It’s winter vacation and I am feeling quite spent from the bustle of the past several months. Getting the dance school up and running and taking care of my two-year-old have left me a little short on witty and humorous stories to share with you all. Luckily these cinnamon buns stand on their own quite well without a lot of introduction. They are delicious; sweet and orange-scented with just the right amount of cinnamon and sugar, but without the gooey stickiness that makes some cinnamon buns more of a dessert than a breakfast. I used half whole wheat flour (next time I would try whole wheat pastry flour, for a slightly lighter finished product) and substituted vegan margarine for the butter, which worked very well. You can make these buns the night before and bake them in the morning, which is nice since it won’t feel like you just slaved over them right before eating, and their aroma will definitely get late risers out of bed.
Cinnamon Buns, Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking
I halved the original recipe and made about 10 buns. Feel free to double this if you are feeding a crowd.
For the dough:
2 1/2 tsp dry active yeast (or one package)
1/2 cup whole milk/soy milk, heated to warm (no hotter than 115 F)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 medium eggs (I’m sure large would be fine)
2 1/2- 3 cups flour (I suggest a combination of all-purpose and whole wheat pastry)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
grated zest of 1/2 a smallish orange (no more than 3/4 tsp)
1/4 cup (2 oz) unsalted butter or vegan margarine, at room temp
For the Filling and egg glaze:
3 Tbs granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbs melted butter/vegan margarine
For the Vanilla Glaze (optional, I did not make this. But I am sure it would be yummy)
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 oz (2 Tbs) heavy cream/soy milk/soy creamer
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the granulated sugar, salt, pepper, zest, eggs, butter and 1-2 cups of the flour. Mix by hand or in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, on low speed, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the remaining flour in small increments until the dough pulls away from the sides of bowl. Knead with dough hook or on the counter for 7-10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a well-oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2-2 hours.
Meanwhile stir the cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and set the butter in a small saucepan (or microwavable bowl) for melting.
When the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll it out into a 10 x 16 inch rectangle and brush the surface with melted butter/margarine. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Beginning with the long side farthest from you, roll up the rectangle toward you into a log.
Cut the log crosswise into about 10 slices, each ~ 2 inches thick. Nestle the slices, cut side up into a 9 inch square cake pan, lined with parchment paper.
Now you have two choices: You can either preheat the oven to 400 F, and let the buns rise for 30-40 minutes, then bake then for 20-25 minutes. Or, you can let them rise slowly in the fridge overnight and then set them on the counter for 30 minutes and bake as described.
Let the rolls cool slightly on rack before brushing with the combined glaze ingredients. Serve warm.