Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls

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We’re getting to my favourite time of year. When you wear at least three layers at all times & wrap up against the cold. When you bring your umbrella everywhere. When you snuggle up by the fire at night. (When you secretly wear comfy cozy bed socks all the time. Sometimes even two pairs.) When you’re scared by the sight of wet leaves on the ground because you read that they’re the number one cause of broken bones in Ireland. Okay, that one might just be me… 

One of the best things about this time of year is definitely the food. It really is. It’s comforting, it’s warm, it’s tasty, & it seems to have magical powers against the colder weather. Exhibit A: Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls. These cinnamon rolls, without a doubt, have magical powers: everyone in the house was spellbound as soon as they got their first whiff, bring everyone into the same room, they they make you feel warm inside, they satisfied everyone’s grumbling stummies, & they’re downright delicious. (& look how pretty they are!)

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They’re caramel apple flavoured because a) it’s got to be one of the best flavour combinations of all time & b) we have an abundance of apples in the house. Think huge shopping bag overflowing with homegrown apples.. then add a few more into the picture. Seriously, it’s a slight problem. Prepare yourself for millions of apple baked treats over the next few weeks – chai spiced apple cake, a single serving apple tart, an apple pie, a crumble, to name but a few. Yes, my freezer is jam packed with appley appley treats, but that’s a good thing, right? Right. Apples are always delicious in baked goods. 

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The apple flavour in these cinnamon rolls is quite subtle; before being rolls into the mix, the apples are stewed down to soft aromatic perfection, meaning no hard apple chunks. & let me tell you, hard apple chunks are the last thing you’d want in these cinnamon rolls. Why? Because these cinnamon rolls are the softest, most fluffiest cinnamon rolls that ever have been. Trust me. You know you want to. 

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This recipe gave me 15 good sized cinnamon rolls. So many little yeasty rolls that I had to divide them between two dishes. Dish #1 was devoured within minutes after I’d finished taking the photos. Between only five of us. We have no regrets, it was worth every single calorie. I’d do it again tomorrow. But it was clear that we couldn’t be trusted around the other dish, so just to be safe I bundled it up & brought it into work (where it was also quickly devoured). Go for it, you know you want to. 

(Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 7g packet of dried active yeast
  • ½ cup of lukewarm water
  • ½ cup of apple juice
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of butter, softened
  • 3 ½ cups of plain flour

For the filling:

  • ¼ cup of butter, softened
  • 3 regular sized apples, peeled, cored & thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup of soft brown sugar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of cinnamon 

For the caramel sauce:

  • ¼ cup of butter, softened
  • ½ cup of soft brown sugar
  • 2 ½ tablespoons of cream

Method 

  1. To make the dough, stir the yeast into the lukewarm water until dissolved. Add in the apple juice, sugar, salt, egg, vanilla extract, butter & 1 ½ cups of the flour.
  2. With the use of an electric mixer on low, beat everything together until combined. After this, use a wooden spoon to mix in the rest of the flour. The dough should be easy to handle (not too sticky) & springy to the touch. 
  3. Lightly oil the inside of a large bowl.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface & knead it with the heel of your hand for about 5-8 minutes. Form the dough into a ball & place in the oiled bowl. Cover & leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour & a half to two hours. 
  5. While the dough is rising, make the apple filling. Melt 1 ½ tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan. Lower to a medium-low heat. Add the sliced apple into the pan & leave to cook down for 20ish minutes, until the apples are very soft, but still hold their shape. Once softened, place the apples in the fridge to cool down.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar & the cinnamon. Set aside. 
  7. Line the bottom of a large baking dish ( I had to use two..) with parchment paper. 
  8. After the dough has risen, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface & use a rolling pin to roll out a 15×9 inch rectangle. 
  9. Spread 2 tablespoons of softened butter over the dough rectangle & sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Spread the softened apples onto the cinnamon sugar, & then top with the remaining cinnamon sugar. 
  10. Tightly roll up the dough & cut into 15 even sized rolls (using your sharpest knife). Arrange the rolls in your prepared baking dish & leave to rise for another hour. 
  11. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cover the cinnamon rolls with tin foil & bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven & leave to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. 
  12. As the cinnamon rolls cool down, make the caramel sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan & then all the sugar & the cream, stirring constantly over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. After 3-4 minutes of bubbling, remove the sauce from the heat & pour over the cinnamon rolls straight away. (The sauce hardens as it cools.)


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