Every time I start writing a post, I find myself expressing a deep love for the food I am writing about, almost like every food is my favorite. I love ice cream. I love cookies. I love blackberries. And I am especially fond of cinnamon rolls. On Saturdays, when I am up early and out for a long run, I fill my mind with thoughts of warm, gooey cinnamon rolls. Once I finish my run, I stop by the farmer’s market or my favorite breakfast place and indulge in my reward.
In the spirit of the changing leaves and cool days, this twist on cinnamon rolls includes the treasure of juicy, fall apples. There are so many choices when it comes to apples. I used two types, Gala and Cameo apples. They are both tasty for eating and baking with the Cameo being a bit more tart than the Gala. The Cameos also have a beautiful red and yellow stripe pattern, which, of course, is no matter to the taste. Just choose your favorite apple.
These rolls are made with apple butter and cinnamon in the middle and then baked with apple pieces and pecan halves. Then they are topped with sweet caramel icing. The icing puts these over the edge, so I always drizzle on a little extra for good measure. No bobbing for apples this fall, they are more fun baked into breakfast!
Caramel Apple Nut Rolls
- dough adapted from The Pioneer Woman
- makes at least 18 medium rolls
- 1 quart whole milk
- 1 cup vegetable oil*
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 9 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 tablespoon salt
- 2 medium apples, peeled, sliced and chopped thin
- 1 cup pecans
- 16 tablespoons apple butter
- 1 cup melted butter
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 6-7 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
*may replace with olive oil
make the rolls
Mix the milk, vegetable oil and sugar in a saucepan over medium to high heat. Heat until just before boiling. Remove from heat. Transfer to a new bowl to bring the temperature down quicker and let cool for 1 hour until the mixture is just warm. Add the active dry yeast and let it sit for a few minutes. In increments, mix in 8 cups of flour. Cover and let the dough rise for 1 hour.
Mix 1 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to risen dough. If desired, cover dough and refrigerate until you are ready to make the rolls. The dough will last for up to one week.
Butter two 9-inch pans. You can also use 5-inch wide, 2-inch deep, heat safe ramekins for single servings. Or you can use a combination of pans and ramekins. Cover the bottom of the pan with pecans. Then top the pecans with the apple pieces. Combine 1/4 cup of melted butter with two teaspoons of cinnamon. Brush the mixture evenly on the apples in each pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Divide the dough in two and form rectangles. On a large, floured surface, begin to roll out half the dough in a long rectangle. Dough should be rolled out about 1/4 inch thick. Then, leaving about 1/2 inch on the edge, spread half of the apple butter on the dough. Using a brush, add half the butter. Then sprinkle the dough with half the brown sugar and one tablespoon of cinnamon.
Then begin to roll the dough in a long cylinder shape. Roll tightly, tucking the dough as you go. Once the dough is rolled, cut it in rolls about 1-inch thick. If using ramekins, cut the rolls slightly thicker to account for the deeper dish. Place the rolls in the pans on top of the apples, leaving room for the rolls to expand. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Let the rolls rise for 30 minutes. Bake the rolls for 19-22 minutes until they are golden. Remove them from the oven and within 5 minutes, turn the rolls over onto a plate so the pecans and apples are on top.
make the caramel icing
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the cream and brown sugar and bring to a boil for one minute. Remove from heat and whisk in half of the powdered sugar. Let it cool slightly, then add the remaining powdered sugar. Whisk vigorously until the powdered sugar is well combined. If you prefer it a little thinner, mix in 1 tablespoon of cream. Then drizzle the icing over the rolls.