My son loves loves loves anything cinnamon including candies, cookies (Snickerdoodles), coffee cake, muffins, cinnamon sugar sprinkled on his toast, over vanilla ice cream, on top of cupcakes, even a little cinnamon sprinkled into saffron rice (delish), or the leftover scraps of pie crust rolled spread with a little butter dusted with cinnamon sugar and baked off in little pin wheels. His most favorite cinnamon food form is the cinnamon bun. Whenever I pass a bakery that has a specially tasty looking cinnamon bun I snap it up for Nick.
With my daughter off to college I’m no longer cooking for 2 kids and looking to make the food flavor compromise by trying to make 1 thing they will both like, so I decided to try my hand at a “just” Nick favorite, and that had to be cinnamon buns.
I was a little doubtful, a little hopeful, a little nervous at the outcome because I have very little experience with raised doughs and breads (I’m a better cookie cook), but wowie this was fun and easy-a few more steps than cookies but pretty straightforward and easy to do, and once you get a feel for the dough and how it bakes, there’s no end to the stuff you can dump into the mix….. I’m going to try cinnamon raisin bread next (also a big favorite of my sister, hope to make her homemade cinn/rais bread for x-mas morning) I’ll let you know how I’m getting on, but for now here’s a nice, tasty, easy cinnamon bun, make them even if it’s to have the house smell like heaven, hot fresh baked sweet bread with the added scent of cinnamon sugar, oooh baby !
Maria’s Cinnamon Buns
For the dough
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 packets active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup butter softened, extra for greasing
- 1 cup very warm milk, almost hot but careful not to bring to boil
- 1 large egg
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts*
- 1/4 cup raisins*
- 3 tablespoons softened butter
* nuts and raisins are optional, some kids just don’t like ’em
For the glaze…also optional:
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon melted butter
- 1 tablespoon milk
To make the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, mix together with a spoon 2 cups of the flour, all of the sugar, salt, and yeast.
Using an electric mixer on low add warm milk, then butter, then egg, scraping bowl frequently to make sure it is all combined, then turn mixer to medium speed for another minute and continue scraping bowl.
Add the remaining cup of flour and stir together with a spoon. Make sure dough is easy to handle and doesn’t stick to fingers when touched. If it gets too sticky, add a tablespoon of flour at a time mixing it into the dough with your hands until the dough can easily be handled and does not cling to your fingers when you pick it up.
Turn the dough onto a very lightly floured surface or onto parchment or waxed paper(I use parchment) and knead for 3-4 minutes, until dough is really smooth and elastic.
Take another large mixing bowl and grease bottom and sides with 2-3 tablespoons softened butter. Place dough in bowl and then turn over so greased side is up. Cover with cloth or paper towel and let rise in a warm dry place for 2 hours, or until dough doubles in size ( in my kitchen it took 1 hr 45min), while dough is rising make the filling and glaze.
To make filling:
Mix the cinnamon into the sugar to make cinnamon sugar, set aside. Very very finely mince the walnuts and raisins together(I used a mini chopper), set aside. 3 tablespoons of softened butter is also to be set aside.
To make the glaze:
Stir together with a small whisk sugar, butter, vanilla, milk, set aside. You may want to add a touch more sugar to thicken, but wait until rolls are baked to decide.
Back to the dough:
I have a trick I use when I need to roll out a large rectangle, I take a large cookie sheet(about 15 x10), turn it up-side down, cover area with parchment paper or waxed paper. I use the paper instead of more flour because I think adding more flour changes texture and taste of any dough, but then again I’m not that experienced so if you can effectively lightly flour a surface without it looking like a snow storm in your kitchen, hat’s off to you. Anyway back to the rectangle-take your dough and punch it down a little with your fist and shape into a small rectangle with your hands. Place in the middle of the cookie sheet bottom and roll out from center keeping rectangle shape to the edges of the cookie sheet.
Preheat the oven to 350degrees F.
Take the 3 tablespoons butter you have set aside from the filling ingredients and spread over dough, sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over dough, and walnut-raisin mix evenly over dough.
Begin rolling up dough tightly-roll the long side, you do not have to be gentle, roll tightly and pinch ends and push into roll as you go as this will seal the ends. When rolled up really pinch dough’s final edge into roll to completely seal, or rolls will unroll or un-spiral when cooking. Cut into 1-inch slices. You will get 12-15 rolls.
Place rolls 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Cover and let stand for 1/2 an hour. They will double in size.
Bake in 350 oven, on the center rack for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown. Enjoy the aromas!
Cool rolls slightly on wire rack and drizzle with the optional glaze. It’s best to eat these warm.
I played with this a bit and found that you can bake as you need, but you must let rolls double in size then you can refrigerate for 3-4 days and bake a couple fresh and warm when you want, but they are best when made fresh and eaten same day.