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Apple Butter Cinnamon Rolls with Brown Butter Frosting

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 4 cup flour + more as needed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole milk, warmed (about 110° F)
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1/3 cup sugar + 1 tsp.
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, room-temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cream

Filling

  • 3/4 cup apple butter, store-bought or homemade
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp apple pie spice

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk

Instructions
 

  • First, make the dough. Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  • Mix warm milk and 1 tsp. of sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let it stand for 5-10 minutes, until foamy. Add the remaining sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. Then, mix in the flour mixture until the dough starts to come together. Using a dough hook (or your hands), knead for 7-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky. It should be a little sticky but shouldn't leave any dough on your hands. If it's too sticky, add flour 2 Tbs. at a time until it's the right consistency.
  • Place the dough in an oiled bowl, and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Place it in a warm, draft-free spot and let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2-2 hours.
  • While the dough is rising, make the filling. Stir together all of the ingredients. Set aside until ready to use.
  • Butter a 9x13'' rectangle pan (or a 12'' round pan). Set aside. When the dough is doubled in size, punch it down. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface, and roll until you have an 18x12'' rectangle. Spread the filling on the dough, leaving a 1/4'' gap on all sides. Tightly roll the dough length-wise, and pinch the edges to seal. Place the large roll in the freezer for 10-15 minutes (it makes it easier to cut!).
  • Once the dough is cold, cut the long roll into 10-12 cinnamon rolls and place them evenly in the buttered pan. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap, place it in a warm, draft-free area, and let the rolls rise for another 30-60 minutes, until puffy but not bubbly. Alternatively, skip the second rise, and refrigerate the rolls overnight to bake them the next day.
  • *Note: To bake them the next day, remove the rolls from the fridge and let them rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours, until puffy.
  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly warm 1/4 c. of cream, and brush it over the rolls. Bake until the rolls are a light golden brown, about 18-20 minutes. (I always under-bake them a little, because they will continue cooking once you take them out of the oven). Let them cool for about 5-10 minutes before frosting.
  • Make the frosting while the rolls rise/bake. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling occasionally until the butter is toasty brown and smells nutty. (Be careful at this step as it burns quickly). Pour the butter into a bowl, and let it solidify on the counter or fridge until it's a softened texture.
  • Combine the brown butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Add milk 1 Tbs. at a time until it reaches your desired consistency (it should drizzle a bit when poured). Frost the cinnamon rolls, and serve warm.
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