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Apple Cinnamon Rolls

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The ultimate fall brunch recipe, these caramelized walnut and apple cinnamon rolls with brown butter frosting are everything you would want in a fall recipe – decadent, studded with apples, cinnamon and walnuts, and so delicious!
 

apple walnut cinnamon roll on plate
When it comes to fall, most people immediately think of pumpkin flavored everything, I feel like the apple gets left out a lot.
Fall, and especially early fall like it is now, should be about apples! They are perfectly in season right now, and their crisp texture and sweetly sharp flavor should find its way into everything – both sweet and savory.
 
These apple walnut cinnamon rolls are utterly delicious and totally fall. I used both apple cider and apples, and they paired perfectly with the gooey cinnamon filling.
 
The frosting is amazing, too – with brown butter, a hint of coffee and cream cheese. These rolls are nothing but pure decadence.

Love cinnamon rolls? Boy do I have the collection for you!

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  • overhead view of apple walnut cinnamon roll on white plate

    How to make these cinnamon rolls with apples and walnuts

    These cinnamon rolls are no harder to make than any other homemade cinnamon roll recipe. For the full set of directions, make sure you scroll down to the recipe card below, but here is a brief overview.

    How to mix the dough

    1. Cut the butter into small chunks and place on a plate in the freezer to chill.
    2. In a small bowl, mix together the yeast and warm apple cider and let sit for 10 minutes until bubbly.
    3. Pour the vinegar into a 2 cup measuring cup and then fill the cup up to the “2 cup” line with milk and let sit for 10 minutes to make a fake buttermilk.
    4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
    5. Remove the butter from the freezer and cut the butter into the flour until it resembles course sand, with a few pea sized bits of butter remaining.
    6. Pour the milk and yeasted cider into the flour mixture and mix until combined. It will be a sticky mess.
    7. Place some plastic wrap over the bowl and place the dough in the fridge overnight.

    How to make the filling

    1. In a large skillet, melt the butter.
    2. Stir in the apples, brown sugar, and spices until all the apples are evenly covered.
    3. When the brown sugar melts, stir in the apple cider.
    4. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the apples are tender and the brown sugar is thick and caramelizing.
    5. Allow to cool before use (you can even refrigerate this part until you need it if you want to make it ahead).

    How to assemble the cinnamon rolls

    1. The next morning, remove the dough from the fridge and dump it out on a lightly floured surface.
    2. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle.
    3. Brush with 5 TBSP of melted and slightly cooled butter.
    4. Spoon the filling on the dough and evenly spread it around.
    5. Roll the dough up into a long log.
    6. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log into 24 even pieces (I find it easiest to cut it first in halves – so first cut the into 2 pieces, then cut each half into half (so you have 4 pieces) and then you can cut each fourth into thirds – getting you 24 equal sized pieces).
    7. Place each circle cut side up into the bottom of two greased 9×13 pans.
    8. Cover the pans with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1.5-2 hours.

    Baking

    1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
    2. Remove the plastic wrap from the pans and place the pans in the oven, spacing them out so one pan is on the top left of your oven and the other pan is on the bottom right.
    3. Bake 15-20 minutes, rotating halfway so they brown evenly.
    4. Brush with the 2 TBSP of melted butter and then place the pans back in the oven for another minute.
    5. Cool in the pans completely before frosting.

    How to frost

    1. In a small sautee pan, melt the butter and carefully watch it until it browns. You want it to just start to turn brown and it starts to smell nutty and rich.
    2. Turn the heat off and allow the butter to cool (you might even need to place the butter in a bowl so the hot pan doesn’t continue to cook and accidentally burn it).
    3. Allow the brown butter to cool.
    4. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, coffee, powdered sugar and cooled browned butter until fluffy.
    5. Spread evenly over the cooled rolls.
    baking pan with cinnamon rolls with brown butter frosting

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I store these? Keep these cinnamon rolls in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

    Can I make these in advance? Yup! This recipe calls for the dough to have an overnight rest in the fridge so you can bake them fresh in the morning. You can also roll them in advance and place the pre-rolled rolls in the fridge.

    How to reheat? You can reheat individual cinnamon rolls in the microwave for about 15 seconds.

