In my opinion, cinnamon rolls are the only baked good that matters. They are a classic childhood treat that I keep close to my heart. Its fluffy, torn apart nature and tacky exterior are all a little kid needs to put a smile on their face, and I’ll never forget that feeling.
As an adult, I have tried several times to make cinnamon rolls from scratch at home. Usually something goes wrong or they don’t come out exactly as I imagined – which admittedly made me afraid to try again. When I met Sarah Keiffer of the . encountered Vanilla Bean Blogthe recipe for Apple Cider Cinnamon RollsHowever, I had to rush to the grocery store to grab ingredients because I couldn’t be beat. I needed redemption and the time was now.
Get the recipe: Apple Cider Cinnamon Rolls
How to make apple cider cinnamon rolls
This is a multiple recipe, but very simple at the same time. If you follow closely, you will be rewarded in the end.
Start with the dough, start by greasing a large bowl and set it aside. Next, combine eggs, 3/4 cup apple cider, and 1/4 cup honey in a large measuring cup. Mix all purpose flour, 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast, and salt on low in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until combined. Slowly add the egg mixture, followed by the butter. Increase to medium speed for about 1 minute, or until butter is fully incorporated.
Then carefully transfer the dough into your prepared greased bowl and use a spatula to scrape off the excess. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 30 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the dough and fold it back, then turn the bowl and repeat the folding process six to eight more times before recovering and rising for another 30 minutes. Repeat these steps three more times, for a total rise time of 2 hours and a total number of folds of four. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Once your dough has risen to your satisfaction, remove it from the fridge and dust a large work surface. Knead the dough about 10 to 12 times and form into a ball, cover with a little flour, cover with a tea towel and let it come to room temperature. Grease a 9×13-inch pan and set aside. Then, in a small bowl, combine brown sugar, ground cinnamon, grated nutmeg, ground ginger, a pinch of ground cloves, and a pinch of salt.
Back on your floured work surface, roll the dough into a 16×12-inch rectangular shape. Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle the sugar-spice mixture evenly over the top, remembering to lightly press the butter to make sure the mixture sticks. Start with one long side of the rectangle and roll the dough into as tight a cylinder as possible. Pinch the seams to seal and place the dough seam side down before cutting into 12 equal pieces with a sharp knife. Move each piece into the prepared pan making sure they are cut side up. Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, which should take about an hour.
Now we get to the good parts. Preheat your oven to 350°F, remove the plastic from your baking sheet and bake for 27-32 minutes. Make sure to turn the pan half way through and remove when it’s a nice golden brown.
While the buns are cooling, get a medium saucepan and heat 1/2 cup apple cider and a pinch of salt over medium heat for about 3 to 4 minutes for the glaze. Remove from heat and whisk in your cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract until smooth. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, whisking constantly, until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Use a spatula to spread the glaze over the cinnamon rolls and serve immediately.
My honest opinion about Apple Cider Cinnamon Rolls
There’s something about making cinnamon rolls from scratch that has always intimidated me. After a few failed attempts in the past, I was eager to take this recipe in the form of redemption and prove to myself that I can make a semi-decent roll. While making the dough used to be somewhat intimidating, I stuck to my plan and followed the instructions closely. And I’m so glad I did, because the result has pleasantly surprised me.
The addition of apple cider to the mix was just the right amount of sweetness, and the fluffiness coupled with the glaze’s glossy texture were the little touches that really made the recipe stand out. I still think I need to make some improvements, but I’ll write that down as trial and error as I’m still learning that baking is an ongoing learning process. I would definitely recommend this recipe to anyone interested in a seasonal take on a classic baked treat. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.