Cinnamon buns, what can one say … why are they so darn good? Well, maybe it’s the buttery, brown sugary, cinnamony nuttiness that’s so generously spread all over a deliciously spongy cloud-like dough that might have something to do with it – do ya think?
If you like your buns sticky (no, you shut up), make a glaze that can be drizzled over after you take them out of the oven – sticky ‘em up how it suits ya! And the amount is totally up to you as are the flavorings – think vanilla, maple, cinnamon, almond – lightly drizzle ‘em or drown ‘em ‘til they can’t breathe – it’s sort of like coffee or a G&T, how much cream vs sugar, how much G vs T, it’s a completely personal thing, as is, how sticky do you like your buns?
1. So here we go – here’s a crazy idea – get the ingredients out before you begin. If you cook in an organized way, you will be a much more efficient cook, a cook with wings, a cook with a secret, a cook who’s cookin’!
2. First, get the yeast going by combining the water, yeast & honey together.
3. While the yeast is proofing, get the flour & salt in a large bowl.
4. After 10 minutes or so the yeast mixture will look like this.
5. Add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients with the additional water.
6. And get in there and start mixing.
7. And mixing …
8. Until it comes together in a mass that can be moved from the bowl to the board.
9. Start kneading …
10. And kneading …
11. Until it’s soft and springy (or holds a thumb print) and put it in a greased bowl for its’ first nap of the day …
12. Turn it in the bowl to coat with oil and …
13. Cover with parchment or wax paper …
14. And a dish towel to rest for 30-45 minutes … nighty, nite …
15. Meanwhile, get your nuts ready to toast …
16. When they’re done, allow to cool before chopping or adding …
17. Start & keep chopping and/or smashing until they’re little chunks headed for your buns. I’m still smashing these …
18. Time for the butter and cinnamon.
19. Start mixing.
20. And keep mixing until, well, all mixed.
21. Add your nuts.
22. Stir until well combined – this here, butter and nuts – money!
23. Unveil your dough and get ready to roll.
24. Flour the table, dump out the dough, get your pin and start rolling it out.
25. Until it looks like this.
26. Dot the dough with clumps of the nut butter.
27. And start spreading it evenly over the dough, use what works – fingers, spatula, spreader …
28. Drizzle the honey or maple syrup over the nut butter.
29. Start at the long edge and begin rolling the dough into a log shape.
30. Continue rolling, keeping it tight …
31. Until it’s all rolled up and gently pull the dough out to the edge so it’s even at the ends.
32. Unlike this, let’s call this artisan cinnamon bun end – I should have just pulled that top fold out to the edge. The dough is very easy to manipulate, just be gentle so as not to rip it.
33. Generously grease your pan of choice, and I mean generously. Your going to add sugar and cinnamon in a minute so this is where the ooey, gooey caramel comes to life.
34. Sprinkle the brown sugar followed by the cinnamon.
35. And start slicing the log into rolls.
36. And placing them in the pan.
37. Until they’re all in there, snug as little bugs in a rug.
38. Time for another nap, so cover as before and let rest for another 30-45 minutes ’til they look like a bunch of chubby kids crammed on a couch.
39. Sprinkle with the rest of the brown sugar and cinnamon, drizzle with honey if you like and get them in the oven.
40. They’re done when they look like this.
41. Invert on a board or platter so the bottom becomes the top and wait for a few minutes so the caramel sets up. Pull off a piece, glaze it …
42. Or don’t, and enjoy!
1. For the dough, first proof the yeast and set aside for 5-10 minutes until it starts to foam:
- 1 pkg active dried yeast (2.25 tsps. or 1/4 ounce)
- 1/4 cups warm water
- 1 tbsp. honey
2. In a large bowl combine:
- 7-8 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- yeast mixture
- 2 1/4 cups warm water
- olive oil
Gradually add the warm water until the dough becomes soft and springy. Add more flour and/or water until desired consistency is reached, as flours can vary. Lightly knead it for a few minutes on a well-floured surface.
Oil a bowl and transfer the dough, turning it once to coat. Cover with wax or parchment paper and a dish towel. Let rest in a warm place for 30-45 minutes until doubled in size.
3. For the filling, preheat oven to 350° to toast nuts
- 2 cups of nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, alone or in combination)
Allow to cool after toasting and then chop the nuts into medium/fine chunks.
- 2 sticks butter (1 cup) and 1 tbsp. cinnamon – cream to combine
Add the cooled, chopped nuts and set aside.
4. Roll out the dough. Using a spatula or your (clean) fingers, spread the nut butter evenly over the dough right out to the edges.
5. Drizzle evenly over top:
- 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
6. Starting at the long edge, begin to roll the dough into a log shape. When the log is complete, start slicing the dough in 2″ rounds. To make a consistent size roll, take the first roll and place it above the log you’re slicing, using it as a guide as you slice down the log.
7. Generously coat a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with:
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 1/3-1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1-2 tsps. cinnamon
8. Place each roll cut-side up snugly in the baking pan. Cover as before with wax or parchment paper and a dish towel and let rise once more for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
9. Remove the dish towel and sprinkle the top generously with:
- brown sugar
10. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. To serve, run a knife around the edges and turn it over onto a board or platter so the gooey bottom become the gooey top. Let cool as the caramel is like molten lava straight out of the oven. And if you’re glazin’ – do it while they’re still warm.
- add flavorings directly to the dough like, cardamom or cinnamon, flavored extracts like maple or rum.
- add diced apple to the bed of nut butter before rolling it up.
- forgo the nut butter all together; spread a couple of tablespoons of soft butter over the dough and cover with strawberry jam. Serve with whipped cream.
- split the buns in half and broil.
- and when the buns are a day or two old, whisk an egg with a splash of milk in a shallow bowl, add a little vanilla and cinnamon or nutmeg. Split the buns, saturate the bun halves in the egg mixture and pan-fry à la french toast. Fry ’til golden brown and pop in a 400° oven for 5-10 minutes. Decadent!
- cube a bun, heat briefly in the microwave, and serve as dessert with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
cinnamon bun variations
Almost from scratch alternatives: