Apple Cheesecake Cinnamon Buns

Tender and fluffy cinnamon rolls are such a treat. Filled with a generous portion of cream cheese, juicy apples and crunchy walnuts, they come together perfectly to create the taste of autumn. When you have these beauties baking in your oven, they make your whole house smell heavenly and are so comforting. Since I bake them like cookies, spread apart from each other, and the cream cheese frosting is inside, they are much more convenient to take with you on the go.

These Apple Cheesecake Cinnamon Buns marked my debut as a recipe creator. I came up with this exact combination as a young teenager, using ingredients that we happened to have on hand, and they were a huge hit with my family. I was about 13 or 14 at the time, so I used my Mom’s favorite yeast dough recipe and then scoured the refrigerator and pantry looking for something delicious to fill them with.

In those days, my  Dad was running his own business, Mom was working evening or night shifts, and I was usually taking care of my 5 younger siblings. It was great practice for me to come up with what to feed everyone. Since I didn’t have a driver’s license, I had to be resourceful and use my imagination and a few cookbooks that we had to come up with all kinds of variations of soups, entrees and desserts, of course. There were plenty of flops, but most of the time, the food was at least edible. It was so rewarding to watch my family appreciatively enjoying my food. It was wonderful for a young girl’s self esteem and it fostered the values of responsibility and work ethic.

Let your teenagers cook. It worked out pretty well for me. Here I am, 18 years later, still creating recipes, feeding my loved ones and sharing hundreds of our very favorite recipes with all of you.

Ingredients:

Dough Recipe:

2/3 cup warm milk (105-110 degrees Fahrenheit)

2 teaspoons instant dry yeast

3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

8 Tablespoons (1/2 cup) butter, melted

2 eggs

3 cups all purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

Filling:

2 (8 oz) packages (16 oz total) cream cheese, room temperature

1 egg

1/3 – 1/2 cup granulated sugar (+ a few extra Tablespoons to sprinkle the top of the buns)

1/2 – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 apples, peeled and chopped finely

3/4 – 1 cup chopped walnuts

2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

egg wash (1 egg + 1 1/2 Tablespoons water)

Instructions:

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and add about a teaspoon of the sugar that you’ll be adding to the whole dough. Mix it a little and let it stand for about 5 minutes until it foams.

Combine the yeast mixture, the remaining sugar, melted butter, 2 beaten eggs together in a large bowl.

Add the flour and salt and mix the dough in a standing mixer, the bread machine using the dough setting or by hand until the dough comes together. Knead for 3-5 minutes, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

Cover and let it stand in a warm place to rise until it doubles, for about 1 -1 1/2 hours. I usually tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap, which prevents the dough from drying up, and then wrap it in a heated blanket.

Meanwhile make the cheese filling, peel and chop the apples and chop the walnuts.

In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil or line it with parchment paper.

Divide the dough in half and roll each half of the dough into an 11 X 15 inch rectangle.

Spread half of the cheese filling over the surface of the dough, leaving about a 1/2 inch border around the edges. Sprinkle half of the apples, half of the walnuts and half of the cinnamon over the cheese filling.

Sometimes, I let it rest at this point at room temperature for about 5-10 minutes, so the dough has a little head start in rising before I roll it up.

Starting at the long side, roll dough, pressing lightly, to form a tight log. Place the log seam-side down and cut evenly in half and then each half into 8 pieces, for a total of 16 buns.

Place the buns onto the prepared baking sheet. Set aside to rise in a warm place, about 30 – 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, repeat with the remaining dough and the remaining filling ingredients. In total you will get about 32 buns.

Brush the risen buns with the egg wash and sprinkle them with some sugar on top.

If you want the buns to be thicker and fluffier, like typical cinnamon buns, you can use the entire amount of  dough and not roll it out as thinly and then continue with the other steps. You might not need to use as much of the filling ingredients. You will have less buns, but they will be thicker and fluffier. 

