Friday, January 16, 2009

Quick and easy cinnamon buns

Sunday morning breakfasts are usually the most decadent of the week in my home. It's the one day I can actually spend the time to make a special morning dish.

This week I decided to give cinnamon rolls a try. I've been wanting to make these for quite some time now, but haven't gotten around to it because of the immense time requirement. In looking for a recipe, I stumbled across two versions in my new copy of Baking Illustrated– one a traditional yeast-dough, the other a non-yeast quick version.

Cinnamon buns in one hour? My heart be still!

I just so happened to have every ingredient on hand with one exception. The icing calls for cream cheese and I was sadly lacking. So I went on a hunt for a cinnamon roll icing that sounded rich and dreamy but did not call for cream cheese. I found just the recipe I needed on the King Arthur Flour site.

Quick Cinnamon Buns
Source: Baking Illustrated
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, for greasing the pan

For the cinnamon-sugar filling:
3/4 cup packed (5 1/4 ounces) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

For the biscuit dough:
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for work surface
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Pour 1 tablespoon of the melted butter into a 9-inch nonstick cake pan; brush to coat the pan. Spray a wire cooling rack with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

For the cinnamon-sugar filling:
Combine the sugars, spices and salt in a small bowl. Add tablespoon of the melted butter and stir with a fork until the mixture resembles wet sand; set the filling mixture aside.

For the biscuit dough:
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter in a measuring cup or small bowl. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until the liquid is absorbed (the dough will look very shaggy), about 30 seconds. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until just smooth and no longer shaggy.

Pat the dough with your hand into a 12 by 9-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with the filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border of plain dough around the edges. Press the filling firmly into the dough. Using a bench scraper or metal spatula, loosen the dough from the work surface. Starting at the long side, roll the dough, pressing lightly, to form a tight log. Pinch the seam to seal. Roll the log seam-side down and cut it evenly into 8 pieces. With your hand, slightly flatten each piece of dough to seal the open edges and keep the filling in place. Place 1 roll in the center of the prepared nonstick pan, then place the remaining 7 rolls around the perimeter of the pan. Brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter.

Bake until the edges of the buns are golden brown, 23 to 25 minutes. Use and offset metal spatula to loosen the buns from the pan. Wearing oven mitts, place a large plate over the pan and invert the buns onto the plate. Place a greased cooling rack over the plate and invert the buns onto the rack. Cool about 5 minutes before icing.

Vanilla Glaze
Source: King Arthur Flour
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 to 5 tablespoons heavy cream

Combine the sugar, vanilla, and enough cream to make a spreadable icing. Slather on the cinnamon buns with a spatula.

While the texture may not be the same as yeasted cinnamon rolls, these are a great substitute. The flavor was perfect and the buns had a slight crunch to them that Matt thoroughly enjoyed. I do hope to try making the real thing soon, but in the meantime, I'm pretty happy with this version!


  1. I haven't had breakfast yet and this looks delicious (and easy to make)!

  2. Ok, one of the things that's been saving my weight from exploding is how long cinnamon buns take. I don't need this. Heh. Seriously though, those look awesome.

  3. Awesome find! I resort to those pop cans for cinnamon buns because unless I'm willing to get up at 2am, they'd never be ready for breakfast. These solve the problem.

  4. WOW.. cinnamon bun in an hour.. sounds too good to be true. I have to give it a go. Made one a couple months back, took me more than 6 hours with the proving and rising process. Thanks for sharing Holly. I'll let you know how mine goes.

  5. cinnamon buns in an hour does sound too good to be true! cinnamon buns are so sweet and fabulous for a weekend breakfast, but i hate how long they take! looks fabulous!

  6. My kids are crazy about cinnamon buns! I'm going to give this a try this weekend

  7. ltraider - let me know how they turn out!

  8. These look awesome! I'm going to have to try them for sure. Another EASY recipe is new from the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook. I won't ruin the surprise but these are NO DOUGH prep required! Just buttery and flaky and delicious!

  9. Those look perfect, and so quick too! Nice job.

    Thanks for adding us as a friend on Foodbuzz. We welcome you to come visit our site!

  10. This is a posting of the Cooks Illustrated quick and easy cinnamon buns. They are very good for non-yeasted, the flavor is amazing. They take me an hour to prepare, but I'm probably slow :)

  11. I found this blog while searching the internet for easy cinnamon rolls. I decided to follow your recipe above and they turned out fantastic! I made them for my husband for Father's Day and he was impressed. I loved how they had a crunchiness to them and sugar/cinnamon mix on the bottom. They were easier than I thought they would be. Thanks for sharing your recipes!