December 14, 2002
Cinnamon Buns
posted by Nadia


Mmm... buns ....
The story of these cinnamon buns is that they were intended to be a congratulatory surprise for me when I came home from my First Amendment exam. Alas, when Carl set out to make them, he was desperately in need of ingredients and had to go the supermarket before doing anything. By the time he was done shopping, there wasn't enough time to let the dough rise. So I returned home from my exam to a -- surprise! -- cookbook on my desk, open to the cinnamon buns page. While I didn't get magic cinnamon buns, I did manage to avoid a trip to the supermarket, which for me is just as good.

Instead, Carl and I made the buns together when I got home. We used Mark Bittman's recipe, which we had tried once before, and let the dough rise overnight in the fridge so we could have them fresh the next morning. All went relatively well, and the buns were lovely coming out of the oven. Carl even made some frosting -- and while I can't say I approved of the idea at the time, I ended up having some and sheepishly admitting it was good.

The only problem with these cinnamon buns is that they tend to dry out pretty quickly. If you eat the whole lot of them just as they come out of the oven (and believe me, it's possible), this isn't a problem. But if they sit for a few hours or overnight, they become pretty dry and stale ... which, of course, can be fixed by microwaving them and/or smearing them with icing. Perhaps next time I'll try using more butter, both in the dough and in the filling/topping. If anyone out there has a foolproof recipe for moist (but not too sweet) cinnamon buns, I am all ears.


Mark Bittman's Basic Cinnamon Rolls

In food processer with steel blade, combine:
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup sugar.
Pulse for 5 seconds. Then add:
2 Tb. butter
1 egg
and 1/2 cup milk, drizzling in slowly
Process until dough ball forms, then knead dough until smooth and elastic. Place in a buttered bowl, let rise until doubled (at least 2 hours).
After rising, roll out dough into 1/2 inch-thich rectangle. Brush liberally with melted butter, spread with a mixture of 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. Roll it up, seal the edges, and cut into 1- to 1-1/2- inch slices. Place individually in muffin tin or nestled together in round cake pan (Nadia notes: nestled snugly tastes better; they get too crispy in muffin tins), and let rise about 1 hour longer. Brush with additional butter and sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar, bake in 400-degree oven for about 20-25 minutes

Cream Cheese Icing

8 tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup (2 oz) cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2-4 tbs cream (optional)

Mix all the ingredients except for the cream together in a medium bowl until fluffy. If it's too thick for your tastes, add some of the cream. Try not to eat it all before getting it onto the cinnamon buns.