Apple Pie Topped Cinnamon Rolls with Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Icing

Cinnamon rolls bring me straight back to my childhood. My mom used to bake big batches of them, which would come out of the oven just after we went to bed. I have so many memories of my mom coming in my room with a warm cinnamon roll to enjoy in bed (after bedtime…gasp!). This weekend, my wife (the queen of pies) had a special request: combine apple pie with a cinnamon roll. The result, which uses my mom’s cinnamon roll recipe as a base, was decadent. It’s a bit of work, but totally worth it. A great baking project for a rainy day at home.



For the dough:
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1 packet yeast
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup dried milk
2 tsp salt
4 – 4 1/2 cups flour

For the Apple-pecan filling:
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 apple, cored, peeled & diced (about 1/4 inch)

For the Apple Pie topping:
2 Tbsp butter
2 apples, cored, peeled & diced (about 1/2 inch)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup water
1 tsp cornstarch
Caramel sauce (like this)

For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing:
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups powdered sugar


Make the dough by dissolving the sugar in warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top and wait for it to bubble (3 – 5 minutes). Add the butter and egg. Combine the dry ingredients and then add them to your wet ingredients. Knead the dough ten minutes in a stand mixer. Cover and let rise in a warm spot until doubled, about 1 hour.


Divide your dough into half and roll out one half so it is about 9 X 12 inches. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Brush the melted butter on the rolled-out dough and then sprinkle half the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top. Evenly distribute half the chopped pecans and apples, and then tightly roll it together. Use a little water to seal the seam. Repeat with the other half of the dough..


Cut each roll into 12 even pieces using a sharp knife or floss. Place your rolls onto two 9×13 greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise for 1 hour. While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. After they’ve doubled in size, bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

Make the Apple Pie topping by melting the butter in a saucepan and then adding the apples, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Stir until the sugar melts. Combine the cornstarch with cool water and add to the apples. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and let simmer for a few minutes until it thickens. Remove from the heat and let it cool.

Make the icing by beating the softened butter 2 – 3 minutes. Add the cream cheese, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon and beat and another 2 minutes until it is combined. Beat in the powdered sugar and beat until creamy.

After the rolls have cooled a bit, top them off by piping the icing around the outside of the roll using a piping bag with a large, round tip. Fill the center of the icing with the apple pie filling. Finish them off with the caramel sauce.

Watch them quickly disappear. Enjoy!



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