September and autumn are synonymous with apples. Right now, luscious apple varieties fill the produce section in every grocery store or market. Red delicious, gala, pink lady, honey crisp, and more. My head spins, trying to choose a favorite.
I used golden delicious in this recipe, but you can use your favorite apple type. A word about yeast, the new instant or quick-rising variety is easy to use and delivers perfect results.
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 (1/4-oz.) envelope instant or quick-rising yeast
1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar, divided
1 ¾ tsp. Kosher salt, divided
⅓ cup whole milk, warmed
⅓ cup sour cream
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, softened and divided
½ cup apple cider
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large (8 oz.) Golden Delicious apple, peeled and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups chopped)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Combine flour, yeast, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. With the mixer on low speed, add warm milk, sour cream, egg, and 1/4 cup of butter. Beat just until combined, about 1 minute. Switch to a dough hook, and beat on medium-high speed until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes (dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick slightly to the bottom). Transfer to a large bowl greased with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine apple cider, maple syrup, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup of butter, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium skillet. Bring to a boil over medium. Cook, often stirring, until mixture has thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, pour into a 9-inch square baking pan lightly coated with cooking spray, sprinkle pecans, and set aside.
Lightly punch down dough. Roll dough into a 14- x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of butter over the dough. Sprinkle with apples, cinnamon, and the remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar. Starting with 1 long side, roll dough into a tight log; pinch the seam to seal. Using a serrated knife, slice the log into 9 rolls, about 1 1/2 inches wide. Place rolls on cooled caramel in the baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Place pan on a foil-lined baking sheet, and bake, uncovered, in preheated oven until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto a serving platter, and serve.