Bake the shaped buns that have risen for 30-40 minutes in the preheated (350 degrees Fahrenheit) oven for 18-15 minutes, depending on how thick you rolled out the buns.

Store the buns at room temperature for 3-5 days, in a covered container/dish. 

Apple Cheesecake Cinnamon Buns
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sweets
Serves: 32 buns
Ingredients
Dough Recipe:
  • ⅔ cup warm milk (105-110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 8 Tablespoons (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
Filling:
  • 2 (8 oz) packages (16 oz total) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ - ½ cup granulated sugar (+ a few extra Tablespoons to sprinkle the top of the buns)
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 apples, peeled and chopped finely
  • ¾ - 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • egg wash (1 egg + 1½ Tablespoons water)
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and add about a teaspoon of the sugar that you’ll be adding to the whole dough. Mix it a little and let it stand for about 5 minutes until it foams.
  2. Combine the yeast mixture, the remaining sugar, melted butter, 2 beaten eggs together in a large bowl.
  3. Add the flour and salt and mix the dough in a standing mixer, the bread machine using the dough setting or by hand until the dough comes together. Knead for 3-5 minutes, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Cover and let it stand in a warm place to rise until it doubles, for about 1 -1½ hours. I usually tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap, which prevents the dough from drying up, and then wrap it in a heated blanket.
  5. Meanwhile make the cheese filling, peel and chop the apples and chop the walnuts.
  6. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil or line it with parchment paper.
  8. Divide the dough in half and roll each half of the dough into an 11 X 15 inch rectangle.
  9. Spread half of the cheese filling over the surface of the dough, leaving about a ½ inch border around the edges. Sprinkle half of the apples, half of the walnuts and half of the cinnamon over the cheese filling.
  10. Starting at the long side, roll dough, pressing lightly, to form a tight log. Place the log seam-side down and cut evenly in half and then each half into 8 pieces, for a total of 16 buns.
  11. Place the buns onto the prepared baking sheet. Set aside to rise in a warm place, about 30 - 40 minutes.
  12. Meanwhile, repeat with the remaining dough and the remaining filling ingredients. In total you will get about 32 buns.
  13. Brush the risen buns with the egg wash and sprinkle them with some sugar on top.
  14. If you want the buns to be thicker and fluffier, like typical cinnamon buns, you can use the entire amount of dough and not roll it out as thinly and then continue with the other steps. You might not need to use as much of the filling ingredients. You will have less buns, but they will be thicker and fluffier.
  15. Bake the shaped buns that have risen for 30-40 minutes in the preheated (350 degrees Fahrenheit) oven for 18-25 minutes, depending on how thick you rolled out the buns.
  16. Store the buns at room temperature for 3-5 days, in a covered container/dish.

11 Comments

  • Luba

    Olga these look delicious! You do such a wonderful job with your recipes, some have become my family favorite as well. Thanks so much for sharing may God bless you and your family!

  • Olga M

    I made these yesterday. All 32 of them and it’s just my husband, my toddler, and me lol. There wont be any left overs. I made half with apples and half without for a more cinnamon roll style. They are like half russian bulochki and half cinnamon roll. So good and satisfying. Definitely will be making again in the future. Thanks!

    • olgak7

      Yay! So happy you enjoyed them, Olga. Yes, they are like Bulochki and Cinnamon Buns. I just love them. I’m so glad you were happy with the recipe.

  • Liz Vingert

    I just made these! They are absolutely amazing! I used Granny Smith apples for tartness, amazing! I also ended up using 1/2 cup more flour, the dough felt too runny to touch.

  • Dina

    Another amazing recipe Olga! The combination of cream cheese, apples and cinnamon is just perfect. They taste delicious. This will be the recipe that I will make on a regular basis:)) Thank you!

  • Larisa

    I love the story behind this recipe. I, too. baked a lot when I was in my early teens for our family of 9. Had to make up things as I went with whatever was in the kitchen.

    I printed the recipe to try it out this week, or maybe even for thanksgiving gathering.

    Thank you Olga!

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