Saturday, November 13, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Rolls

As promised, this recipe does not contain potatoes. But look out. This week I'm going to be trying out some Thanksgiving recipes. And we all know that the best part of the entire Thanksgiving meal is the sides. And that's a lot of potatoes, my friends.

What today's recipe does contain is apples, cinnamon, flour, yeast and caramel. Yay!

And let me tell you: These. Are. Awesome. However, they were pretty time consuming to make. Between making the dough and the various rising and baking times, I spent most of the morning and early afternoon making this one Sunday. It wasn't a ton of actual work time, but they do need a little attention every so often. But believe me, one bite made me completely forget about how long these took to make. I was simply planning on when I could make more.

Seriously, make these tomorrow morning. You'll be happy you did.

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Source: Annie's Eats

6 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp  cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
5 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp lemon zest
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tsp instant yeast
1 cup plus 2-4 tbsp whole milk

1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp  cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon

4 oz cream cheese
1 tbsp unsalted butter
3 tbsp caramel sauce
1 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

About 1/2 half hour before you start making the dough, set the butter, egg and milk out so that they are about at room temperature when you start cooking.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter on medium speed, until smooth. Add the egg and lemon zest, and mix until combined. Next, add the four, yeast and milk and mix until a dough forms. You may need to add a little extra milk or flour to get it to the right consistency. If your mixer has a dough hook, switch to that and knead on low speed for about 8 minutes. If you do not have a dough hook, transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for about 10 minutes. Drizzle a little oil into a new large bowl and transfer the dough. Turn to cover the dough in oil and the cover and let rise in a semi-warm place for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size. Since my kitchen is a little cold and drafty, I usually let my dough rise in the oven (make sure it's off) and it's pretty happy in there.

While the dough is rising, make the filling. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the apples, cinnamon, sugar, corn starch, nutmeg, and salt. Stir to combine and thoroughly coat the apples in the cinnamon-sugar goo (ohh delicious goo). Cook for about 18 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together the rest of the sugar and cinnamon.

Once the dough is done rising, lightly spray a work surface with oil. Using a rolling pin or your hands, spread the dough into a large rectangle, with the wide end of the rectangle facing toward you. If the dough is sticking to your hands or the rolling pin, lightly dust with flour. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture all over the dough. Spread the apples evenly over the surface of the dough. Now get ready to roll!

Starting at the end closest to you (this should be the wide end of the rectangle), start rolling the dough away from you. When you get to the end of the dough, pinch the seam closed so the rolls don't unravel apart after you bake them. You should have one very long log of cinnamon apple goodness.

With the seam side down, cut the log into equally sized rolls. You can cut them as large or as small as you want. Make sure they're roughly the same size though so they bake at the same pace. Transfer the sliced rolls to a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for about 90 minutes.

(This is one place you can stop and put the rolls into the refrigerator and save them for a few days. This would be a great place to stop if you're making them the day ahead of time.)

Once the rolls have finished rising, preheat the oven to 350. Bake the rolls for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown. (Note: In the picture above I did not let my rolls bake quite long enough. If you pull yours out of the oven and they look like mine, throw them back in for about 5 minutes.) Once the rolls are cooked, let them cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

(This is another place you could halt this whole process. I actually make a TON of rolls, way too many for John and me to eat without gaining 30 lbs. each.  I froze a few of these in a large Ziploc bag to save for later. When you want them, just pull them out of the freezer and bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes. When they're done baking, add the glaze.)

While the rolls are cooling, make the glaze. Combine the cream cheese and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat at 15-20 second intervals until you can whisk it together. Add the caramel sauce, milk, and vanilla and whisk until combined. Whisk in the powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle over the rolls. Cool the rolls for another 15-20 minutes.


Phew, I told you that was a long one. But seriously, these were some of the best things to come out of my kitchen in a long long time.

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