I’ve lived my whole life in the city. Born and raised in the middle of all the bustling and hustling of the busy streets. You learn to live your life in a rush, always needing to be on time while trying to avoid the suffocating traffic. Sometimes an escape is really needed. Somewhere you can go where the lifestyle is mellow. A day in the country is something that is definitely not over-rated, being among green grass, swaying fruit trees and a refreshing breeze is something that everyone can benefit from.
Now let’s imagine this; sitting in a little cafe, somewhere in the country side of Northern Europe, with a book in your lap, a nice cup of coffee, and a fresh baked cinnamon bun, oozing with sweetness. A perfectly rolled bun that reveals its cinnamon and sugar layers as you unwind it, and a glistening sugar glaze topping it. Sounds like heaven, no?
Lately, I’ve been dying for such an escape. Just to leave everything I know here behind, go somewhere far away, and get lost in the streets and landscapes. You know this struggle you feel when you can’t exactly tell where you belong? Maybe it comes from living in the same place for too long, but sometimes you need to get away to understand it all, figure everything out.
I figured that if I can’t have that escape, for now at least, I can bring part of it to me. As much as I hate working with yeast-leavened dough, I just had to have that cinnamon smell fill the house. Knowing that I had my Kitchen Aid, newly bought (yay), I didn’t worry much about the kneading process. Turns out it’s one of the easiest dough you can ever make.
Waiting for it to rise was a process worth waiting for. I spent that time catching up on Boy Meets World (a blast into my 90’s). And the result was more than pleasing. But my laziness kicked in as soon as I got the second batch in the oven, so I skipped the glaze part. I had a caramelized walnut topping in mind, but I couldn’t make myself get off the couch and do it. But you wouldn’t feel like anything is missing, they were just the perfect buns. (Do I have to mention that I forgot to brush their tops? No? Good!)
Yields around 18 buns
For the dough:
- 1 cup milk
- 45 grams unsalted butter
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (or 1 envelope) instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling:
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- Using a microwave or stove, heat the milk and butter up until the butter melts and is lukewarm.
- In a large bowl, combine the milk and butter mixture, 1 cup flour, sugar, egg, yeast, salt, and vanilla. Mix with a wooden spoon until well incorporated. Add the rest of the flour and mix until a sticky dough forms. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour. If you have a stand mixer you can just use that. Form the dough into a ball. If you don’t, knead it on a lightly floured surface for about 8 minutes.
- Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough into the bowl, turning to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then a kitchen towel. Let dough rise in a warm spot for about 2 hours.
- To test if the dough is ready, stick your finger in about 1/4-inch. If the indent stays, you’re ready to move on. If not, cover and let rise for a longer amount of time.
- For the filling, mix together the brown sugar and the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Punch (or lightly press) down the dough. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and roll out to a rectangle.
- Spread the butter evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the longer end (the side that is 15 inches). Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the dough.
- Starting on the longer side, start rolling the dough into a log.
- Pinch together the seams at the end. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 18 almost equal pieces. ( I got 20 pieces)
- Lightly grease two square 8-inch or 9-inch pans (or even a 9-inch round cake pan). Divide the rolls evenly between the pans, cut side up. Cover the baking pans with a towel and let rise again for 45-60 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180° C. Brush the buns with an egg wash (lightly beaten egg) and bake until the tops are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and immediately invert onto a cooling rack. Turn the rolls right-side up.
N.B. To make the glaze,
For the glaze:
- 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3-4 tablespoons milk
combine the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Slowly add the milk until a runny consistency is achieved. Pour the glaze over the cinnamon rolls, and spread around. Serve immediately.
Bon Appetit 🙂