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    Yield: 24 Servings

    Caramelized Apple Walnut Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

    overhead view of apple walnut cinnamon roll on white plate

    The ultimate fall brunch recipe, these caramelized apple and walnut cinnamon rolls with brown butter frosting are everything you would want in a fall recipe - decadent, studded with apples, cinnamon and walnuts, and so delicious!

    Prep Time 3 hours
    Cook Time 20 minutes
    Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes

    Ingredients

    Dough

    • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
    • 1/4 cup warm apple cider
    • 2 TBSP white vinegar
    • 2 cups (minus 2 TBSP) milk
    • 2/3 cup butter
    • 3 TBSP sugar
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 5 cups flour
    • 2 TBSP butter, melted to brush on top after baking

    Filling:

    • 8 apples, peeled, cored, and diced small
    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 4 TBSP butter
    • 2 tsp ginger
    • 8 TBSP apple cider
    • 3 TBSP cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

    Frosting:

    • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    • 6 TBSP butter
    • 4 TBSP brewed coffee, room temperature or cold
    • 4 cups powdered sugar

    Instructions

    Dough

    1. Cut the butter into small chunks and place on a plate in the freezer.
    2. In a small bowl, mix together the yeast and warm apple cider and let sit for 10 minutes.
    3. Pour the vinegar into a 2 cup measuring cup and then fill the cup up to the "2 cup" line with milk and let sit for 10 minutes.
    4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the salt, baking soda, baking powder and flour.
    5. Remove the butter from the freezer and using your fingers (or 2 forks) cut the butter into the flour until it resembles course sand, with a few pea sized bits of butter remaining.
    6. Pour the milk and yeasted cider into the flour mixture and mix until combined. It will be a sticky mess.
    7. Place some plastic wrap over the bowl and place the dough in the fridge overnight.

    Filling:

    1. In a large skillet, melt the butter.
    2. Stir in the apples, brown sugar, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon until all the apples are evenly covered.
    3. When the brown sugar melts, stir in the apple cider.
    4. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until the apples are tender and the brown sugar is thick and caramelizing.
    5. Allow to cool before use (you can even refrigerate this part until you need it if you want to make it ahead).

    Assembly

    1. The next morning, remove the dough from the fridge and dump it out on a lightly floured surface.
    2. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle.
    3. Brush with 5 TBSP of melted (slightly cool) butter.
    4. Spoon the filling on the dough and evenly spread it around.
    5. Roll the dough up into a long log.
    6. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log into 24 even pieces (I find it easiest to cut it first in halves - so first cut the into 2 pieces, then cut each half into half (so you have 4 pieces) and then you can cut each fourth into thirds - getting you 24 equal sized pieces).
    7. Place each circle cut side up into the bottom of two greased 9x13 pans.
    8. Cover the pans with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1.5-2 hours.
    9. Preheat your oven to 400F.
    10. Remove the plastic wrap from the pans and place the pans in the oven, spacing them out so one pan is on the top left of your oven and the other pan is on the bottom right.
    11. Bake 10 minutes, then switch the location of the pans (so they bake evenly).
    12. Bake another 5-10 minutes, until golden brown (make sure they are evenly golden, if they are just barely golden the rolls will still be gooey in the middle).
    13. Brush with the 2 TBSP of melted butter and then place the pans back in the oven for another minute.
    14. Cool in the pans completely before frosting.

    Frosting:

    1. In a small sautee pan, melt the butter and carefully watch it until it browns. You want it to just start to turn brown and it starts to smell nutty and rich.
    2. Turn the heat off and allow the butter to cool (you might even need to place the butter in a bowl so the hot pan doesn't burn it).
    3. Allow the brown butter to cool.
    4. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, coffee, powdered sugar and cooled browned butter until fluffy.
    5. Spread evenly over the cooled rolls.

    Notes

    This recipe requires an overnight resting period.

    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    24

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 364Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 290mgCarbohydrates: 56gFiber: 3gSugar: 33gProtein: 4g

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram, and don't forget to tag #gingeredwhisk.

    collage of images of apple walnut cinnamon rolls with text for pinterest
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