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

Dough
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

Glaze
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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