a round shape, place the cinnamon roll slices close together, but not touching, in the pan. I like mine to be squished together so that they become a rectangle. So I let them touch.
  16. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until the dough is doubled, 1½-2 hours.
  17. When the rolls have 20 minutes left to rise, preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake for about 20-22 minutes, being careful not to over-bake them.
  18. While the cinnamon rolls are baking, mix cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt together with an electric or stand mixer on medium speed and set aside. Slowly add milk to mixture, a couple tablespoons at a time until it reaches the desired thickness. We don’t like it too runny so just eye-ball it to see what you want.
  19. When cinnamon rolls come out of the oven, let them cool for 10 minutes.
  20. Pour the icing over the top and spread over all the rolls. Serve warm.

cinnamon bun pin 1 with text

 

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