Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls | Secret Recipe Club

by Melissa on November 14, 2011

I love almost anything with “secret” in the title, especially when I’m in on the “secret”. When I found out about the Secret Recipe Club, I immediately headed over to their site and knew that I needed to participate. The concept of the Secret Recipe Club is just so much fun. You are assigned a blog, from which you can choose and make any of their recipes, including being able to adapt it to your dietary needs.

For my first assignment, I was given Fake Ginger’s blog. I loved that she is more of a baker, since I have been on a baking streak lately. I consider myself more of a cook than a baker, but I really do enjoy baking when I get the opportunity.

After browsing around Fake Ginger’s site for a bit, it was clear to me that has the whole cinnamon roll thing down. I mean, a lime and cardamon roll? Oh yes, I have it bookmarked for baking when the weather warms up here. When I came across her recipe for Apple Caramel Cinnamon Rolls, my tummy started growling and I knew that I had found the recipe that I was going to make.

Mmm… dig in! Thanks for a wonderful recipe Amanda!

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls by Fake Ginger
Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes about 12 large cinnamon rolls


For the cinnamon rolls:
6 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. lemon zest
3 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoon instant (rapid rise) yeast
1 cup plus 2-4 tablespoon whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature

For the apple filling:

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cinnamon filling:
3 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the glaze:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoon caramel sauce
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Let’s Bake:
1. Using an electric stand mixer, mix together the sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter on medium-high speed until smooth. Then mix in the egg and lemon zest. Then add the flour, yeast and milk and mix just until a dough forms. Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed  for about 7 to 8 minutes until the dough is tacky, but not sticky. (You may need to add a little extra flour.)

2. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough to the bowl, turning once to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, or until it has doubled in size.

3. Meanwhile, make the filling. Mix the apple slices, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium mixing bowl so that the apples are evenly coated. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat, then add the apple mixture. Cook about 18 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside to cool.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon to blend; set aside.

5. Mist a work surface with spray oil. Roll it out into a rectangle with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the dough with flour if needed to keep it from sticking (about 12 x 14 inches for larger rolls or 9 x 18 inches for smaller rolls). Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix to blend. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the surface of the dough. Evenly distribute the caramelized apples over the top of the dough. Starting with the wide edge, roll up the dough into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon sugar spiral as you roll. Pinch the seam shut, and with the seam side down, slice the log into your desired number of rolls. Transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, placing the rolls about ½-1 inch apart.

4. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let the cinnamon rolls rise at room temperature for 90 minutes, until the rolls have grown into each other and have nearly doubled in size. At this point, the rolls can also be covered and retarded in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Pull the pan out of the refrigerator 3-4 hours before baking to let the dough proof.

5. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool in the baking about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

6. To make the glaze, cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in the caramel sauce, milk and vanilla extract. Add confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Swirl the glaze over the top of the cinnamon rolls. Let cool at least 15-20 minutes before serving.

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 amanda @ fake ginger November 14, 2011 at 8:38 am

Yay, awesome choice!! My husband went nuts over these! You’ve GOT to try those lime cardamom rolls – they were weird but not so weird that they were gross. :)


2 Melissa November 14, 2011 at 12:08 pm

These were amazing, Amanda! Wonderful recipe. My husband loved these too :)

The lime cardamom rolls are next on my cinnamon roll list!


3 Liz@HoosierHomemade November 14, 2011 at 10:04 am

These look amazing! Great photos! Thanks for sharing!


4 Melissa November 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Thanks Liz :)


5 ButterYum November 14, 2011 at 10:04 am

What a neat twist on cinn rolls…. and I have to admit, the lime cardamom rolls have definitely got my attention… will be checking those out next.

I hope you’ll stop by and visit my SRC post for Honey Vinaigrette Marinated Grilled Chicken.



6 ButterYum November 14, 2011 at 10:05 am

PS – really great photos!!


7 Melissa November 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Thanks Patricia!


8 BigFatBaker November 14, 2011 at 10:11 am

Your photos are beautiful. I haven’t made cinnamon rolls in forever but the apples sound like a lovely addition. I’m bookmarking these for next week! :) Thanks for sharing!


9 Melissa November 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Thanks! These rolls were delicious – I just need to make sure to start early next time to account for the time needed to let the dough rise :)


10 Danielle November 14, 2011 at 10:57 am

Heaven on a plate! I can smell the apples and cinnamon cooking through the monitor!


