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apple cider caramel rolls

Apple Cider Caramel Rolls

Soft, pillowy cinnamon roll dough is filled with brown sugar & apple cider, rolled up baked and doused in an apple cider caramel.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 16 rolls


  • stand mixer to knead the dough
  • muffin tin


For the apple cider caramel

  • 200 g granulated sugar 1 cup
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • 85 g butter 6 tablespoons
  • 80 g heavy cream ⅓ cup
  • 40 g reduced apple cider 2 tablespoons
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the apple cider brown butter filling

  • 113 g unsalted butter
  • 200 g dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons reduced apple cider
  • Pinch sea salt
  • Dash pure vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon if desired I’d do at least 2 teaspoons

Sour Cream Dough

  • Roux
  • cup bread flour
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • Dough
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast
  • ½ cup full fat sour cream 125g
  • 4 cups bread flour 500g
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup canola oil 55g
  • ½ cup granulated sugar 100g


Make the caramel:

  • Warm the heavy cream and butter in a heatproof bowl in the microwave. Add the apple cider and salt to the bowl. No need to stir it.
  • In a 4 quart pot add the sugar and a squeeze of lemon (no more than a teaspoon). Stir the sugar so that the lemon coats the sugar. Turn the heat on medium and cook the sugar. It will melt on the bottom at first and start to caramelize, stir it often as it caramelizes. Use a wooden spoon to press out any lumps of sugar. Once all the sugar is melted it’ll begin caramelizing, once it’s a dark amber add the heavy cream – slowly and stirring as you add it so the caramel doesn’t separate. Take care of your hands and use oven mitts, it will spit and sputter and can burn. Once the butter is all melted, cook for another minute then turn off the heat. Add the vanilla and stir. Set aside. If making ahead of time, store in an airtight container (it will last a couple of weeks, sealed).

Make the dough:

  • First, we’ll make the tangzhong roux by cooking the four, water and milk together in a small pot over medium heat until it becomes a thick paste.
  • Proof the yeast by mixing it with the warm water and a bit of sugar. Set aside for a couple of minutes to foam.
  • Add the remaining dough ingredients to the bowl of a stand mixer along with the yeast and roux. Knead the dough on low, then work it up to medium for about 10 minutes. Transfer to an oiled bowl and let rise either overnight in the fridge or at room temperature for about 2 hours (less if your kitchen is particularly warm). When it’s doubled in size it’s ready to be shaped (if you had it in the fridge overnight, it might need to be at room temperature for a while in order to double in size).

Make the filling:

  • Brown the butter: in a shallow pan, set the butter over medium heat. Cook until it melts, then sputters and foams. When you can see little brown bits and it goes almost silent, pour it into a heatproof bowl. Add the sugar, cider salt and vanilla. Set in the fridge to cool.

Shape the rolls:

  • Roll the dough out into a half sized cookie sheet (so 18×13”). Spread the filling over the dough with an offset spatula.
  • If you are making muffin-style rolls:
  • Roll the dough up into a log and use wax-free dental floss to slice the dough into 1 inch rounds. Set them in a muffin lined muffin pan.
  • If you are making a large cinnamon roll:
  • Slice the dough in half and then each half into 2 inch long strips. Roll the first strip into a coil and place in the center of the pan (cast iron or lined cake pan with parchment paper), it’ll look like a single cinnamon roll. Use the remaining strips to wrap them around the first roll and proceed until you have about 2 inches left on the pan (leaving space for the bread to expand). Set roll(s) in a warm spot to rise for about an hour, it is ready when you press it and your finger leaves a slight indentation.
  • Bake at 350 F for about 20-30 minutes, until the bread is golden brown. Let cool. If the caramel is cold, heat it up to make it pourable. Pour the caramel over the rolls and serve.