Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cinnamon Buns

I was on a desperate quest to make the supreme cinnamon bun. Having tried a fair lot of fail- to- impress (me) recipes, I sadly shied away from creating the hot rolls in my own kitchen. Blandly dry and never sweet enough, my botched up batches had nothing in common with the goo-oozing behemoth pastries mass produced in those ever familiar mall nooks, always too big, way too rich and maddeningly cinnamon scented. Oh yes, you know what I'm talking about.

I have to admit, those are good, in a dangerously addictive (and strange) sort of way, though my specific view has always been in taking the homemade approach, once I get it right, the one that uses all known ingredients and will inevitably lead to far superior bun baking (cinnamon, that is).

Maybe, it's just that I'm not deemed to make the perfect cinnamon bun. Or is it that I had not yet tread upon the ideal recipe? Either way, I was willing to play a few more shots in my sweet bun pursuit, in hopes of ditching the countless, tasteless sticky buns for one extraordinary cinnamon bun.

Lo and behold a few weeks past, and me happened upon some forgotten pages of my Cook's Illustrated recipes. Just 2 posts ago I introduced you to my cookie recipe adapted from their same kitchens. Well, in true Test Kitchen style they did me in with this foolproof, perfected cinnamon bun technique. This bun could clearly be the one, and so proceeded I to shape, sprinkle and roll.

I ended up with soft pinwheel forms, and buttered gooey insides, made complete with generous drizzles of velvetsmooth topping. Kissed with right amount of spice, this was the Keeper. The before- you- came- into- my- life-I -missed- you- so- bad one. (Sorry Carly Rae)

As if that weren't enough, there is no yeast in the dough. No hassle of yeast proofing. No awaiting The Great Rise. Instead, the dough here gets leavened with the aid of baking powder and baking soda, providing the swiftest shortcut to achieving a light, fluffy roll.

To conclude the story, the sweet bundles, start to finish, end in less than a quarter of the time of traditional cinnamon buns. An appropriate and rewarding round off to my bun finding odyssey, don't you think?

I reduced the cinnamon to half the amount mentioned in the original recipe. In addition, I scraped in orange zest which cuts and offsets any sweet/cloying overload. The zest is totally an option though, I like it in, you may very well leave it out. Mixing in extra tablespoons of cream cheese and buttermilk than called for, gave way to a slightly sharper taste in the glaze, therefore rendering an utterly insane and completely awesome icing on the bun.

If you're ready to give these a go, know that this recipe yields 8 hearty rolls. Due to their unique ability to disappear faster than a pinch, I recommend keeping a batch on reserve. You know, for when the kids get home.

( Recipe adapted from Cook's illustrated)
Cinnamon-Sugar Filling~
  • ¾ c packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ c sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp grated orange rind(optional)
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Directions:
  • Combine all the dry ingredients and blend well. Pour in melted butter and coat mixture until it looks and feels like wet sand.
Bun Dough~
  • 2 ½ c all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting work area
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1¼ c buttermilk
  • 5-6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 425° F. Adjust oven rack to the upper middle position of your oven.
  • Prepare a 9 inch round nonstick baking pan by brushing with 1 tablespoon of melted butter.
  • Sift the dry ingredients in a large bowl. 
  • Whisk together buttermilk and 2 tbsp of the melted butter.
  • Pour wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
  • Once no liquid is left and dough is about to come to form, turn out on a flour -dusted work top and knead with hand until just smooth, no longer than a minute.
  • Again with hands, press dough out, evenly into a 12×9 " rectangle.
  • Brush  fourth tablespoon of butter over dough.
  • Sprinkle filling over dough, and spread evenly, leaving ½ inch from each side. Press the filling into the dough.
  • With the aid of an offset spatula, and starting with one of the long sides, gently roll up the dough  as tightly as possible.
  • Cut the roll into 8 pieces and arrange slices cut side up in the prepared pan. Brush with remaining butter (you may not need all of it).
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until edges are browned.
  • Once done either allow to cool slightly in the pan itself or loosen edges and hold a large plate to the pan. Invert rolls to the plate and then to a wire rack.
  • In the meantime, prepare icing.

Need I mention how perfect breakfast would turn out with one of these on a plate.
Icing~
  • 3 tbsp cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp buttermilk
  • ⅓ c confectioner's sugar
Directions:
  • Using an electric or stand mixer, combine, beat together cream cheese and buttermilk until smooth.
  • Add in sugar, half cup at a time and mix until blended and glossy. Add additional milk for thinner consistency,
  • Drizzle or spread over cinnamon buns.
Serve warm.


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10 comments:

  1. These buns look so incredibly warming and delicious my friend :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Uru for the thoughtfulness, though you should sail right back to the study boat :))

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  2. These look absolutely delicious! I'm salivating and I only had breakfast an hour ago!

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    1. Ohh B, I know it sounds strange but I'm grateful for that confession. Thanks, friend!

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  3. I love cinnamon rolls! These look wonderful!

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  4. I like cinnamon taste,Nice buns

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  5. These are fantastic! I love a cinnabun! Homemade cinnamon rolls are even better!

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    Replies
    1. I love it too, just had to poke some fun, but homemade is so much better, right? Thanks Ellen:))

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Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!