Apple Cinnamon Rolls

Moist, fluffy, soft, and bursting with flavor, these apple-spiked cinnamon rolls are a real treat for all the senses. Make sure your dough is well-chilled before rolling it out, to ensure well-shaped rolls.

Cinnamon rolls

Dough

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 packets (14 g total) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (120 g) white sugar
  • 7 tablespoons (100 g) butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 cups (590 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • Canola or vegetable oil, for greasing bowl

Filling

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons (90 g) butter, softened to room temperature

Frosting

  • 1/3 cup (about 80 g) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (150 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
For 10 – 12 rolls

Dough: Heat milk to about 100°F and pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment (or mix in a bowl by hand with a wooden spoon). Sprinkle in yeast and sugar, mix briefly, then let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Switch to medium speed, beat in remaining sugar and the softened butter; mix for 2 minutes. Add the eggs and salt and beat on medium speed until combined. There will still be chunks of butter, that’s fine! With mixer on low speed, begin adding 1 cup of flour at a time, stirring after each addition until it’s fully incorporated and scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. After all the flour has been added, beat on low speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 3 minutes. If the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add another tablespoon of flour until it comes together. Dough will be soft. Knead on low speed for another 3-4 minutes.

Lightly oil large bowl with nonstick spray. Transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and let dough rise slowly in refrigerator overnight (8 to 14 hours). Alternatively let the dough warm, draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour before proceeding. It’s important the dough is well-chilled in order to roll it out easily.

Filling: Stir together brown sugar and cinnamon. Make sure the butter is super soft and spreadable.

To finish: Butter a 9×13 inch rectangular baking dish. Gently punch down dough and transfer to floured work surface. Roll out to 12×18-inch rectangle with the long side facing you. Spread butter over dough, leaving 1/2-inch border on the short sides. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over butter and scatter with apple pieces. Starting at the long side closest to you, roll dough into log, pinching gently to keep it rolled up. With seam side down, cut dough crosswise with sharp, preferably serrated, knife into 10 to 12 equal slices (each about 1 1/2 inches wide). Place rolls in baking dish, arranging cut side up. Cover with plastic wrap, and let dough rise in warm draft-free area until puffy and doubled in volume, 1 to 2 hours. (Alternatively, you may prepare rolls up to this point the night before, and let rise in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, let them rise at room temp for 1 to 2 hours, until doubled in volume, before baking).

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Bake rolls until puffed and tops are golden, about 25 minutes. If surface begins to brown too quickly, loosely tent with tin foil. Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes while you make the glaze.

For glaze:
Combine cream cheese and powdered sugar in medium bowl. Stir until smooth. Add milk until you reach desired consistency. Spread or drizzle glaze on rolls. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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