It’s apple season and I for one can’t think of anything more delectable than an apple cinnamon roll with a bit of caramel sauce and caramel glaze drizzled over top. And for a little crunch add a few sweet cinnamon pecans to the mix. What a way to welcome friends and family around the holidays with the aroma of cinnamon and apples fresh from the oven. I’m making a batch of sweet rolls to put in the freezer for the holidays. They can easily be thawed and reheated in the oven for a delicious breakfast or brunch. And if by chance there are any left, break off a piece to dunk in your morning coffee, it’s a real treat!
My favorite dough for sweet rolls is brioche. I halved the recipe for the rolls and made a loaf of brioche with the other half. This amount of dough will make 2 (9 inch) round pans of apple cinnamon rolls. The filling includes brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and candied pecans. You will also need some unsalted butter that has been slightly softened.
Flour a work surface and roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 1/4 inch in thickness. If needed cut around the edges with a pastry cutter to make straighter lines. Take the softened butter and spread over the dough.
Core and dice the apple into small chunks. It’s up to you if you peel them or not. Sprinkle the brown sugar mix over the buttered dough, next comes the apples and lastly the sweetened pecans. Begin at one side and gently roll the dough into a tight log. When you get to the end, pinch the ends underneath the dough like a seam. Cut the roll in half and begin slicing 3/4 inch thick slices with a sharp knife.
The rolls need a warm place to raise. I use the warm setting on my oven and place the rolls on top of the stove, then cover with a kitchen towel. Turn the pans a couple of times so that the warm heat is spread evenly throughout the rolls.
You can drizzle some caramel sauce too. Let’s just say you can’t go wrong either way but if you are a caramel lover you will want to go with a little extra caramel.
Apple Cinnamon Rolls with a Caramel Drizzle
Brioche Dough (I used 1/2 the recipe to make 2 (9 inch) pans of rolls)
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
3 tablespoons Cinnamon
Dash of Salt
4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened
1/4 cup Pecans, roughly chopped (I used Trader Joe’s Sweet Pecans)
1 Honey Crisp Apple, small dice
Make the brioche dough at least 1 day prior, and refrigerate overnight.
Remove about half of the brioche dough from refrigerator, let sit to room temperature for 30 minutes. The remaining dough can be refrigerated for up to a week and used for another recipe. (I always bake a loaf of brioche, it’s great sliced and toasted with butter.)
To make the filling, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl, set aside. Core apples and chop into a small dice. Roughly chop pecans.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Form and roll dough into a large rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Trim any edges with a pastry cutter if necessary to make a straighter edge. Brush softened butter over the dough, then sprinkle with the sugar and spice mixture, diced apples and chopped pecans. Gently roll the dough into a long log. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll in half, then gently slice 3/4″ slices to place into two round 9″ buttered baking pans giving a bit of space around each roll to rise and expand. Place rolls in a warm place covered with a kitchen towel to raise. Allow rolls to double in bulk, approximately 1 – 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls for 40 minutes or until dough is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
To make the caramel drizzle, whisk sifted powdered sugar together with the heavy whipping cream and salted caramel sauce. The icing should be thin enough to easily drizzle over rolls with a spoon. If too thin whisk in additional powdered sugar.
Drizzle warm caramel icing over rolls and additional salted caramel sauce is desired. Makes approximately 16 rolls.