buns on the run — easy cinnamon buns

by hungryrabbit on March 18, 2011

Easy Cinnamon Buns

In a recent trip to Boston, I had the most wonderful Sticky Buns from Flour Bakery. The texture was light and springy, and the filling had the perfect level of sweetness. It was a sticky bun to end all sticky buns. However, after I enthusiastically browsed through Joanne Chang’s new cookbook aptly named Flour and discovered that the buns have brioche-based dough that requires multiple rising and proofing, I quickly filed the recipe under Lazy weekend/Special Occasion recipes.

It’s not so much the lengthy of the brioche process but the back-and-forth-to-the-kitchen steps that deterred me from spending a regular weekday to embark on this baking project. I suppose that’s why I never baked a lot of bread until I discovered Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Hertzberg and Francois, which allows flexibility to fit with my daily routine. Now, if I tell you that you could make similar buns in less than an hour, wouldn’t you jump at the opportunity and whip up a batch for a lazy morning to go with your Cup of Joe?

As I prepared to make a simplified version of Sticky Buns, I realized I had to save my pecans to make German Chocolate Cake for my friend’s birthday. I further streamlined the recipe and ended up with Cinnamon Buns instead. Cinnamon Buns are similar to Sticky Buns—they’re both traditionally made from a rolled sheet of yeast dough, brushed with butter and use a cinnamon sugar filling. Instead of a buttery caramel pecan topping for the Sticky Buns, Cinnamon Buns get a simple glaze.

You can make these Cinnamon Buns in probably less time than it takes to run out and buy some—especially if you don’t live next door to a bakery of Flour’s quality. Now, that’s the kind of lazy easy morning I love.

Easy Cinnamon Buns w Buttermilk Glaze

recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

For the entire recipe
8 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Cinnamon-Sugar Filling
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (packed, 5-1/4 ounces)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (1-3/4 ounces)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon table salt

2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12-1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1-1/4 cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons buttermilk, room temperature
3-4 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Pour 1 tablespoon melted butter in 9-inch nonstick cake pan; brush to coat pan. Spray wire rack with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

2. Combine Cinnamon-Sugar filling ingredients in small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter and stir with fork or fingers until mixture resembles wet sand; set filling mixture aside.

3. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Whisk buttermilk and 2 tablespoons melted butter in small bowl. Add liquid to flour mixture and stir with wooden spoon until liquid is absorbed and just combined, about 30 seconds. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead until just smooth and no longer shaggy, about 5 minutes.

4. Roll dough into approximately a 12 by 9-inch rectangle. Brush dough with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with filling, leaving 1/2-inch border of plain dough around edges. Press filling firmly into dough.

5.Using bench scraper, loosen dough from work surface. Starting at long side, roll dough, pressing lightly, to form a tight log. Pinch seam to seal.

6. Roll log seam-side down and cut evenly into eight pieces. Turn pieces onto it’s side so spiral pattern faces up. Slightly flatten each piece of dough with palm to seal open edges and keep filling in place.

7. Place one roll in center of prepared nonstick pan, then place remaining seven rolls around perimeter of pan. Brush with remaining 2 tablespoons remaining melted butter. Bake until edges are golden brown, about 25-28 minutes. Cool buns in pan for 5 minutes. Use offset metal spatula to loosen buns from pan; without separating.

8. Place plate on top and invert buns onto plate. Place another plate on the now inverted buns and flip it over, so it’s right-side up. Continue to cool for 5 minutes before icing.

9. While buns are cooling, whisk cream cheese and buttermilk in small bowl until thick and smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon at a time; whisk until smooth glaze forms, about 30 seconds. Drizzle glaze evenly over buns; serve while warm or at room temperature.

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Sanjeeta kk March 18, 2011 at 8:28 am

Love the buttermilk glaze and the cinnamon infused buns. I posted yeast based cinnamon rolls recently and could relate to the same here! Glad to have come here from Twitter. Hopping to check for more recipes.

Brian @ A Thought For Food March 18, 2011 at 9:46 am

Why do you torture me Ken?!?! You know what I do when I see ooey gooey cinnamon buns. I start to drool uncontrollably. Thanks a lot!

Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 18, 2011 at 10:19 am

Ok, you make this look SO easy! I have always been intimidated by things like cinnamon buns because I thought they had yeast in them but these look like I might even be able to manage them. GORGEOUS pictures – they jump out of the screen at me!

Amelia from Z Tasty Life March 18, 2011 at 11:27 am

sounds like Sunday morning is calling!!!

justcooknyc March 18, 2011 at 11:28 am

okay i’m listening. i too love the sticky buns at Flour, and her cookbook is great, but i just don’t have the patience for all that.

SWEETSUGARBELLE March 18, 2011 at 11:49 am

Kudos for this one my friend! I’ve only ever made cinnamon rolls once and that’s how long it took me to realize that I’d never do it again, at least til my kiddos hit college! Love this!

Daydreamer Desserts March 18, 2011 at 2:59 pm

These are so perfect for a quick Sunday morning surprise treat! :)

Donna March 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm

“Buns on the Run”, that is hysterical! Your blog is making me fat! How do you bake all these wonderful things and maintain your weight? Love to know your secret…

foodwanderings March 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm

I expected to see yeast but yet again you surprised me! Yup, trying to erase the image of a behind scurrying in a hurry!

