We aren't going to lie. Making these homemade apple cinnamon rolls will involve some time, effort and serious patience. But you will be extremely rewarded for your efforts once you sink your teeth into these sweet treats that are covered with maple bourbon icing. It's one breakfast you won't soon forget.
Apple cinnamon rolls
Ingredients for the dough:
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (should equal 1 packet)
- 1/3 cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
Ingredients for the filling:
- 2 cups peeled and diced apples, preferably Honeycrisp or Gala (should equal 2 apples)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons flour
- In a microwave safe bowl or over the stove, heat the milk to 120 degrees F. It should take 35 to 45 seconds if warming in the microwave. Once the milk reaches the desired temperature, pour in the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar and gently stir. Let this sit for 5 to 10 minutes until the yeast is activated and there is foam on the top.
- In a stand mixer, add the remaining sugar, butter, salt and egg. Using the paddle attachment, mix until the ingredients are combined. Pour in the milk and yeast mixture and stir for a few more seconds.
- Slowly add the flour and continue to stir until the flour is all the way combined and the dough sticks to the paddle in a ball.
- Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and transfer the dough ball to it. Lightly spray the top of the dough ball with the cooking spray and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it sit until it doubles in size. Depending on the temperature of your house, this could take anywhere from 1 hour to 1 day. I typically make my dough at night and let it sit overnight in the microwave to let it rise.
- Once your dough has doubled in size, make the filling by combining the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour in a small bowl. Set this aside along with the peeled and diced apples.
- Lightly flour your work surface and a rolling pin and transfer your dough to this space. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, approximately 12 inches by 9 inches.
- Spread the cinnamon filling mixture onto the dough making sure to completely cover the surface of the dough. Top it with the diced apples, again making sure they are evenly distributed on the dough going all the way out to the edges.
- From the long end, tightly roll the dough. Slice into 9 equal pieces and place the rolls into a greased 9-inch pie pan. To make it easier to evenly cut the rolls, score them before cutting all the way through so you know that each piece will be about the same size and that you'll get 9 rolls. Hint, each roll should be about 1 inch in size when cut.
- Let the cinnamon rolls rise again for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until they are swelling in the pan. Alternatively, wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight to let them rise.
- When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 18 to 25 minutes until they are golden brown. If you refrigerated the rolls overnight, you'll want to take them out of the fridge and let them warm up for 15 to 20 minutes before baking.
- Let the apple cinnamon rolls cool for a few minutes before frosting with the maple bourbon icing.
Maple bourbon icing
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup cream cheese (4 ounces)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Using a hand mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese until thoroughly combined.
- Add the maple syrup and mix again.
- Add the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time and completely mix before adding more powdered sugar. This will help to keep the icing smooth with no chunks. After adding about 2 cups of powdered sugar, taste your icing and add more powdered sugar as needed until it's sweet enough.
- Once the icing tastes right to you, add the bourbon and mix again to combine. Note: If the kids will be eating some of these, omit the bourbon or separate the icing into 2 cups before adding the bourbon to one.