Apple Butter Cinnamon Rolls
Serves: 15 rolls
  • For the Cinnamon Rolls:
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 2½ teaspoons yeast
  • 4½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted but not hot
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup amazing homemade apple butter (highly recommended) or store-bought)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 small apple, cut into small, very thin pieces
  • For the Frosting:
  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cups powdered confectioner's sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Stir the yeast into the warm milk and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Put the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer, stir in the salt and sugar to combine and make a well in the center. Add the eggs, melted butter, and milk/yeast mixture.
  3. Attach a dough hook and knead the mixture on the bread setting ("2" on a Kitchenaid) for about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the dough, form it into a ball, lightly spray the stand mixer bowl with vegetable oil, and place the dough ball back in the bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place it in a warm place until nearly doubled, up to 90 minutes. (I turn on the oven to 350 for about 1 minute, turn it off, and place the dough/bowl in the oven to rise.
  5. Meanwhile, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and measure out the apple butter. Set aside.
  6. After the dough has nearly doubled in size, punch it down in the center, let it rest for a minute and then place the dough on a lightly floured surface.
  7. Roll out dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. The dough will likely spring back, let it rest for a minute and roll it back out to size.
  8. Spread the apple butter evenly over the surface of the dough and sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture over it, leaving about a ¼ inch border around the dough. Place the apple pieces evenly over the dough.
  9. Roll up the dough, seam side down, and cut it into 15 equal rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 30-40 minutes.
  10. While the rolls are rising, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. Bake the rolls until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
  12. To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract, beat until smooth.
  13. Spread the frosting over the warm rolls if you prefer more of a glaze. Spread over cooled rolls if you prefer the fluffy white frosting.
Make Ahead Options (Disclosure: I haven't tried either of these methods with this particular recipe but they should work. If you try one of these methods, please let us know how it went!):
Option 1 (Refrigerate): In step 9 after you’ve placed the rolls in the baking pan (but don’t let them rise), immediately cover them with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge overnight. The next morning place them on the middle rack in the oven (turned off), fill a shallow pan ⅔ full of boiling water and place it on the rack below the cinnamon rolls. Close the oven door. Let the rolls sit in there for about 30-40 minutes until they’ve risen. Then bake as instructed.

Option 2 (Freeze): At the same point in step 9, place them in the freezer (don't use a glass pan). Remove them and set them out on the counter to thaw completely (you could set them out overnight) and then continue with the rising process as instructed.
Recipe by The Daring Gourmet at