These Apple Crumble Cinnamon Rolls are out of this world! They’re a slight adaptation of my Flaky Cinnamon Rolls recipe, which I’ve explained before that I truly believe are The Best in The World – specifically, because for me, the “gooey center” is the least desirable part of any cinnamon roll. For my cinnamon rolls, the dough is folded repeatedly to make the layers and I add flour to the filling to thicken it so there’s very little chance of getting that slightly undercooked doughy texture that some folks seem to enjoy.
For these Apple Crumble Cinnamon Rolls, we add fried apples to the filling before we roll up the dough, and top the rolls with a buttery oat crumble – the same one that goes on the Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie in my holiday ebook. They’re finished with a delicious, slightly tangy Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Glaze that you can totally leave off, but I think really takes them over the top.
Apple Crumble Cinnamon Rolls Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Apple Crumble Cinnamon Rolls recipe:
- Granny Smith apples: No other apples allowed! I mean it! Any other apples will be too sweet and get too soft. Don’t do it. Pick the greenest, tartest apples you can find. As always ensure there are no bruises and if there are, cut those parts off and toss them. Bruised apple flesh is rife with bacteria.
- All-purpose flour, self-rising flour, baking powder: All-purpose flour for the dough, and the cinnamon filling. Bread flour is cool too, but the resulting rolls will be chewier, and the dough might benefit from more milk. Self-rising flour is for the crumble topping. Baking powder is for the dough.
- Whole milk: We’ll warm it up and mix the yeast into it. I call for instant yeast which doesn’t need to bloom, but if you use active dry make sure the milk isn’t too hot and let it bloom for 5 minutes before adding it to the mixing bowl.
- Large egg: We only need it to seal the dough for our Apple Crumble Cinnamon Rolls after we roll it up, and that’s optional. I just like to make extra sure they don’t come unraveled during the second rise.
- Cinnamon, coriander, ginger, fine sea salt: Coriander compliments cinnamon very well, and adds an extra layer of flavor. Salt because salt is always necessary for brightness and balance. Ginger for warmth and zip.
- Quick cooking oats: For a bit more texture and a touch of a crunch in the Apple Crumble topping. It’s optional, but if you omit it you’ll need to add more flour to make up for its absence and still have enough crumble to cover all of the Apple Crumble Cinnamon Rolls.
- Vanilla bean paste: If you don’t have vanilla bean paste you can replace it with vanilla extract, but this recipe is definitely better with the paste. The caviar spread throughout the dough and the glaze is just so beautiful!
- Granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, powdered sugar: Granulated sugar sweetens the dough, the cinnamon filling, the apples, and the crumble; dark brown sugar adds moisture, flavor, and of course sweetness; powdered sugar makes up the bulk of the cream cheese icing we top our Apple Crumble Cinnamon Rolls with.
- Butter flavored-shortening, salted butter, unsalted butter: Because of the folding/lamination process I like to use shortening for the dough. I find that the dough holds together better and although you still need to work quickly to keep the dough chilled, it’s not as drastic as if you used only butter (which you can). Salted butter is for sauteeing the apples and binding together the crumble topping. Unsalted butter is for creating the layers in the rolls.
- Instant yeast: The dough won’t rise without yeast! This is yeasted bread! Active dry yeast works, too.
- Cream cheese: For the glaze. Make sure it’s room temperature or slightly warmed so it’s easy to work into the icing without lumps.
How to Make Apple Crumble Cinnamon Rolls
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Apple Crumble Cinnamon Rolls recipe:
- Fry the Apples. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and let it cook just a bit until it becomes slightly browned and foamy. Add the apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, and sugars. Stir everything together and let cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-10 minutes until the apples are just slightly softened. Set them aside to cool while you work on everything else.
- Make the dough. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the shortening and granulated sugar. Switch to the paddle attachment and add the milk yeast mixture along with the salt and half of the flour. Mix together on medium for one minute, then scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the rest of the flour and the vanilla bean paste. Mix on medium for another minute, just until a dough has formed, then switch to the dough hook attachment. Beat on medium speed for 7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. It should not be sticky to the touch. Pull the dough a little bit: if it retracts like a rubber band continue mixing for another 2-3 minutes. You want the dough to be pliable and not fight against manipulation. You can make Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place, about two hours or until it has doubled in size.
- Make filling. In a medium bowl mix together the butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and flour. Mix together until a smooth, thick paste forms. Set the Apple Crumble Cinnamon Rolls filling aside while you wait for the dough to rise. Next, slice the unsalted butter into thin pats. Place the pats of butter in the fridge or freezer while you wait for the dough to rise.
- Prepare the layers. Roll out dough to about a 1/2″ thickness – somewhere around one foot wide and two feet long. Arrange the pats of unsalted butter over half of the dough, then fold the other half over the top of the butter to cover it. Press down around the edges to seal them. Now, fold the dough two more times, into a square or rectangle. Flour your rolling pin again and roll the dough back out to under an inch of thickness. Fold the dough in half lengthwise, then fold that length in half. Roll the dough out again. Repeat this process once more, for a total of four folds. Your final dough should be about 1/2″ thick. This is where our flaky layers come in. Refer to my demonstrative video on Instagram if the process seems confusing.
- Make the Apple Crumble Cinnamon Rolls. Preheat your oven to 375°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Oil a 9×13″ and an 8×8″ baking dish with baking spray and set them aside. Beat the egg with one teaspoon of cold water until foamy and set it aside. Spread the rolled-out dough with the prepared filling, stopping about 1/2″ from one long end. Go all the way to the edges of all other ends. Apply the egg wash to the bare edge of the dough. Starting with the long end with filling all the way to the edge, begin rolling up the dough. Tuck and roll, keeping the roll tight as you go. Once you’ve rolled the dough into a log, use a serrated knife to slice the log into 1″ rounds. Arrange the rolls in the baking dishes, leaving about an inch or so of space between the rolls. Cover with a towel and allow the dough to rise until slightly puffy, about 30 minutes.
- Make the Crumble Topping. Add all of the ingredients listed under the Crumble heading – oats, flour, sugars, ginger, cinnamon, and butter – to a mixing bowl. Use a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers to work the butter into the flour and oats. Work them together until there are no large, bare pieces of butter exposed.
- Bake the Apple Crumble Cinnamon Rolls. Sprinkle the crumble topping all over the tops of the rolls. Do a light coating at first and build on it to ensure even coverage across all of the rolls. Place the rolls in the preheated 375°F oven and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes cover the rolls with foil and continue baking the cinnamon rolls for another 10 minutes, or until 190°F in the center.
- Make the Glaze. In a mixing bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla bean paste. Whisk until everything is nice and smooth. If you’re having a problem with lumps you can microwave the bowl for a bit, or place it over a double boiler to heat it up a little bit, that should allow you to work out any lumps.
- Glaze the Apple Crumble Cinnamon Rolls. Drizzle the glaze all over the tops of the rolls, using either a spoon or a squeeze bottle – or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off – and enjoy!
Obligatory Pinterest graphics –