My all time favorite breakfast treat is the cinnamon bun. I grew up eating those Pillsbury ones in the airtight tubes that you had to whack against the counter to get open.
I had a friend whos mom, would place them in a pie tin and they would expand. Being what I thought cinnamon buns should be, this was illusive concept to me. I only ate them once and have been trying to find ones that compare, ever since.
Heres what ruins anything that has ever come close to those homemade cinnamon buns that I have spent a lifetime dreaming about:
- the weak cinnamon to bun ratio
- not enough frosting
- raisins. gross. Why do people find the need to add pruned grapes to something so perfect?
I realized that in order to do something right, I would just have to do it myself. Baking with yeast is still pretty new to me, so I was a bit scared of it. My baker dad informed me that yeast and humans live comfortably in the same temperatures:
- If you add yeast to something that is about the same temperature as a warm bathtub, it’ll flourish.
- If you add it to a liquid that is too hot, you’ll kill it.
- If you add it to something cold, it’ll hold out on expanding until the temperature is warm enough or it’ll just take longer.
With this, I began skimming through cinnamon bun recipes, plucking what I liked about each one to concoct my idea of the perfect cinnamon bun.
It was so good, that my appetite almost didn’t give me time to take a good photo of the final product.
What you need for the dough:
- 1 package (0.25 oz.) yeast
- 1 1/4 cup milk, warmed
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 4-4 1/2 cups flour
For the Filling:
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
For the Icing:
- 1/2 package cream cheese, very soft
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla (I really love vanilla, though)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
start by warming up the milk
warm the milk on the lowest possible flame. My goal was to get it the milk to “bath water for a baby” warm.
Put the warm milk into your mixing bowl and add the packet of yeast. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then stir together.
add 1/2 cup of sugar, 1tsp salt, vanilla, 2 eggs, and 6 tbs of butter. (fittingly, I made this treat on Paula Deens birthday)
and stir it all together.
stir in flour
I did it one cup at a time until it made a dough that was thick enough to kneed together (about 4 1/2 cups)
flour a surface, and kneed the dough until its smooth (I did it for about 5 minutes)
Lightly grease a bowl, place the ball of dough into it, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit in a warm place until it raises to twice its size. (The time it takes for it to rise depends on the temp of its surroundings. I put mine into the unheated oven because its still much warmer than my unheated apartment. About 2 hours later, the dough was huuuuuuge!)
While you wait, you can mix together the fixin’s for the filling.
Put the dough onto a floured surface, and roll it into a large rectangle.
spread on 2 tablespoons of butteradd the brown sugar mixtureroll it up and cut about every 2 inches butter up a pie tin (or two, in my case) or a baking dish and place the cinnamon rolls in it until the expand into the pan (about 40 minutes)while waiting to them to look as squished as they do in the photo above, preheat your oven to 350. Pop them into the oven for about 30 minutes
or until they start getting brown on top.
beat together all of your frosting ingredients. Adding the sugar last and in small increments until you reach the amount of sweetness you want from it.
smoother your hot sweet buns (get your mind out of the gutter!)
Eat them until you fall into a sugar coma.
I suggest only serving them fresh. I got 9 buns out of this recipe and tried saving 4 (unfrosted) ones overnight, but by the next morning the bread pretty much absorbed the cinnamon swirl. Which was fine by me, since the bread aloe is AMAZING.I think I’ll make a loaf of it for french toast, next time.
all photos and illustrations were done by me