1.14.2014

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls


Soo...how about a Fall dessert in the middle of January? Can I do that? Or is that against some type of food blogger laws? Well, if it is, read me my rights and cuff me. I'm sorry, but this recipe absolutely cannot wait until next September. It just can't. It's too good.


I've been dying to make these for the longest time and I especially wanted to make them and share them with you this past Fall, but as you all know, pumpkin took over my Fall baking. And then December came around and I was all, cookies, cookies, and more cookies. Finally, this weekend, I cleared my schedule and set aside a whole day for these babies.

Making cinnamon rolls is always a process, but it's also always worth it in the end. Few desserts can make you literally groan out in delight, and cinnamon rolls are one of them, especially these!


They start off as your average cinnamon roll. Dough, butter, cinnamon, brown sugar. But then you add a layer of very thinly sliced apples. I used a mandolin to slice mine and it was a pretty fun experience if I must say so myself. Now I know how they make apple chips! POOF. Mind. Blown.


Anyways, after the apples, you sprinkle on some more sugar, roll it all up, slice, set aside to rise again, and bake. And while they bake, you whip up the most amazing caramel cream cheese icing to slather on the rolls as soon as they come out the oven. Just make sure you don't take the rolls out of the oven too soon out of sheer excitement like I did. Give them time to brown.


No matter how brown they become on top, they will be super soft and tender on the inside, compliments of the sour cream in the dough (I know this because I had to put them back in the oven to finish baking them!). And paired with the caramel cream cheese icing, they will be dangerously, daaaangerrousssly delicious. You already know I gave these away to friends because there was no way I was going to be able to resist them if I kept them within an arm's reach.

Gosh, I just realized, I am totally ruining everyone's healthy eating resolutions. Well, these cinnamon rolls are too good to pass up, so, #sorryimnotsorry.

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Yield: 12-13 rolls
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Ingredients:

For the dough:
1/2 cup warm milk
1 and 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup sour cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, room temperature
pinch of vanilla powder (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling:
2 medium sized apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 cup light brown sugar
1 and 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature

For the caramel cream cheese icing:
20 caramel squares, unwrapped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar

Directions:

Pour milk into a glass measuring cup. Add yeast and stir together to combine. Set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add sour cream, sugar, salt, egg, vanilla, vegetable oil, melted butter, and milk mixture. Whisk together on medium speed to combine. Add 1 and 1/2 cups of flour and whisk until incorporated.

Switch to dough hook attachment and gradually add in remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until dough pulls away from the bowl and the bowl starts to look clean. Knead for 5 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.

In the meantime, prepare the filling. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cornstarch until combined.

Butter a pie plate or a 9x13 inch baking dish, and set aside.*

When dough has risen, turn it out onto a floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 19x13 inches in size. Spread softened butter over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1-inch strip of dough on the edge farthest from you untouched. Evenly sprinkle half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the butter. Lay down the sliced apples over the cinnamon-sugar. Then, evenly sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture over the apples, and pat it down.

Starting with the edge of the dough closest to you, gently roll up the dough into a tight log, sealing it with the strip of dough you left untouched. Score dough every 1 and 1/2 inches, then use those marks to evenly slice your dough into rolls. (This is the best method of slicing cinnamon rolls)

Place rolls into greased baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake rolls for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden brown and cooked through.

While the rolls are baking, prepare the cream cheese icing. In a small saucepan, melt together caramel squares and heavy cream over medium-low heat, making sure to stir frequently so mixture doesn't burn. In a medium-sized bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat together cream cheese and powdered sugar until well-combined. Add caramel sauce and beat until smooth and creamy.

Once you remove the rolls from the oven, allow them to cool slightly, then drizzle icing on top. Serve warm, or reheat before serving.

Note: I baked 9 rolls in a pie plate, then baked the others seprately in pyrex custard cups, as shown here. You can do the same, or use a larger baking dish to fit in all the cinnamon rolls.

Adapted from Cooking Classy
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