So that’s an obnoxiously long title, right?
Admittedly, it was going to be even longer because, if you can even believe this, the chosen title in all its glory doesn’t paint an accurate picture of what’s really happening here. The title that actually depicts what this insanely addictive breakfast/dessert/snack should be is Brown Butter Caramel Apple Cinnamon Roll Pull-Apart Bread with Cream Cheese Frosting. Because that’s exactly what this is.
Pull-apart breads have been making their way through the Internet for a few years now, and while I’ve lusted after countless adaptations, I stopped short of developing one for the blog because it seemed as if every person on the face of the planet had their own variation. On top of that, almost every version seemed to take only a slight departure from the last, and all of them were savory. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m allll about savory cheesy carbs, but if I was going to make one, I wanted it to be different and not something you’ve already seen a hundred times over.
It never even crossed my mind to do a dessert version of the pull-apart bread until good old Robert Flay made a version similar to this on a show of his I caught last Sunday while I was being the ultimate couch potato. Being lazy served me right for once. I immediately jotted down the idea as a keeper, and begin to brainstorm adaptations of his version.
Since it’s fall, I found it seasonally appropriate to stuff this pull-apart bread with the crown produce jewel of the moment – apples. I know everyone is all gaga for Honey Crisp apples right now (guilty!), but I still find that Granny Smith apples hold up best to all cooking methods, and I love how well the tart flavor pairs with caramel and cinnamon.
The filling acts as double duty here, first of course, with the apples intertwined between the crevices of the bread, but also by adding extra brown sugar and butter to the mix, so the apples are basically swimming in caramel sauce. I then use the extra caramel to brush the inside and outside of the bread to ensure it’s evenly distributed and covering every square inch of dry surface.
Once the bread is super sticky and stuffed, it gets covered in cinnamon and sugar, wrapped in foil and popped into the oven until all the sugar melts and the bread becomes one gooey, melty, sweet mess.
Consumption isn’t allowed until the warm caramel-laced bread is artfully drenched in cream cheese icing…
Aside from the crusty, sticky, sweet top and caramel soaked bread pieces, what I really love about this, is that a lot of the apples and caramel sauce fall to the base, saturating the bottom half of the bread and then forcing you tear it apart with your hands caveman-style – and without any shame.
- 2 mini 8-ounce ciabatta loafs (or 1 1-pound ciabatta loaf)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 cups finely diced apples
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 3 ounces softened cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Using a serrated knife, cut the bread into ½ inch slices, horizontally and then vertically, making sure to not cut all the way through to the bottom, about ¾ of the way through.
- Add butter to a medium skillet. Turn the heat on a medium-high and melt butter. Once the butter starts to brown, swirl the pan until the butter becomes a deep golden brown and smells nutty, about 1-2 minutes. Add the apples, brown sugar, salt and ¾ teaspoon cinnamon to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and toss the mixture together. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the apples are softened and the brown sugar and butter have created a sauce. Remove from the heat.
- Use a pastry brush to brush the inside and outside of the bread with the caramel sauce. Stuff the apples evenly between to two loaves of bread.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining cinnamon and white sugar. Sprinkle evenly over bread. Wrap bread separately in foil and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until all the sugar has melted and the bread is crusty.
- While the bread bakes, whisk cream cheese and milk together in a small bowl until smooth. Add in ½ of powdered sugar, whisk until smooth. Add in the other half, whisk until smooth. Whisk in vanilla.
- Once the bread comes out of the oven, let rest for 2-3 minutes and then drizzle with glaze.