When I think of Fall, I think of apples and pumpkins. Apples first and pumpkins a bit later, but when baked, both usually have the same thing in common: warm, nutty spices and aromas that somehow help you to accept and perhaps even welcome the colder drafts of air and the changing colours of the leaves. These apple cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting seemed to be the perfect Fall-appropriate treat to bake. The process might seem a bit daunting at first, but I promise that these are quite straightforward to bake provided that you have a bit of time and patience. Once your kitchen starts to smell like a Cinnabon factory and you accidentally spoil your supper by having 2 or 3 of these instead, you will know that you have officially said goodbye to summer and can therefore commence your online shopping hunt for the perfect pair of fall boots.
I may have stopped making sense after the second sentence of that last paragraph, so I’ll just go ahead and take you through the cinnamon roll making process! After you have combined all of the ingredients for the dough and it has almost finished rising, start to prepare your apple filling. Apples, butter and sugar will start to almost caramelize when heated to make a delicious, gooey filling.
Roll up the entire thing (making sure to pinch the seam to seal) and slice into 12 rolls. If you do the math, that means that you can have….well quite a few rolls to yourself and I guess you can share a few as well.
Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yields: 12 rolls
For the Dough:
4 large egg yolks
1 large whole egg
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract (or the scrapings from 1 vanilla pod)
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup buttermilk
4 cups flour (20 oz), plus more for dusting surface
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
1 tsp salt
Vegetable oil or cooking spray
For the Filling:
4 Tbsp butter
2 apples (I used Braeburn), peeled and diced into 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
For the Icing:
2.5 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp milk
1 cup powdered sugar
Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, beat the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, vanilla, buttermilk and half the flour together until well combined. Add yeast, salt, and the next 1 1/4 cup flour (leaving about 3/4 cup remaining) and knead on low for 5 minutes.
Add additional flour by the spoonful if necessary – you want the dough soft and moist but not overly sticky. Knead another 5 minutes until the dough clears the sides of the bowl (but might still stick to the bottom a bit).
Transfer dough to a lightly greased, large bowl and let double, 2-2.5 hours.
Just before the dough is finished, make the filling. Melt the butter in a large saute pan and add the diced apple. Crumble 1/2 cup of brown sugar over top and stir in the cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Simmer for 10 minutes, until thick and bubbly. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, and set aside to cool.
Spray or butter a 9-inch pan. Turn out the dough onto your lightly floured work surface. Stretch and roll the dough into a ~12×18 rectangle with the long edge nearest to you.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar over the dough, leaving the top 1-inch bare. Spread the cooled apple mixture over the dough.
Starting with the edge of the dough closest to you, roll the dough into a cylinder and pinch the the seam to seal. Gently press, squeeze, and stretch the roll to get an even thickness.
Cut the roll into 1 1/2-inch slices and place in the baking dish (you’ll get 12 rolls). Cover tightly with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Place the rolls in the oven with the heat off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3 full of boiling water and place it on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven and let the rolls rise for ~30 minutes.
Remove the water pan and rolls from the oven and preheat the oven to 350.
Bake rolls on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.
While the rolls are cooling, beat the cream cheese, milk, and powdered sugar together until smooth. Drizzle over the rolls and serve.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, tightly covered. Rewarm in the microwave for best results.
Confections of a Foodie Bride