11 Melissa November 14, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Hehe! Thanks Danielle!


12 Maya@Foodiva’s Kitchen November 14, 2011 at 11:09 am

Well, I love anything with ‘cinnamon’ and ‘rolls’ in the title and your ones with apples and caramel are so in season and so yummy looking to boot! I’m so happy you chose to make these from Amanda’s blog because Fake Ginger is one of my favorites, and yes, she’s so creative!


13 Melissa November 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Thanks Maya! Yes, I was so happy to be assigned to such a creative blog for my first Secret Recipe Club post. What a fun way to get started! :)


14 Isabelle @ Crumb November 14, 2011 at 11:17 am

Oh yum…. these look perfect for a fall weekend brunch! (or as a snack.. or weekday breakfast… or instead of dinner… or, y’know, pretty much anytime.) :) Great pick!


15 Melissa November 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Haha yes! I need one of these rolls, right now :)


16 Joanne November 14, 2011 at 11:53 am

I LOVE LOVE LOVE cinnamon rolls and the caramel apple twist is fantastic!!! Yum!!!!


17 Melissa November 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Aren’t cinnamon rolls simply the best? :)


18 Lynne Daley November 14, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I make cinnamon rolls all the time for my family, but I never thought about putting apple in the filling. Brilliant! Yours look amazing!


19 Melissa November 14, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Thanks Lynne! I’m a huge fan of fruit, so adding the apple to these cinnamon rolls was perfect.


20 Miz Helen November 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Your Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls are just beautiful, and a very special treat. This is a great pick for the SRC! Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful week.
Miz Helen


21 Erin @ Making Memories November 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Oh yes, please! These look wonderful!!!


22 Jenny @ Savour the Senses November 14, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Wow this is amazing. I have a buttermilk biscuit cinnamon recipe that I bet would be great with the added apples! Must try. Great SRC post, happy to be a part of the club with you!


23 Melissa November 14, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Ooh, buttermilk biscuit cinnamon rolls! That sounds delicious!


24 Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga November 14, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Melissa you did an awesome job on these…wow, they look amazing! Wish I could have one right now!


25 November 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm

I just joined SRC this month too, and am so glad I did. These rolls look so yummy, and the pics are great too!


26 amy November 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Looks great — so fun to be in SCR with you! I had Fake Ginger last month and there were so many great recipes to chose from!


27 Amy @ A Little Nosh November 14, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Sounds amazing! How do you do your overhead shots? A husband on a stool?

If you haven’t already, I’d love it if you’d check out my SRC recipe for Crockpot Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal.


28 Melissa November 14, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Overhead shots were done with a tripod and timer on the camera :) I trust my tripod more than the husband sometimes – haha!


29 Jennifer @ Jane Deere November 14, 2011 at 4:26 pm

These caramel apple rolls look delicious! I love the cream cheese glaze…this going on my pin board! YUM!
If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to drop by my blog and check out my SRC recipe this month: Korean Lettuce Wraps


30 Quentin November 14, 2011 at 5:41 pm

Dear Melissa
Can you please start selling these by the box. I am being teased thoroughly by these pictures and I just want to eat them. I refuse to make them myself because I am to lazy. I am willing to pay top dollar to eat these whenever I can!!



31 Melissa November 14, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Ha! Once some investors give me some money I’m opening a little bakery ;) As much as I love baking sweets, I always need people to help eat!

Come to think of it, maybe next time I have baked goodies I should drop off some to my old kung fu buddies at the school… hmmm


32 Lisa~~ November 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Great how-to pictures and an awesome recipe choice, looks delicious.

If you haven’t already, I’d love for you to check out my group ‘A’ SRC recipe this month: Pork Belly Soup with Collard Greens.

Cook Lisa Cook


33 Louisa [Living Lou] November 14, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Wow. These actually look to die for. Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls… my mouth is watering just thinking about them. Love how you showed how to roll out the dough and how to actually form the rolls!


34 Melissa November 14, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Thanks Louisa! I’m glad the step by step photos are helpful – i thought it would be easier to explain the process with photos than with just words :)


35 Trisha November 14, 2011 at 11:15 pm

What a treat … these rolls look perfect!


36 Rachel @ Bakerita November 15, 2011 at 5:49 pm

These look fantastic!!
Wonderful pictures and such a good flavor combo. I love the process of making cinnamon rolls, everything about it just relaxes me! Can’t wait to try making these.


37 Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen November 15, 2011 at 8:39 pm

apple cinnamon. Never goes wrong! Love the step by step pictures too :)


38 Pam November 20, 2011 at 10:54 am

What a lovely twist on the standard cinnamon roll recipes. I just love the idea of caramel apples as the base here. Thanks very much!


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