Gosh, it's been so long since I posted anything!  Life just got busy and the blog and all other non-essential functions came to a standstill in the meantime.  Well, hello again, blog world.  I bring you good tidings of great cinnamon rolls as a offering of penance.

I had never made home-made cinnamon rolls before this recipe.  I don't know how I avoided it, with two sisters and a Mom who are all great bakers.  That might have been the problem, though.  They baked amazing delicacies and I probably just puttered around in the kitchen behind them, sneaking bites of their warm-from-the-oven goodies and never having to make my own.  I was the designated  salad-maker and top froofer-of-things-to-make-them-pretty-er when I was growing up.

Well, when the moment of truth came to test my skills, I can say that with me and this recipe hand-in-hand, it was a success.  I guess what I'm saying is, don't be scared of cinnamon rolls from scratch.  But, if you don't want to take the time, don't fret.  For pre-made rolls or dough, just stuff the filling in, bake, and drizzle with caramel sauce.

I adapted this recipe from this one for plain cinnamon rolls. 

1T. active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water
3 T. granulated sugar
1/2 c. instant potato flakes
1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temp
1 egg
1 c. whole milk
1 1/4 tsp. salt
3 c. flour

1 medium cooking apple
1/2 c. brown sugar
3 T. unsalted butter
2 tsp. ground cinnamon or apple pie spice

Salted Caramel Sauce:
1 c. granulated sugar
6 T. butter
1/2 c. cream
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt flakes

Combine the yeast, water, and 1 T. sugar and let sit until yeast foams or bubbles.  In a mixing bowl or stand mixer with the dough hook, mix the yeast mixture, milk, egg, butter, salt, sugar, and salt.  Add potato flakes.  Mix in the flour.  Allow to knead for three minutes on medium speed or knead for ten minutes.

Place in a greased bowl and allow to rise until double, about 1 hour.

In a food processor or on a cutting board, chop the apple.  Add brown sugar, and butter and pulse until crumbles form.  Set aside.

Roll dough out on a floured surface to a 10x14" rectangle.  Sprinkle with apple mixture and cinnamon.  Roll up and cut into 12 pieces.  Place in a greased pan and allow to rise until puffy.

While rolls are rising (or make up to a week ahead) prepare the caramel sauce.   In a medium saucepan, melt sugar on medium low heat- do not stir- swirl pan occasionally.  Add butter when it turns dark golden brown and whisk together.  Remove from heat and whisk in cream and salt.  Allow to cool to a safe temperature before using.

Preheat oven to 375'F and bake rolls until edges are lightly golden, about 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and drizzle with salted caramel sauce.  Devour.

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