It’s hard to improve upon one of the best breakfast comfort foods ever invented: the cinnamon roll. But when fall rolls around, I have a tendency to add apples to everything—hence, these apple cinnamon rolls. This autumn variation on the bakery classic is a great way to use up apples from fall apple picking.
Apple cinnamon rolls consist of pillowy brioche dough, cinnamon apple filling, and maple cream cheese frosting. Their sweet, warming flavors make them the perfect comfort food for chilly fall weather.
The process of making cinnamon rolls takes a few hours (most of it hands-off), so it is a nice activity for a relaxing weekend at home. Serve apple cinnamon rolls for dessert or as an indulgent breakfast with a cup of coffee or tea.
The Best Apples For This Recipe
Use firm, crispy apples that will hold their structure when they are baked. Some varieties that work well are Granny Smith, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Cortland, and Golden Delicious. Steer clear of softer varieties, like McIntosh and Macoun, as they will become mushy while baking.
Proofing the Dough Overnight
This recipe is even more delicious if you make the dough ahead of time and proof it overnight. An extended proof time allows the flavors to meld together and splits up the prep work.
To proof the dough overnight, make it the day before you plan to bake. Place the ball of dough in a greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Transfer to the fridge to let it slowly rise for 12 hours, or until it has doubled in size, and then proceed with the recipe.
Baking Tips and Tricks
- Check your yeast. Is it fresh and active? If not, you won’t get good results from this recipe.
- Don’t overheat the milk. If it is too hot, it will kill the yeast. When you touch the milk, it should resemble the temperature of warm bath water, about 110°F.
- Use very soft (but not melted) butter. I recommend taking the butter out of the fridge at least 2 hours before you start baking for pillowy, light dough.
How to Store Leftovers
You can store leftover cinnamon rolls at room temperature for up to 2 days. You can individually wrap each cinnamon roll with plastic wrap or just place a layer of plastic wrap over the whole baking dish. Store the frosting separately in an airtight container in the fridge.
Leftover cinnamon rolls taste best if you reheat them. Put a leftover cinnamon roll on a microwave-safe plate and add a dollop of cold frosting on top. Microwave the cinnamon roll and frosting together for 20 to 30 seconds. Your cinnamon roll will come out melty, warm, and sooo delicious!
Sweet Rolls For Every Occasion
Apple Cinnamon Rolls
For the dough
3/4 cup (180g) whole milk
1/3 cup (67g) sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 egg, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
3 1/4 cups (390g) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, room temperature
Cooking spray, for greasing the bowl
For the filling
2/3 cup (140g) dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup (57g) butter, room temperature
2 medium apples, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
For the frosting
4 ounces (113g) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup (57g) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (98g) powdered sugar
- Stand mixer with a dough hook
Make the dough:
Heat the milk in the microwave just until warm to the touch (about 110°F), about 30 seconds. Add the milk, sugar, and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Let the mixture sit until the yeast becomes foamy, about 5 minutes.
Add the egg and egg yolk and mix until combined. Add the flour and salt and continue to mix on medium speed until the ingredients come together into a ball of dough. Mix in the butter 2 tablespoons at a time, waiting until each addition is incorporated before adding more.
Once all of the butter is incorporated, knead the dough on medium speed for 8 minutes. The dough should have a smooth, shiny surface.
Let the dough rise:
Transfer the ball of dough to a greased bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
Roll out the dough and add the filling:
On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a 9x14 inch rectangle.
Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl.
Use a pastry brush to spread the softened butter evenly over the rectangle of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture on top. Top with the chopped apples.
Form the cinnamon rolls and let rise:
Tightly roll up the dough, starting at the shorter 9-inch side. Using a sharp knife or a piece of unflavored dental floss, cut the log of dough into nine 1-inch pieces.
Transfer the cinnamon rolls to a greased 9x9 baking dish so the cut side is facing up. Cover with plastic wrap or a dish towel. Put it in a warm place and let the dough rise again until they look pillowy and are touching one another in the dish, 30 minutes to an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Once the dough has been rising for 20 minutes, preheat the oven.
Bake the cinnamon rolls until they are golden brown, about 25 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center roll should come out clean.
Make the frosting:
Make the frosting while the cinnamon rolls are baking. Using a hand mixer with beater attachments, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until well-mixed and creamy. Add the maple syrup and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
Add the sugar 1/4 cup at a time, beating after each addition, until all of the sugar is incorporated.
Top with frosting:
Let the cinnamon rolls cool for 10 minutes, then spread the frosting on top and serve warm. Store cooled leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 25g||32%|
|Saturated Fat 15g||74%|
|Total Carbohydrate 78g||28%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||10%|
|Total Sugars 42g|
|Vitamin C 2mg||9%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|