We went apple picking with a group of friends a few weeks ago, and we came home with a 15-pound bag of apples. I had so many ideas of what I wanted to do with all of the apples (crisps, cobblers, pies, loaf cakes, bundt cakes, fritters, etc.), but alas we ate most of the apples as is, in all of their juicy, crisp, and sweet glory :)
While I’ve set aside a few apples for a pie (a must in Autumn!), I decided to make a batch of cinnamon rolls studded with diced apples. The combination of apples and cinnamon is one that I cannot resist, and it’s one of the reasons I look forward to the harvest of the fall season.
(Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.)
Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Yield: 16 Rolls
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 apples, peeled, cored, and diced into ½-inch chunks
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups milk
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 2 eggs
- 5 ½ – 6 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk or heavy whipping cream
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add apples and salt and cook until slightly softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add brown sugar, all-purpose flour, and cinnamon, and stir to thoroughly combine. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the apples are cooked through and the mixture is thick, about 5 minutes. Remove apple mixture from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Set aside and cool completely before using.
(Note: Filling can be made beforehand and kept in the refrigerator.)
Scald milk in a saucepan over medium heat (when milk is warm and small bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Do not boil.). Pour milk into a large bowl, and add butter, sugar, and salt. Mix until thoroughly combined. Allow milk mixture to cool until lukewarm.
Add eggs and yeast, and mix until combined.
Add 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour, and knead on low speed for several minutes. Add additional flour, up to 1 cup, in increments, until the dough begins to clear the sides of the bowl. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Knead for an addition 2 minutes.
Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl, cover, and set aside until doubled, 1 to 2 hours.
Line two 9-inch baking pans with parchment paper and set aside.
Punch dough down and divide into two portions. Roll each portion out, on a lightly floured surface, into a large rectangle, about 12” x 15”. Spread apple filling evenly over each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border along the edges. Begin rolling at the long end, trying to keep as much of the filling inside the roll. Once rolled, the edges can be pinched together to form a seal.
Using a sharp knife, cut off and dispose of the ends of the roll. Divide each log into 8 portions, and slice. Place the rolls in the pans, spaced no more than 1-inch apart, cut side up. Any leaked filling can be spooned over the tops of the rolls. Cover lightly, and set aside to rise until doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Once rolls have risen, uncover and bake until golden around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, milk or cream, and vanilla, until smooth. Drizzle over slightly cooled rolls.