Soft, tender apple cider-enhanced dough, curled around a cinnamon-laden, apple butter slathered filling, and baked to sweet and buttery, fluffy perfection, these apple cider cinnamon rolls are the ultimate fall morning indulgence.
Cinnamon Roll Dough
- 1–1/4 cups apple cider or unfiltered apple juice, reduced to 1/2 cup
- 2–1/2 + 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, divided
- 3 Tbsp organic cane sugar
- 1 tsp fine-grain sea salt
- 1 package (2-1/4 tsp) instant (rapid rise) yeast
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 large egg
Apple Cinnamon Filling
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room-temperature (soft and easily spreadable)
- 3 Tbsp apple butter
- 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
Vanilla Brown Butter Glaze
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1–2 Tbsp milk or cream
Apple Cider Cinnamon Rolls
- In a skillet over medium heat, reduce the apple cider by half, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Meanwhile, stir together 2-1/2 cups of flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast in a large mixing bowl until well-combined. Set aside.
- In a microwave safe-bowl, heat the 1/2 cup reduced apple cider, milk, and butter at 50% power until it reaches 115-120 degrees. The mixture should be hot to the touch but not boiling. Stir in the nutmeg.
- Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients, and stir with a nonstick spatula, to combine.
- Add the egg and 1/4 cup flour, and stir until a soft dough forms. Add a 1-2 more tablespoons of flour as needed. The dough is ready to knead when it becomes elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly-floured work surface and gently but firmly knead for 3-4 minutes.
- Place the ball of dough in a lightly-greased bowl and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Return the dough to your work surface. Be sure to scrape away any stuck-on dough (a bench scraper is great for this) and lightly flour again first.
- Shape the dough into a flat rectangular disk, then use a lightly-floured rolling pin to roll out the dough into an 8×14-inch rectangle, about 1/4-inch thick. Dust the top and underside of the dough with flour as you work if the dough becomes sticky. Using a ruler to measure helps to ensure evenly-sized cinnamon rolls, but don’t fret if they aren’t exact.
- Spread on the butter, followed by the apple butter, in even layers, leaving a half-inch border on the long sides.
- In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon until combined. Sprinkle on the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then, starting from one of the long sides, slowly and tightly roll up the dough.
- Place the log of dough seam-side down, and use a very sharp serrated knife or (preferably) unflavored dental floss to cut the rolls into 9 to 12 pieces.
- Place the rolls in a lightly greased or cooking-sprayed 9-inch pan, leaving even space between each. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft-free place to rise (I use the microwave). Let rise for 50-75 minutes, until roughly doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake until barely-browned, gently puffed, and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning, as necessary.
Brown Butter Glaze
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the butter begins to bubble and foam. When golden brown bits begin to form at the bottom of the pan, remove it from the heat, and continue whisking for another minute or two.
- Add the brown butter to a medium mixing bowl and whisk in the sugar and vanilla. Stir in the milk or cream as needed to reach your desired consistency. Drizzle over the cinnamon rolls while still warm. Enjoy!