One Sunday I turned on PBS, and was immediately enraptured by Cook's Country. It wasn't so much the program - it was what they were making: Ultimate Cinnamon Buns. Big Daddy and I settled into the sofa, and watched, mouths ajar, as they whipped together the biggest, fluffiest, most delightful looking breakfast treat. I immediately printed out the recipe, and have been plotting a good time to test it out.
There are a lot of bad cinnamon rolls out there. From the mundane (Pillsbury) to the mediocre (Cinnabon), cinnamon buns are an indulgence that I have previously been intimidated by. About 2 years ago, I found a delightful recipe in Bon Appetit, and happily used that for a while. This recipe makes a good, solid cinnamon roll. Good cinnamon rolls take time, and because I am both lazy and hungry in the morning, I prefer to make them the night before, then pop in the oven once I awake the next day.
But last night, with a free weekday looming and a full moon luminescent in the night sky (that moon makes a girl do crazy things), I decided it was the perfect time to take those Buns for a test drive. They were everything I have ever hoped for in a cinnamon bun: the dough was smooth, malleable, and elastic. The buns themselves were pillowy, flaky, and with exactly the right amount of cinnamon + sweet. Paired with an icy glass of milk, these made a delightful - and filling - start to our morning.
Cholesterol beware: these babies have 12 tbs. of butter in the dough. I plan to make them no more than twice a year (Christmas morning, Big Daddy's birthday), and my love handles are already thanking me.
Ultimate Cinnamon Buns
From the episode: Rise and Shine, Cook's Country TV
3/4 cup whole milk, heated to 110 degrees
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) instant or rapid-rise yeast
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
12 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbs. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1. For the dough: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When the oven reaches 200 degrees, shut off. Line 13-by-9-inch baking pan with foil, allowing excess foil to hang over pan edges. Grease foil and medium bowl.
2. Whisk milk and yeast in measuring cup until yeast dissolves, then whisk in eggs. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook, mix flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt until combined. With mixer on low, add warm milk mixture in steady stream and mix until dough comes together, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium, and add butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated. Continue to mix until dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. Turn dough out onto clean surface and knead to form a smooth, round ball. Transfer dough to prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in warm oven. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
3. For the filling: Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in small bowl. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Roll dough into 18-inch square, spread with butter, and sprinkle evenly with filling. Starting with the edge nearest you, roll dough into tight cylinder, pinch lightly to seal seam, and cut into 8 pieces. Transfer pieces, cut-side up, to prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm spot until doubled in size.
4. For the glaze, and to bake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk cream cheese, milk, vanilla, and confectioner's sugar on medium bowl until smooth. Discard plastic wrap and bake buns until deep golden brown and filling is melted, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and top buns with 1/2 cup glaze. Cool 30 minutes. Using foil overhang, lift buns from pan and top with remaining glaze. Serve.
Make ahead: After transferring pieces to prepared pan in step 3, buns can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for 24 hours. When ready to bake, let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Remove plastic wrap and continue with step 4 as directed.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go jog around the block 1,216 times to burn off this scrumptious treat.