So, something kind of unprecedented happened in the writing/developing of this blog post, and although I want to share it with you, I am not sure if it will endear me to you, or kind of freak you out. But here goes: I consumed almost an entire pan (i.e., 8 buns) of still-warm-from-the-oven, slightly gooey cinnamon buns, with a cinnamon buttermilk glaze, just prior to sitting down at my desk to begin writing this post. Now, I say this was unprecedented not because it was the first time I ate just a wee bit/way too much of a treat I developed and intended to blog about. But instead, because the treat I was eating too much of was spectacular. Like over-the-top delicious and perfect. And you see, in the past, when I have consumed too much of a still-in-development sweet, it is because something about it is not over-the-top delicious and spectacular. Therefore, in order to determine what said un-perfect sweet needs, I keep nibbling and nibbling and nibbling.This time? the sweet needed nothing and yet the nibbles were unstoppable. Now, how is it that I came to develop these most perfect of cinnamon buns? I thought you’d never ask. I’d been thinking about cinnamon buns for a while, and not only because my 10 and 11 year old roommates are quite partial to them. In fact, ever since developing my buttermilk parker house rolls, I’d had buns on the mind, as the rolls are soft, fluffy and buttery, and I was pretty confident that they would be fantastic rolled up with cinnamon, sugar, and melted butter, and covered with a thick, sweet, cinnamon glaze. (Spoiler alert: I wasn’t wrong.) I had never made yeasted cinnamon buns before (when I worked at Baked, although we made cinnamon buns each morning from a recipe similar to the Cooks Illustrated cinnamon buns. But no longer being saddled with yeast-phobia, I knew i wanted my buns to be of the rising variety and that my parker house roll recipe would be the perfect launching pad.
Despite the fact that I had the roll/bread component of the bun figured out, and the fact that the filling, assembling, and glazing of cinnamon buns is essentially the same the world-over, research was in order. I looked to Food Network and understood the ratio of filling to dough. Food and Wine inspired me to add cinnamon to my glaze. And Epicurious, convinced me to put nutmeg in my filling. But it was on my beloved food52 site, in a post written by the amazing Erin Mcdowell, that some cinnamon bun science was truly dropped. It was at food52 that I was motivated to add a bit of flour to my filling, to spread my filling to the edge of the dough (we never did that at Baked . . . not sure why), to leave plenty of room in the pan between buns (so that the center of the bun doesn’t rise up above the outer edges due to being squished) and to, under no uncertain terms, over-bake the buns.
Okay, I’ll admit it, I also gave my filling a rest before spreading it due to Erin’s post, and decided on an egg wash, rather than a heavy cream one, and was kind of partial to her oven temp, too. In short, Erin’s tips were game-changing and although I hope you will make my buns, I also hope that you will read her post. Word of caution: please make my buns when you have friends around with whom to share them. I think this will preclude you from falling into the “oops i ate all 8 buns” predicament that befell me.
Double Cinnamon Cinnamon Buns
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup bread flour
- 2 1/2 tsp instant yeast
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup potato starch
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 tbsp shortening
- 1 cup buttermilk and a bit more as needed, room temp or warmed slightly in the microwave or on the stove top (just to take the chill off)
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 stick plus 2 tbsp, unsalted butter, melted separately
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/3 granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp salt
- one large egg
- 2 tsp heavy cream
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 4 tbsp buttermilk or more
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
To make the dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flours, yeast, sugar, salt, and starch, and mix until incorporated. On medium-low speed, add the butter, shortening, buttermilk, and egg, and continue to beat until a shaggy dough forms.
- Remove the paddle, replace with the dough hook attachment, and on medium-high speed, continue to beat the dough until a smooth mass forms that comes off the sides of the bowl and sticks only a bit to the bottom, about 7 to 9 minutes. If your dough is not sticking at all to the sides or bottom when you begin kneading it with the dough hook, add more buttermilk, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough is wet enough to stick a bit.
- Turn the dough out into a medium bowl that has been greased with butter or sprayed. Turn the dough ball over in the bowl to coat it in butter/spray, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and set aside to rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until it has practically doubled in size. while it is rising, make the filling.
To make the filling
- Combine one stick of melted butter with the rest of the filling ingredients and whisk until a spreadable paste forms. Let the filling sit on the counter before using, until it comes to room temp and firms up a bit, about a half an hour or so.
- Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, cover the bottoms in parchment, and spray again. Set aside.
- Once the dough has doubled, melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter and set aside. Spray the counter (you may not need to do this - you can make the call as to how sticky your dough seems at this point — I did not need to spray before rolling out) and turn the dough out on to the sprayed surface. Using your hands, roughly shape the dough into a rectangle (the long side of the rectangle should be closest to you) and roll it out until it is about 18" by 13."
- Brush the rectangle with the two tablespoons of melted butter. Transfer the filling to the rectangle, and using a small offset spatula, spread the filling in an even layer all the way to the edges of the rectangle. Begin rolling the rectangle up and away from you, into a long cylinder shape. Roll it as tightly and evenly as you can and don't worry if a bit of filling or melted butter oozes out of either end. Attempt to pinch the dough together along the long side of the cylinder where the edge of the rectangle meets the cylinder.
- Using a bench scraper, cut the cylinder into 16 pieces and place 8 pieces in each prepared pan, being mindful not to crowd them. Place the side of the bun that has been rolled up against the side of the pan to keep the bun from unraveling, and pinch the dough together a bit if it needs it. (Don't worry too much though, my experience is that the dough is sticky enough that it all comes together while it bakes).
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Loosely cover the pans with plastic wrap, and set aside for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the buns rise to about 1 1/2 times their size. If you want to make these ahead and bake them in the morning, wrap the pans in plastic wrap at this point, and place in the fridge over night. In the morning allow the buns to have their second rise, and to grow to 1 1/2 times their size. This will take longer than 30 to 45 minutes, so plan accordingly.
- Once they have risen, make the egg wash by combining the egg and the cream. Brush the wash on the 16 buns and place in the oven until the buns are nicely browned, about 20 to 25 minutes, checking the rolls at about 20 minutes, depending on how hot your oven runs. Do not over bake them! While they are baking, make the glaze.
- To make the glaze, combine all of the glaze ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth and fully incorporated, adding more buttermilk if necessary, until pourable and thick.
- When the buns are done, transfer the buns from the oven to a cooling rack and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the buns from the pans by inverting the buns on to a plate and then flipping them from the plate on to a serving dish.
- Pour the glaze over the two serving plates of buns, and using a small offset spatula, spread the glaze evenly over the buns so it drips decoratively down the sides. Serve and eat immediately, while still warm.
- The buns are best fresh, but can be stored for a day or two on the counter in plastic wrap.