Cinnamon Buns

Everyone likes cinnamon buns, and I usually make Alton Brown’s recipe. They’re a hit at every gathering. They have a pretty classic flavor with a cream cheese icing on top. When I saw that The Art and Soul of Baking had a maple syrup topping, I knew I had to give this alternative a try.

cinnamon buns

One thing you need to make sure to do is manage your time right. This dough takes time, but it’s well worth the wait. It is moist and buttery, much better than the bread-like versions I’ve tasted. I made the dough on Tuesday morning and refrigerated it until Tuesday evening. On Tuesday evening I made the topping and filling, shaped the rolls, proofed and refrigerated. I woke up somewhat early and baked the buns on Wednesday morning and served hot, fresh sticky buns to my happy colleagues.

The great thing about this dough is that it can be used for a bunch of different fillings.

Ingredients for dough:

  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, very soft
  1. Combine the yeast, milk and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk by hand. Let sit until it bubbles (5-10 minutes). Add the egg and yolk and whisk by hand until blended. Stir in the flour and salt with a rubber spatula. Attach the dough hook and knead on low for 2 minutes. Increase to medium and knead for another minute. With the mixture running, add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each to blend in before adding the next.
  2. Oil a tub or bowl , add dough and brush with flour. Cover with plastic or a damp towel and let the dough rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. [The dough can be punched down and refrigerated overnight – just wrap loosely in plastic.]

making dough mixing add the butter

Make the topping –

  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  1. Mix all ingredients in the stand mixer on medium until smooth, about 3 minutes. Pour into a 10-inch round cake pan.
  2. Punch down the dough and flour the work surface and the top of the dough. Roll the dough into a 10×16 inch rectangle (with the long edge parallel to the work surface).

making the topping

Make the filling –

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Mix all ingredients in the stand mixer for 2-3 minutes until smooth and slightly lightened. Spread over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the top edge.
  2. Shape the buns by rolling the dough into a cylinder, starting with the long edge closest to you and rolling away from you. Wet your fingers and rub a thin layer of water on the empty edge to make the dough stick to itself. Seal the seam and turn the seam down.
  3. Cut into 10 equal pieces, then turn each cut side up and smash lightly. Place evenly in prepared baking pan.
  4. Proof the dough – cover the pan with plastic wrap (loosely) and let sit for 45 minutes to 1 hour. [Alternatively, let rise for only 20 minutes and then refrigerate the dough overnight. Take them out and bake them fresh in the morning.] Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30-35 minutes. If you refrigerated the buns overnight, let them warm up on the counter before putting them in the oven. You may also need to bake them for a few minutes longer.

refrigerate bake them flip them

I made these in a regular baking pan the first time and the tested them out in a muffin tin.

muffins yum

The ones that were cooked together were much moister and maple-y-er (that’s a word). But the muffin buns, although not so sticky, were still delicious.

Which topping do you prefer for your cinnamon buns – maple brown sugar or cream cheese?