Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls for my Mom #SundaySupper

My mother is

Kick ass

The number one word that comes to mind when I think about my mom is “strong”.  She lived an extremely hard life in China.  While her marriage to my father wasn’t technically a straight up, traditional arranged marriage, I don’t believe she had much choice in the matter.  She had my two older sisters while she was still in China.  She’d basically give birth, strap her baby to her back and head out into the fields again for more manual labour.  She pulled her own teeth out when she was a child (for reals!).  She moved away from her parents and siblings to immigrate to Canada with my Dad, who had the benefit of his extended family living here in Vancouver at the time.  My mom had to work in a country where she didn’t know the language, then come home to cook and clean for four kids, her husband and his parents.  Oy, my grandparents made her life hell.  She didn’t get along with her in-laws and throughout all their hurled insults, screams and verbal abuse, she would always hold her tongue and continue feeding their ungrateful asses.

Look up the word “stoic” and her photo should be there.

My mom went through two serious urinary tract infections when I was still in law school.  Because she never complains and takes care of everyone’s needs before her own, she didn’t go to the doctor.  Instead, she stayed home and kept on doing what she always does: cook, clean, look after her family.  Because of this, the infections reached her kidneys and she had to be hospitalized twice.  Even when she was in massive pain and overcome with nausea, she still wanted to make sure that the next meal was cooked and waiting for us before leaving for the hospital.

It’s crazy!

I was furious at her for not saying something earlier so that we could have prevented the seriousness of her ailment.  I was terrified because I’ve never seen my mom that sick.  My mom has always been the strongest person in my life.  Seeing her so helpless and vulnerable was incredibly scary.

Thankfully my mom is in good health right now and I appreciate her more than words could ever say.  She has always been there for me no matter what, being her logical, practical, comforting self.  When I say comforting, I don’t mean to say that she fawned all over us, told us we were wonderful, or bought us material things.  We didn’t have any of that – old school Chinese parents raise their children with iron fists.  What comforted me was knowing that nothing ever fazed her.  Seriously, nothing.  She is the calmest person I know.  I did all kinds of crazy things as a kid – I was forever rolling down the stairs into the basement and smacking my head on the concrete, I jumped onto a nail once, I was sick literally all the time.  My mom is cool as a cucumber.  She never freaks out.  She always knows what to do.  It’s so calming.  And amazing.

She’s amazing.

And today, for Mother’s Day, I’ll be taking my parents out for dim sum (I both love and hate you, MSG. Why are you so tasty yet make me feel so crappy?).
Sunday Supper is devoting today’s lineup to items that would pamper our beloved mothers’ taste buds.  I turned to a breakfast comfort staple: cinnamon rolls.  You need to take the proper care, love and time to make cinnamon rolls.  This isn’t an easy, whip it up, quick treat.  You actually have to plan ahead.  You need to give it some thought.  You need to schedule time to make these babies.  You have to have some patience. And I’m not making any ol’ cinnamon rolls – I wanted to make them with a caramel apple flavour profile.
Your mom will thank you, especially since anything made with love tastes all the more sweeter.

I used Averie Cook’s amazing recipe for overnight buttermilk cinnamon rolls.  I didn’t change anything so click here to go to her fabulous blog for the recipe.

Apple Filling:

2 Golden Delicious apples, diced
3 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Heat the butter in a sauce pan over medium high heat. When the butter is melted and the pan is hot, add your apples, brown sugar and cinnamon and saute until soft. If there’s too much liquid, crank the heat up so that the liquid evaporates but keep an eye on the apples so that they don’t burn.

Caramel cream cheese icing:

1 block cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp salted caramel (you can make your own or use storebought, as I did)

Place all ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer or a bowl with your electric mixer. Cream together until fully incorporated, smooth, and fluffy.


After rolling out your dough and covering it with butter, sugar and cinnamon, evenly distribute the sauteed apples. Roll the dough up as tight as possible (I wasn’t so good at this part – I felt like my roll was pretty loose. Oh well, it was my first time making cinnamon rolls, I’ll cut myself some slack).

After rolling out the dough, spread softened unsalted butter over top, then cover it with sugar and cinnamon.

After rolling out the dough, spread softened unsalted butter over top, then cover it with sugar and cinnamon.

Spread the apples over top.

Spread the apples over top.

Let the dough rest for it’s second rise, either on the counter or in the fridge as per Averie’s recipe. Bake, then slather with the caramel cream cheese frosting.
I’m not going to lie – these were some of the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever eaten. Averie’s buttermilk cinnamon roll recipe is da bomb – the dough was indescribably light, fluffy and moist. Even though I thought I really loaded it up with sugar, it wasn’t overbearingly sweet. Topped with the amazing cream cheese frosting (I could’ve spooned it straight from the bowl to my mouth), this was perfection. Soft, slightly sweet, slightly salty pillowy mouthfuls of apple bliss.
I wish everyone a happy Mother’s Day – may you be spoiled rotten all day long by your loved ones. Don’t even think about lifting a finger. I especially hope someone is treating you to fabulous food, like the dishes found below!

Mother’s Day Brunch:

Mother’s Day Entrees:

Mother’s Day Sides:

Mother’s Day Desserts and Drinks:

Don’t forget to join the #SundaySupper chat on Twitter today to celebrate Mother’s Day! We’ll tweet throughout the day and share our delicious recipes. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more delicious recipes and food photos.

Do you have your ticket to the Food and Wine Conference yet? If not, there will be a special $100 discount available tonight only on the full conference pass if you participate in the #SundaySupper twitter chat from 7 to 8pm Eastern Time, and purchase your ticket during the chat. The discount code is: SundaySupper.  We hope to see you there!

73 thoughts on “Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls for my Mom #SundaySupper

  1. She pulled her own teeth?! That is one tough lady! This was a really beautiful tribute to your momma. I hope she had a relaxing day and let herself be pampered and cared for by others for once! It sounds like she definitely deserves this extra special, thoughtful treat.

  2. What a wonderful tribute to your mother. I can see why you chose the list of adjectives that you did, starting with strong. It takes so much strength to live so graciously through the life she has lived. And I’m sure she feels very lucky to have you as a daughter. And love the cinnamon rolls – the next time I make mine, I’m definitely adding apples! Perfect!

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  4. Oh wow. I’m amazed at what your mom went through and what she has done for her family. It’s great she is in good health now. What an amazing influence she is to you and what you have learned because of her.
    Fantastic cinnamon rolls too. They are a perfect treat and breakfast for any mom.

  5. Your mom sounds a little like my dad. They don’t make people like that any more. It was nice to read a little about her. I bet she has some incredible stories to share. How nice you were together for dim sum (I LOVE dim sum)and these rolls are delightful, Nancy xx

  6. AMAZING! I would love to try these. I love the addition of caramel to the cream cheese icing! Thank you for sharing! Hope your mom enjoyed her Mother’s Day! 🙂

  7. These look amazing, I’d love to try adding apples. I made cinnamon rolls recently as well, sans apples. I’d love to try them with apples, though! Btw, love the name of your blog- super cute!

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