Monday, November 07, 2011

Cinnamon Buns

I had a craving last week that was pretty much driving me insane. Two words: cinnamon buns. There was nothing I wanted more than a warm, fragrant cinnamon bun. A big, fat one. Glazed, of course. The only problem was that the craving hit at around 10PM. No yeast in the house, no raisins and no shops open in the neighborhood to run to. I had no choice but to go to bed dreaming of the buns I would be making the next morning.
For me, baking up a batch of cinnamon buns has a certain 'forbidden fruit' factor. The thing with them is that they're too darn irresistible. If I make cinnamon buns, I can't just make one, which pretty much means that I will undoubtedly be tempted to eat way more than I should. And no, they don't sell proper cinnamon buns here, so it's not like I can go buy one, satisfy my craving and move on. But I'm all for being naughty and I am a firm believer in the philosophy behind life is to short...
The next morning I get to the shops, buy my ingredients and start working some cinnamony magic. I knead the soft, aromatic dough and patiently wait for it to rise. Then I roll it out and fill it with a mix of raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon. Little buns are formed by rolling the dough into a long sausage and then cutting it into even pieces. More rising time and I'm getting more and more impatient, especially when the buns go in the oven and their scent teases me without mercy. But the reward is sweet. Make them and tell me if you agree...

Cinnamon Buns
Approximately 16 buns
For the dough:
225 ml full- fat milk
80g butter
1 ½  tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
550g flour, plus extra for the kneading and rolling
2 ½ tsps active dry yeast
80g caster sugar
½  tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
For the filling:
40g melted butter
100g light brown sugar
100g raisins
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
For the glaze:
70g icing sugar
2 tsps boiling water

In a small pan, heat the milk and the butter until the butter is melted. Take the pan off the heat, add the vanilla and let cool to lukewarm. Whisk in the beaten eggs. In a big bowl, mix the flour, yeast, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the cooled milk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well with a floured wooden spoon. Flour your hands and dig into the bowl, kneading the dough inside the bowl. The dough will be sticky, so keep your hands well- floured! Of course, you can also do it the easy way and use a standing mixer, like a Kitchen Aid. Transfer the dough to a well- floured surface and knead it there for a further five minutes if you're doing it by hand, and an extra minute if your dough was kneaded with a machine. Sprinkle the dough with more flour as necessary. Form the dough into a ball. Wash out your bowl and rinse it with hot water, dry it and sprinkle some flour both in the bowl and on your dough. Return the dough to the bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a tea cloth. Set the bowl in a warm place and allow it to rise for 2 hours. Punch down your dough and knead it on a floured surface for about a minute. Roll it out to a rectangle of about 27 X 40cm. Brush half of the melted butter over the whole surface of the dough. Make the topping by combining the sugar, raisins and cinnamon in a small bowl. Divide this mixture over the buttered dough. Roll the dough from the long side and slice it into 16 even pieces. Line a 26 X 37 rectangular baking tin with baking paper (leaving a little hanging over the edge) and place the buns in the pan. Brush the buns with the remaining butter. Cover the tin with plastic wrap and the tea towel. Allow the buns to rise for additional 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C. Pop the cinnamon rolls in the oven for 30 minutes. Check half way through to see if they are not getting too brown. Cover wth foil if necessary! Set the tin on a rack to cool slightly. Remove the rolls from the baking tin by lifting them up with the baking paper. Make the glaze by whisking the sugar with the water. Drizzle the glaze over the buns. Enjoy!


Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane said...

I can certainly identify, and good homemade cinnamon buns are fabulous.

I give in to my craving for homemade Dutch appeltaart, or apple tort,once or twice in the fall of each year. I ahve the same problem you have: I can't buy a piece where I live (in Moldova) and making an appeltaart means I have 8 or 10 servings sitting around begging to be eaten!

Paola said...

Haha! I know what you mean. All for the sake of being deliciously naughty once in a while!