Cinnamon buns are such a treat for me.
I love pulling them apart and eating them layer by layer, savoring each bite that leads up to the sumptuous center. Is your mouth watering yet? I don't bake cinnamon buns very often though...it seems like a lot of work for a dessert that doesn't usually last too long in our house. Anyway, first thing this morning, before I could talk myself out of it, I got a batch going. Oh yum, and I'm not sorry about it either!
My go-to cinnamon bun recipe is from a cookbook I've had for years, Great American Home Baking. I do vary from the original recipe, but the basics are there so I can't really take credit for this lovely recipe!
Here's the rundown for the dough:
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup butter
1 cup milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 - 4 cups all purpose flour
For the filling:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. The water shouldn't be too hot to touch, but certainly nice and warm, about 105 degrees if you're getting technical. Though, try not to get too technical, that just takes all the fun out of baking. Let the yeast stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
While the yeast is doing it's thing, melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Once the butter is melted, add the milk until it's just warmed through. Do not boil the milk.
Stir the milk and butter mixture along with the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt into the yeast mixture. If you're using a heavy duty mixer, use the paddle attachment, or if you're mixing by hand, use your elbow grease. On a low setting, beat in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time into the yeast mixture until a stiff dough forms. This takes 3-5 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it's smooth and elastic, about another 5 minutes. You can add more flour as you need to keep the dough from sticking. The dough should end up soft and smooth, but not sticky.
Yes that is me, waving to you, while taking a picture of my bun dough. Hi!
Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Place the bowl in a warm place to rise. My oven has a bread proofing setting, so I put my dough in the oven to rise. If your oven doesn't have such a fancy-pancy setting, you can always just turn the oven light on to add just a little extra warmth, or set your oven to 150 degrees for 10 minutes, turning the oven off when you place your dough in to rise. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
This is such lovely dough to work with, it's so soft. It's a great recipe that isn't too scary to work with if you're new to yeast.
While you're waiting for your dough to rise you can make the filling. In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix together the butter, sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
Grease two baking sheets. Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half. With a lightly floured rolling pin, roll each half out to about a 24 x 10" rectangle.
Spread half the filling over each of the rectangles.
Starting with the long side, roll the dough tightly in a jelly roll style. Cut each roll into 12 equal pieces.
Place the buns 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Cover again with a clean kitchen towel and set them in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the buns for about 10 minutes, or until they're golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Of course there are many options you could go with when it comes to icing these lovely buns. My personal fave is cream cheese frosting, or a lemon glaze is delicious too. For this batch I kept it simple and did a simple butter, icing sugar, and milk combo. I used about 4 tablespoons of softened butter, 1-2 cups icing sugar, a splash of lemon juice, and a splash of milk. Blend it all together, adding more sugar or more milk to get the right consistency. Spread it over the cooled cinnamon buns, you won't be sorry.
I sprinkled some tasty cinnamon crunch topping over my cinnamon buns. Sorry - no recipe for that, I didn't make it!
I hope you enjoy this decadent treat as much as my family does. Have a wonderful weekend!