cinnamon buns – sheer decadence

I have obsessed about this recipe ever since I found it on twitter last fall. I was surfing through my news feed when I noticed the L.A. Times using the catchy hashtag #bestcinnamonbuns. I needed no further coaxing. Cinnamon is irresistible to me. The way my kitchen smells when I am baking with it makes me feel incredibly content and safe. My home has always been a sanctuary for me. A place for gentle time. The scent of cinnamon enhances that feeling.

I don’t love to bake but I love having baked things for us to eat. Having had this recipe rolling around in my head for the last several months, I decided to see if it is as lovely as the L.A. Times reported.

My friend Anne McShane owns a funky little shop where she sells all manner of things that help to make you feel well. Hence the name ‘The Feel Good Store’. At Christmas time I bought a bottle of cinnamon from her because I liked the packaging. Happily, the cinnamon turned out to be fantastic so into my buns it goes!

 Cinnamon Buns adapted from baker Amy Pressman’s recipe 

6 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/4 cups orange juice

7 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, room temperature

Mix flour, sugar and salt in large mixing bowl or bowl of stand mixer.

Pour buttermilk and orange juice into saucepan and whisk over low heat  until lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast over liquid and stir to dissolve.

Pour liquid into flour mixture and add honey and butter. Mix and  massage everything with both hands until all dry ingredients are  absorbed into dough or use dough hook. Dough will be somewhat lumpy and uneven. Place  dough on floured board and knead with heel of hand until somewhat smooth  and elastic, 10 to 15 minutes.

Warning: If dough is completely smooth, it has been overworked.

Place dough in clean, lightly greased bowl. Cover with clean dish cloth  and let rise in warm, draft-free area until doubled in bulk, about 1  hour.

Make sure that your butter is at room temperature.

Cinnamon Filling

3 tablespoons corn syrup

1/4 cup ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) salted butter, room temperature

6 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon flour

Place corn syrup, cinnamon, butter, sugar and flour in bowl and whisk  until well blended.

Flour work surface generously and rolling-pin lightly. Divide Bun Dough in 1/2. Roll first 1/2 into rectangle 1/2-inch thick, as evenly as you can. It should be about 10 by 12 inches.

With spatula or clean hands, spread 1/2 of Cinnamon Filling over surface of dough rectangle, stopping 1/2 inch from edge of one long side.

I used my fingers to spread the filling so that I did not tear the bun dough.

Starting from opposite long side, roll dough up, snugly but not so tightly that you push filling out. When rolled completely, pinch 1/2-inch edge that is free of filling onto rest of length of roll to create sturdy seam.

With sharp serrated knife, cut roll crosswise into buns 1 1/2 inches thick, using sawing motion to avoid pressing down on roll. Place buns on baking pan lightly greased with butter 1 to 1 1/2 inches from each other.

Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Cover buns and let rise until puffy and half again as large, about 1 hour. They should spring back from a light touch. About 45 minutes into this second proofing, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Uncover baking pans and set in oven to bake at 350 degrees until slightly firm and light golden brown, about 25 minutes. Check to see that buns are cooked through to center, but if buns are too brown, they will develop undesirable crust.

Cool until warm to the touch and drizzle with generous amount of Sugar Icing.

I removed the buns from the pan before covering with the icing.

Sugar Icing

2 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup buttermilk

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

Put sugar, vanilla extract, cream cheese and buttermilk in bowl and beat well.

Drop by the spoonful onto each bun, while they are still warm, and spread with a pastry brush.

I can’t fib – I had one for breakfast. They are delicious!

Thanks for reading.