Friday, 25 January 2013

Super Brunch Sunday: Cinnamon Buns

I am a big fan of sweet breakfasts, if you couldn't tell from the Super Brunch Sunday recipes posted thus far!  What can I say, I have a sweet tooth that just won't quit.    I have always been a big fan of cinnamon buns, but after Saint Cinnamon disappeared from my local malls (my step-mom could always get me to be patient as a kid while she ran errands or shopped for gifts at the mall with the promise of a pecan cinnamon bun) I gave up eating them unless I was "baking" some Pillsbury ones.  I know this will make me mighty unpopular, but I do not care for Cinnabon.  And friends, after you try your hand at these overnight cinnamon rolls, you are breaking up with Cinnabon too.  Because after you eat these, you are never going to want to buy a bun that's been sitting under a heat lamp for hours, ever ever again.  I am freeing you from the shackles of mass produced cinnamon rolls.  Freedom ain't never tasted so, so sweet.

I was inspired to try my hand making cinnamon buns after I read Emma's post on A Beautiful Mess about how she loves to make cinnamon buns for Christmas morning.  I've put this baking adventure off for some time, because I was scared to make my own dough, and I had never worked with yeast before.  Well, I do learn best by doing, so in celebration of my friend Jamie's birthday (the very man who inspired Super Brunch Sundays!!), I bit the bullet and baked up a batch of these babies. 
Cinnamon Buns (recipe by Alton Brown, with my notes added)



  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 large whole egg, room temperature
  • 2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
  • 6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
  • 20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
  • 1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray


  • 8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4-ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons


  • 2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, approximately 1/4 cup
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups


In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.   

Seriously, just go watch a movie and let the yeast work some magic.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.
Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

 Sleep on it.  It'll be delish in the morning.

Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.
While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.

Yields 12 rolls. 

Notes from the editor (aka me):
Next time, I won't even bother using my stand mixer for this.  The dough was VERY sticky, and I had to fight it off with a spatula when it tried to envelop the entirety of my mixer.  Not fun.  After my "The Blob" moment, I opted to mix with a whisk and a wooden spoon, and kneaded entirely by hand. 
When it came to the icing, I went a little more free form and added milk and sugar until I got a consistency that I liked.  This recipe makes a very generous quantity of icing!! 
Next time I make these, I am also going to roll them across the wide end, and make 6-8 larger rolls instead of 12 smaller ones.  Because who am I kidding, I'm not only going to eat one of the small ones.

So, what are you making for brunch this Sunday?


  1. Oh yum! Usually cinnamon buns are too sweet for me in the morning (although I do have a sweet tooth too) but these look so yummy! My tummy is growing now. These look so good!

    1. I brought the leftovers to work and am happy to report they are equally well received at lunch time :P

  2. Ung. My tummy is hurting just looking at all of that. I haven't had cinnamon buns in so long, but now I want to eat like, 10 of them.

  3. Honestly, I am very proud of you for even ATTEMPTING this, but I look at this and think: nah, the can kind is just fine for me. Hah! I don't have a ton of patience! :) They look super yummy though, and if someone made them for me I'd gladly eat the whole pan! xo

    1. Haha!!! I promise, the instructions are long, but not complicated. The whole ordeal took some time, but it was sort of therapeutic. I think I have to try my hand at bread making, now that using active yeast turned out to be not so tough.


  4. It looks delicious! I'm also a cinnamon fan so I think I should try it someday (not a fan of the kitchen). haha

  5. I've nominated you for a Liebster award on my blog! x


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