This is like a cinnamon roll and an apple fritter all rolled into one! Don’t worry though … it’s baked and not fried:) Little bites of spiced apple with the same goodness of the gooey cinnamon filling is a game changer! Soooooo delicious and perfect for the cozy fall holidays! 🍎🍂🍁 The caramel apple cider glaze is a super-fun finish to these rolls and if you’re really feeling decadent, add the traditional cream cheese icing on top!
What gave us the idea for these rolls was an old recipe card in our old recipe file and we didn’t remember ever making it, but it really sounded like a fun recipe. It was for something called a Baked Apple Roll. It called for a biscuit kind of dough, which is when we decided to get fancy and make our cinnamon roll yeast dough but with the added treat of apples inside!
They turned out better than we ever imagined with soft, tender dough and cinnamon apple filling with real bits of Honeycrisp apple in every bite. We are planning to make a big batch and freeze it for the holidays! If you decide to do that, it’s best to add the extra caramel apple cider glaze and the cream cheese icing just before heating and serving!
Cinnamon rolls are actually really easy to make, even though they’re made from a yeast dough. It’s not a super picky pastry dough and you only have to let the dough rise once before you make your rolls. Let ‘em rise for another 20 minutes or so, after you’ve filled, rolled and cut the rolls.
We made a reduction sauce of apple cider, butter and sugar for the caramel topping and that’s easy enough to make too. Just heat the mixture on low for about an hour and you’ll have the perfect glaze for your rolls.
Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- Candy thermometer
- Rolling Pin
- Electric beater or standing mixer
- 1 9X13 inch baking dish or 10-inch pie dish
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 package active dry yeast or 2 1/4 teaspoons
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Butter Filling (If you really love the filling, then make 1.5 times the recipe for extra cinnamon-gooey knots!)
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 4 oz. butter, at room temp
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom optional, but we love this spice!
- 2 large apples core removed, skins left on, cut into small bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
Caramel Apple Cider Glaze
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 cup apple cider or apple juice
Cream Cheese Icing
- 4 oz. cream cheese softened to room temp
- 2 tbsp. salted butter softened to room temp
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 2 tbsp. milk +/-
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
DIRECTIONS – Dough
- Mix 1 1/2 cups flour and yeast in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In a saucepan, heat milk, butter, sugar and salt until warm (110 to 115 F) and butter is melted, stirring constantly.
- Add milk mixture to dries along with the egg. Beat all at low speed for 30 seconds or so to moisten all dries. Then beat for 3 minutes at high speed.
- Stir the remaining flour into the dough by hand to form a soft dough.
- Dust your hands with a little flour and shape the dough into a ball. Knead dough for just 3 minutes, on a lightly floured surface.
- Place dough ball in a lightly greased or sprayed large bowl, turn dough once to grease the entire ball and then cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot in the kitchen (not in the oven) to rise until doubled in size. This will take about 1 to 1 ½ hours.
- Once the dough is doubled in size, punch down the dough to deflate slightly and let rest for 10 minutes.
Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Butter Filling
- Mix all together well to incorporate butter, sugar, and spices.
- Toss the apple bits with the brown sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
Making the Apple Cinnamon Rolls
- Spray a 9×13 or a large pie dish with cooking spray
- Sprinkle a cutting board or pastry cloth with flour. Roll the dough out into a large 14 x 18-inch rectangle on a floured cutting board or pastry cloth.
- Spread cinnamon brown sugar butter evenly over the entire rectangle.
- Evenly distribute apples over the brown sugar filling.
- Starting with the long edge, roll the dough into a tight log, keeping the apples tightly tucked inside.
- Cut the log into 1 1/2 to 2-inch slices.
- Lay the slices cut side down in the prepared pans and let rise (proof) in a warm place on the counter (not in the oven) for about 25 minutes, or until the dough looks puffy.
- Preheat oven to 350℉ while the rolls are proofing.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until rolls are just beginning to brown on top and the filling is beginning to bubble at the edges.
- Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before drizzling the caramel apple cider glaze over each roll. If you want to add the cream cheese icing, do that to the warm rolls just before serving.
- These are amazing fresh out of the oven, but you can certainly make ahead of time and freeze until ready to reheat and serve
Caramel Apple Cider Glaze
- Heat butter, cider and sugar in a medium sauce pan over low heat until reduce in volume by at least half. This step can be done ahead of time and then you can reheat the glaze just before adding it to the rolls.
Cream Cheese Icing
- Beat softened cream cheese, softened butter, powder sugar and vanilla together until creamy. Add enough milk or cream to arrive at a consistency where you can drizzle it over the rolls with a spoon.