Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Glaze

I’ve been craving apples and cinnamon lately so while I was browsing the net I stumbled across this recipe at Annie’s Eats that I changed slightly.  What a fantastic idea she had to combine apples with cinnamon rolls.  The outcome was positively drool worthy!

Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Glaze

Ingredients:

For the cinnamon rolls:

  •  6½ tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 5½ tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 3½ cups flour
  • 1 Packet instant (rapid rise) yeast
  • 1 cup plus 2-4 tbsp. milk, at room temperature

 For the filling:

  •  1½ tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

 For the glaze:

  •  4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp. caramel sauce
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugar, salt and butter on medium-high speed until smooth.

 Mix in the egg until incorporated.  Mix in the flour, yeast and milk until a dough forms.  

Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed, about 8 minutes until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky.  (You may need to add a little extra flour or liquid to achieve this texture.)  Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile, make the filling.  To make the caramelized apples, melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. 

Add the apple slices, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix until the apples are evenly coated.

Cook about 18 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool.  

Roll the dough out into a rectangle with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the dough with flour if needed to keep it from sticking (about 12 x 14 inches for larger rolls or 9 x 18 inches for smaller rolls).  Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix to blend.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the surface of the dough.  Evenly distribute the caramelized apples over the top of the dough.

Starting with the wide edge, roll up the dough into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon sugar spiral as you roll.  Pinch the seam shut, and with the seam side down, slice the log into your desired number of rolls.  Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, placing the rolls about ½-1 inch apart.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature 75-90 minutes, until the rolls have grown into each other and have nearly doubled in size.  At this point, the rolls can also be covered and retarded in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.  Pull the pan out of the refrigerator 3-4 hours before baking to let the dough proof.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Let cool in the baking about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.  

To make the glaze, combine the cream cheese and butter in a small heatproof bowl and microwave in 15-20 second intervals until it is warm enough to whisk together.  Whisk in the caramel sauce, milk and vanilla extract until smooth.  Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.   Swirl the glaze over the top of the cinnamon rolls.  Let cool at least 15-20 minutes before serving.

If eating the next day, microwave approx. 25 seconds to enjoy a warm Caramel Apple Cinnamon Roll!

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