Lirenl March 18, 2011 at 6:15 pm

What!? Cinnamon buns without yeast? I am SO making these! (love the title, too cute!)

tinytearoom March 19, 2011 at 9:48 am

It has been too long since my last cinnamon bun. you have inspired me to make them soon. The weather is getting cooler in Sydney, and for some reason I associate cinnamon with Autumn. They make a good pair.

KENNECTED March 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm

I’m so on a diet, but this might make me break it! damn you and your fabulous food! :o)

Barbara | VinoLuciStyle March 19, 2011 at 1:43 pm

You know it’s so easy to say, ‘I am SO making these’ because they look so terrific and the desire is there. But I want you to know here it’s a bit different. I mean when I say ‘I am SO making these’ that the oven is on and there is a pan of cinnamon rolls baking away. Now!

Terra March 20, 2011 at 9:29 am

I really do love how easy this recipe is. Especially on a Sunday morning, spur of the moment, what can we make for Breakfast. Looking forward to trying this recipe, Thank You!
Take care,

Laura March 20, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Looks absolutely delicious! Reminds me of the Amish sticky buns in the Reading Terminal market in Center City, Philadelphia. Great memories.

merry jennifer March 21, 2011 at 8:22 pm

I’ve been craving these ever since last Friday at Lupa when you said you were going to post about them. Gorgeous, Ken. Just gorgeous.

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction March 22, 2011 at 4:22 pm

These look so great! It took me a few days to get caught up, but I knew I had to see them when you mentioned them last week.

Love that they are so fast and easy to make… I usually put up with the proofing and start mine the night before, but I’m happy to have a new recipe to try when I don’t have so much time.

PS – It is definitely worth trying the sticky buns from Flour when you do have the time. They are amazing. Word of advice, though… Unless you want sticky buns the size of your head, I’d make 12 – 14 instead of 8. :)

Lora @cakeduchess March 23, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Gorgeous BUNS sweet Ken! The last time I made mine I did what Jen did and proofed night before. I think I liked the batch I made same night much better. This is a recipe I need to try:)

Stephanie @GlobalDish March 24, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Oh my goodness I may be drooling. Those look absolutely amazing, and I think that I’m going to have to make some of these and have them for breakfast verrrry soon. It’s a nice change from the usual yeast dough that requires hours of rising time. Thanks for the recipe!! :)

Melissa March 25, 2011 at 12:59 pm

These look fabulous!!! Do you think I could mix them and put them in the pan, in the fridge the night before and just bake in the morning? A definite must try!

Jamie March 28, 2011 at 8:32 am

Ok, I saw these on Barb’s blog and had to check out yours because I find it so hard to believe that these perfect, light, fluffy, scrumptious cinnamon buns are not made with yeast but with baking powder/soda! I am so going to be making these! They are fabulous!

Jeanne @ CookSister! April 21, 2011 at 9:47 am

I am 100% with you on the simple baking… If it can’t be done after work while I am cooking dinner, it is unlikely to happen in my house!! Which is what I love about these. Next time I havea weekend sticky bun craving, I have the solution! Thanks :)

Kris May 12, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I have these in the oven now and they were SO easy!!

Janjo December 22, 2011 at 1:12 am

Just made these and they are delicious!!! i didn’t use all the powedered sugar in the glaze because I don’t like things too sweet. I aslo made my own buttermilk because I didn’t want to go to the store! Only complaint is washing the sticky cinnamon off the baking dish!

hungryrabbit December 22, 2011 at 5:49 am

Glad you like the recipe. Next time just pour hot water into the pan and the sticky cinnamon will come right off.

Elaine April 7, 2012 at 10:36 pm

These were amazing! I made them for Easter and couldn’t help “sampling” them! They tasted almost like Cinnabon! My dough wasnt floured enough when I rolled the log, but the rolls baked up evenly and it didn’t even matter in the end.

I also doubled the recipe for the glaze.

Thank you for such a wonderful and simple recipe (with no yeast!)

Judy August 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm

These are the best ever. I always thought a baking powder cinnamon roll would be hard but I was mixed up with some that I have seen made with a pie crust type of recipe.I don’t like the yeast kind because when they are covered ,which is what we have to do anyway, they go kind of tough and rubbery. The only thing I did different, by mistake, was put all 6 tbsp of butter in the dough. I had to use extra, of course, for the other steps. I don’t know if that mistake made for the extra fluffy dough but it was fabulously delicious.

hungryrabbit August 18, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Thanks Judy, I’m glad you enjoyed them. I will definitely try that extra butter for comparison. – Ken

bianca September 5, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Hey!! this recipe has inspired me to go ahead and try them!! I have made cinnamon buns before and they ALWAYS come out hard… I really want to try this so I will be doing it really soon hopefully!! 😀

Peggy December 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm

I made these, recipe was in my Cooks Illistarated book but they came out terrible. The dough was so sticky, even after adding 1/2 cup more of flour. Can’t figure out what I did wrong. Any suggestions?

Rose April 20, 2014 at 6:47 pm

I made these today and it was absolutely delicious and so easy to make. I ended up using less oil and it turned out great. and baked for about 20 minutes
thank you

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