I have the mash up of all mash ups for you today! And it is very appropriate for the first day of October.
I have combined two of my favorite baked goods into one: apple crisp cinnamon rolls!
That’s right. I put apples in my cinnamon rolls and topped everything with a crunchy streusel. You won’t miss the cream cheese frosting on these babies one bit. That’s a promise.
This time of year just might be my favorite for baking. Even more than the holidays. There’s just something special about turning on the oven on a crisp, cool fall morning and something incredibly soothing about making a yeasted dough to be filled and topped with all the delicious things.
I’ve said it before: baking is therapy.
It’s a chance to step away from the busy hum of life and to focus on the simplest of things: yeast, water, sugar, flour. And the magic they make. Life around here has been full of change (and subsequent anxiety) and very, very busy. I am still looking for balance, to really gain my footing in this new stay-at-home-mom life I’m making for myself, and sometimes I just need a minute to turn my brain OFF. To focus on something simple.
Baking has always done that for me. It’s just…soothing to my soul.
In addition to their more therapeutic uses, these apple crisp cinnamon rolls have everything you love about a traditional cinnamon roll: fluffy, soft dough, sweet cinnamon filling, and decadent swirly centers! The only twist is that sautéed apples go on the inside with the cinnamon filling and streusel goes on top instead of a more traditional icing/frosting. And take it from this cream cheese frosting lover, this version is AWESOME.
When I was brainstorming for a “fall cinnamon roll” recipe, I knew I wanted to do something with texture. I also wanted to highlight some of the fall produce (summer totally gets all the credit). Since apple season is in full swing now (I am basically hoarding honeycrisps), figuring out a way to marry apple crisp with my cinnamon roll seemed like a really good idea.
And oh boy, was it.
I made and tested these twice. The first batch went into work with Dan and received rave reviews from his coworkers. Someone even declared them to be “the best thing I’ve ever eaten.” The second test is what you see here in these pictures, and in my mind, they’re pretty much perfect. I tweaked one or two small details in my original test, and I have to say, I’m incredibly pleased with the results.
Absolute apple heaven.
These apple crisp cinnamon rolls are the best of two worlds! They combine gooey, soft cinnamon rolls and spiced apple crisp into one delicious breakfast treat.
For the Dough:
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup canola oil
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 packet dry active yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 4½ cups of flour, divided
- 1½ teaspoons fine salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Additional flour, for rolling out dough
For the Filling:
- 1 stick unsalted butter, divided
- ½ cup sugar, divided
- 2 honeycrisp or Granny Smith apples, diced (roughly 2 cups)
- Pinch of fine salt
- 2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the Topping:
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cubed
For the Dough:
- Heat the milk, oil, and sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
- Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Sprinkle the yeast over top and allow it to sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Add in 4 cups of the flour and mix with the dough hook until combined.
- Cover the bowl and set in a warm place to rise for an hour.
For the Filling:
- While the dough is rising, add half the stick of butter and ¼ cup of the sugar to a large skillet set over medium heat.
- Once the butter is melted, add the diced apple and a pinch of salt and stir. Cook, stirring frequently, for roughly 10 minutes or until the apples are soft.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and set aside to cool before adding to the rolled out dough.
To Assemble the Rolls:
- Once the dough has doubled in size, stir in the remaining ½ cup flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Roll the dough out to ¼-inch thickness on a well-floured surface. You want a large rectangular shape.
- Melt the remaining ½ stick of butter for the filling and pour it over the rolled out dough.
- Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup sugar, the brown sugar, and the cinnamon evenly over the melted butter.
- Top with the cooked apple mixture, spreading it out evenly.
- Gently roll the dough into a log, working from the long end of the rectangle.
- Cut the log into 12 even pieces and place cut-side up in a buttered 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Cover the baking dish with a towel and set aside to rise again for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375°F during this time.
For the Topping:
- While the cinnamon rolls are rising the second time, make the topping by combining the oats, spices, flour, sugars, and salt in a bowl.
- Cut the cold butter in until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is evenly distributed. The mixture is ready when it can stick together when pinched between two fingers.
- Top the risen cinnamon rolls with the streusel topping.
Bake the cinnamon rolls for 20-23 minutes or until they are puffed, golden, and the topping is set.
- Serve warm.
- Category: breakfast
Keywords: cinnamon rolls, cinnamon roll recipe, apple crisp, apple crisp recipe, apple crisp cinnamon rolls, apples, apple baking, breakfast recipe, brunch recipe