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apple cinnamon rolls with maple frosting in a pan on a light surface with green apples.

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

This is a delicious apple cinnamon rolls recipe that will have you running to the kitchen for seconds. These cinnamon rolls are irresistible and perfect for the holidays.

  • Total Time: 3 Hours
  • Yield: 12 Cinnamon Rolls 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale

Cinnamon Roll Dough

  • 2 1/4 Teaspoons (1 Standard American Package) Instant Dry Yeast
  • 9oz (1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons) Warm Water (Check the temperature of your yeast mine is 110F-115F)
  • 50 grams (1/4 Cup) Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 4 1/2 Teaspoons Nonfat Dry Milk Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 375 grams - 406 Grams (3 - 3 1/4 Cups) All-Purpose Flour/ Plain Flour

Cinnamon Roll Filling

  • 4oz (1/2 Cup) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 250 grams (1 1/4 Cups, packed) Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Cooking Apples*, peeled, cored I used Granny Smith
  • 2oz (1/4 Cup) Heavy Whipping Cream, slightly warmed

 Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4oz Cream Cheese, completely softened to room temperature
  • 2oz (1/4 cup) Unsalted Butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 Teaspoon Maple Extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 240 grams (2 Cups) Powdered Sugar, sifted

Instructions

Cinnamon Rolls

  1. In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment dissolve yeast in warm water, make sure you use the recommended temperature of water your brand of yeast recommends, you don't want to burn the yeast and kill it with too hot water. Leave it for five minutes, the yeast should have dissolved and go sort of foamy. If your yeast doesn’t foam up then your yeast is dead and the rolls will not turn out. Add sugar, butter, milk powder, salt, and two cups of flour. Mix until smooth. Slowly add in the remaining flour to form a soft (not super sticky) dough. If using a dough hook, switch out the paddle attachment for the dough hook and knead for 5-6 minutes in the electric mixer. I take the dough out of the mixer every minute or so and knead it by hand. If not using a dough hook put the dough on a floured work surface and knead for 5-6 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200F/93C and then turn the oven OFF. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough inside and move the dough around so it's oiled on all surfaces, this helps prevent a skin from forming. Place a clean kitchen towel on top of the bowl and place the bowl in warm but not turned on oven to proof. Please keep in mind this may take more or less time depending on the temperature and humidity of the space in which you prove the dough. 
  3. You can make the cinnamon roll filling during the dough rising time. In a small bowl combine the softened butter, ground cinnamon and brown sugar and mix until fully combined, this will take a couple minutes, set aside while you wait for the dough to finish rising.
  4. Check the dough after an hour it should have doubled in size, punch down and place on a floured work surface. Roll the dough into a 16-inch by 12-inch rectangle.
  5. Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan and set it aside. Spread the cinnamon roll filling in an even layer.  Take one apple and grate it all over the dough then take the other apple and dice it then sprinkle it over the dough. Roll the dough lengthwise tightly and cut with a sharp serrated knife into 12 pieces. I prefer to cut the dough in half then cut each half into half and cut those sections into 3's.  Place rolls into prepared pan, at this point, you can lightly cover with a clean kitchen linen and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size 45 minutes to an hour OR  cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge overnight.
  6. If you put them in the refrigerator overnight then the next day take the cinnamon rolls out of the fridge and set them on the counter, ideally in a warm place, to rise/thaw for 45 ish minutes, they should rise they should double in size. Slightly warm the heavy cream in the microwave or stovetop then gently and evenly pour the cream over the top of the unbaked rolls just before placing the rolls in the oven. Preheat oven to 350F/180C and bake for 22-28 minutes. The rolls should be lightly golden brown, I use a thermometer to check the temperature has reached 190F/87C. Let the rolls sit for 5-10 minutes before putting cream cheese frosting on.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. You can prepare the frosting the night before and store it in the fridge then pull it out when you take the rolls out for their second rise OR prepare after you have rolled the rolls and make the frosting and chill while they are rising and then pull out of the fridge when you place them into the oven OR prepare while baking the cinnamon rolls.
  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat cream cheese and butter for 2 minutes. Pour in maple extract, heavy cream, and powdered sugar. Beat all together for 4 minutes, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to ensure everything is evenly combined.
  3. Slather on top of cinnamon rolls. Store leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to three days, best eaten the same day they are made.

Notes

  • *Cooking Apples: Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Fuji, Gala, Braeburn, Cortland
  • **I highly suggest investing in an instant-read thermometer. I get SOOO much use out of my Thermapen One  and you do not want to risk burning your yeast or using too cold of water and not activating it properly. 
  • Total time includes rise time unless you prep the night before then add 8 hours
  • Dough recipe: Taste of Home Baking Cookbook
  • Author: Elizabeth Waterson I Confessions of a Baking Queen
  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Rising Time: 2 Hours
  • Cook Time: 30 Minutes
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American
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