It’s unfortunate that so many people associate cinnamon buns with roadside truck stops and Penn Station. Saturday mornings and cinnamon buns are truly made for each other. A nearly perfect dessert when fresh, those commercial cinnamon buns are victims of unfortunate circumstance. From this injustice were born this weekend’s buns. (Just watched a lot of West Wing; feeling oratorical. Give buns a chance.)
This recipe was shockingly simple. I woke up early, budgeted a few hours to let the buns rise, bake, then cool but the extra time was hardly necessary. The rising time turned out to be just 45 minutes. And these might just be the prettiest baked goods I’ve ever made.
Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction
2 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) of instant yeast
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup milk
2 and 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
1. Combine 2 ¼ cups of flour, the sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer. Set aside ½ cup of flour to use in step 3.
2. On the stovetop, melt 2 ½ tablespoons of unsalted butter over low heat. Once melted, combine with the water and milk.
3. In a standing mixer combine the butter/milk/water mixture and 1 egg into the dry ingredients. Mix until combined. The dough will be sticky, so use that extra ½ cup of flour you reserved earlier and mix until the dough holds together enough to handle. [I switched from the standing mixer’s paddle to the dough hook after adding the additional flour.]
Form your dough into a ball and knead on a floured surface for about 4 minutes. Invert a bowl over the dough and let rest for 10 minutes.
4. Roll the dough into a rough rectangular shape on a floured surface until it is about 18 inches by 8 inches.
Brush the dough with your melted 2 tablespoons of butter and sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar all over. Don’t be shy with the sprinkling! The sugar will dissolve into the buns in the oven. You’re going to want an extra crunch.
5. Roll the dough into a tight log. Slice into 12 pieces with a sharp knife.
6. Arranged the 12 buns in a well-buttered pie pan or other dish. Place, covered with foil, in a warm place for about 45 minutes. Buns should double in size. You can do this in a warm oven by heating your oven to 200 degrees, turning the oven off, and letting your buns hang out there.
7. After your buns look nice and puffy, set the oven to 375 degrees and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. If buns begin to get too brown cover them with tin foil for the remainder of the baking time.
8. Once your buns are out of the oven, add the glaze. Combine confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and milk until you get a thick yet runny consistency. Serve warm.
Note: The buns don’t store well, so plan to eat them while they’re hot. I don’t think that will be a problem.