Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls Homemade salted caramel paired with tart apples all rolled into and baked in a sweet dough.
In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the sugar, butter, water, and milk. Microwave in 20-second intervals until the mixture reaches 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit (very warm to the touch). Be careful it is warm!
In a large bowl, stir together flour, yeast, and salt. Gradually stir the liquid mixture and egg into the flour mixture. Using the dough hook attachment, if using a Bosch or KitchenAid, mix on the lowest setting for about 4 minutes. If you are making these by hand, knead on a light-floured surface for at least 5 minutes. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of Butter. Add apples and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and place in a bowl and cool in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Add remaining 7 Tablespoons of softened butter and mix together.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 16 x 9-inch rectangle. Evenly spread the filling over the dough. Sprinkle the diced apples all over the filling. Tightly roll the dough into a 16-inch long log. Cut into 12 pieces.
Place the rolls on a lightly greased 9 x 13 baking pan, spaced out about 1/2 inch apart, 3 rolls per row. Loosely cover the rolls with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Bake the rolls for 14 to 16 minutes, or until a light golden color.
In a saucepan, heat the sugar and water over medium-low heat. Allow the sugar to dissolve without stirring. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, allowing the sugar to caramelize without stirring to a warm amber color, about 5-7 minutes, between 320-350 degrees.
Remove the sugar from the heat. Slowly and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble so be extra careful. Whisk in the butter and salt. Allow the caramel to cool at room temperature.
Drizzle the rolls with caramel sauce and top with chopped pecans, if so desired.