“Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven is a friend for life.”
Lemony Snicket, When Did You See Her Last?
This week I’m making ooey-gooey cinnamon buns. I’m pretty stoked since it’ll give me a chance to use my mixer again; and to use my dough hook attachment for the first time. Although I’ve never made cinnamon buns as an adult I do remember making them with my mom as a child. I remember the sweet-sour smell of the yeast, the feeling of the oiled ball of dough in my hands and the joy of sprinkling the cinnamon, sugar and raisins on top before rolling it up. Oh yes, and being told we must be VERY quiet for an hour or two in order for the dough to rise. In retrospect, I think the need for silence may have been exaggerated by my mother.
Finding a well reviewed cinnamon bun recipe on Allrecipes.com, I pick up a few missing ingredients from the grocery store. Since the buns take 3 hours – and I’m hoping to enjoy them for breakfast – I get up at 6 am and head straight to the kitchen. (What weird universe is this?!) I pre measure my ingredients into little bowls. (Better to measure it out now than to get flustered later trying to remember how much I’ve put in).
I start by mixing the sugar and yeast in warm water and letting it sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile I warm some milk in a saucepan, add in sugar, butter and salt and mix until melted. Once cooled, the milk mix, yeast mix, eggs and some of the flour go into the mixing bowl. I start the mixer at the lowest speed and slowly add 4 cups of flour, about half a cup at a time. Once all the flour is incorporated I turn the mixer up to speed 2 and let the dough hook work the dough for 5 minutes, adding just a bit more flour to grab the dough stuck to the bottom of the bowl.
Next I place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning it to coat and cover it with a damp cloth. I place the bowl in a warm spot near the stove to rise for 1 hour. While the dough is rising, I put on some Classic Rock Savasana, a yoga-classic rock Songza mix, which I imagine will be conducive to rising. (I’m not buying that these buns needs silence, I think they’ll appreciate a little music to work by).
Meanwhile I melt a portion of the butter and stir in some brown sugar. I pour the sugar / butter mix into an oiled pan and sprinkle some pecan pieces on top. Next, you’re supposed to melt some butter and set it aside and then mix sugar / cinnamon / pecans and set that aside. Instead I mistakenly put it all in the pot together (oops). But it’s not the end of the world; rather than brushing the dough with butter and sprinkling the dry mix on I’ll just spread my buttery mix right on to the dough. I add some raisins into the mix too, cuz what the heck, cinnamon buns need raisins!
An hour later the dough has nearly doubled in size and now it’s time to move to the next step. I place the dough on my lightly floured table top and roll it out into a large rectangle. I spread the butter / sugar / cinnamon / pecan / raisin mix on top.
Starting at the long edge, I roll the dough up tightly into a long tube, pinching the edge to seal it. Once rolled, I brush it with melted butter and cut the roll into 12 pieces, which I place cut side down onto the butter / sugar / pecan mix in the bottom of the pan. It’s time for some new music so I change to Blogged 50 (a pop / rock / indie Songza mix), which frankly I’ve listened to way too much; but the buns have never heard it and I imagine they’ll dig the lively, indie vibe. The buns will now proof a second time, growing to tightly pack the pan, their buttery edges pressing up against each other.
After an hour, they’re done proofing and it’s time to put them into the oven for 25-30 minutes while I sit back and enjoy a whiskey coffee and savour the spicy-sweet smell that fills the house. Once the buns are done, I pull them out of the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before flipping them upside down on to a cookie sheet. After a quick photo shoot (the buns are very down to earth and approachable; not divas at all) we sit down to eat. The ooey-gooey cinnamon buns are perfectly tender with just a bit of chewiness imparted by the raisins, pecans and sugar-butter glaze.
Now if you’ll excuse me, my whiskey coffee is getting cold and I have like 10 more cinnamon buns to eat.