Cinnamon buns may be the perfect breakfast treat. Fluffy sweet dough rolled up with brown sugar and cinnamon and topped off with cream cheese frosting. Is there anything better? Cinnamon buns are one of those amazing treats that I love, but certainly don’t let myself make too often. Not exactly on the healthy side, but they are top on my list of things to make if we have company over for brunch. You can make them ahead of time and everyone loves them.
Although apparently not everyone loves raisins in them. I just don’t understand that. My Grandma would always make the best cinnamon buns with raisins so that’s how I’ve always had them, but the first time I added raisins my husband looked at me like I was insane. He couldn’t believe that I would ruin cinnamon buns that way. He’s wrong, raisins make them better. But I make half without for him now, I’m nice like that. What do you think, raisins or no raisins? Who’s right?!
As with any yeast bread, these cinnamon buns do take a bit of planning, but the actual dough is very easy to mix up, especially if you have a stand mixer, and it’s a very easy dough to work with. It rolls out easily, and after you fill, roll, and cut them, you can put the pan of buns in the fridge to retard overnight or up to 2 days before proofing and baking.
- 5½ tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 3½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1⅛ to 1¼ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
- 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup raisins (optional)
- 2 oz (57 g, ¼ of a package) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1¼ cups powdered sugar
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together the butter, salt, and sugar. Add the egg and mix until smooth. Switch to the dough hook on a stand mixer (or a wooden spoon if mixing by hand), and add the flour, yeast and 1⅛ cups of the buttermilk. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together into a ball and clears the sides of the bowl.
- Knead for 10-12 minutes (12-15 if kneading by hand) until the dough is smooth and silky, a bit tacky but not sticky at all. If it’s very sticky, add a bit more flour, a tablespoon at a time, if it’s very dry and not coming together add a bit more buttermilk, a tablespoon at a time. Move the dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Allow it to rise for about 2 hours until it doubles in size.
- In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside. Punch down the risen dough and turn it out onto a lightly oiled counter. Roll it out to about ½ inch thick rectangle, about 12 by 14 inches. With a rubber spatula, spread the softened butter over the dough, leaving ¼ inch space around the edges. Spread the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly over the butter. Sprinkle raisins over the sugar if using. Starting from one long side, roll the dough up into a log, keeping it even as you roll. Pinch the seam closed with your fingers and lay the log seam side down on the counter. Using a serrated knife, slice the log into 12 even pieces. Place the cinnamon buns in a 9x13 inch pan and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
- At this point, you can either refrigerate the buns for up to 2 days, pulling them out 3-4 hours before baking to let them proof, or let them proof (rise) at room temperature immediately for about 90 minutes, or until the the buns have doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, with a rack in the middle of the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until they are golden brown.
- While the buns are baking, make the cream cheese frosting. With an electric mixer (or a stand mixer) whip the butter and cream cheese until combined. Mix in the vanilla. Then add the powdered sugar in 3 additions, mixing well after each addition. Whip the frosting until light and fluffy. Set aside, covered tightly with plastic wrap.
- When the cinnamon buns are finished baking, allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then spread with the cream cheese frosting. Serve warm. Keep any leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator, they reheat well in the microwave.
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