Disclaimer: I previously said I’d be cooking healthier–I am, seriously I am–and I know these cinnamon buns are far from that. But I’m not the only one who lives in our home. I’ve got to indulge the husband and the kids once in a while don’t I?
Cinnamon buns, cinnamon buns … who can resist a cinnamon bun? The minute I heard the kids’ school would be closed due to another bout of snow here in New York City, my thoughts turned to baking something sweet, doughy and oh so cinnamony for breakfast. Actually, that’s not entirely true: my first thought was, “I would really like to drop them off at school regardless of what weather Mother Nature has in store for us.” You see, we were just coming off a long weekend of both kids suffering from croup and missing school that Monday and now they [our private school] were telling me I had to keep them home on Wednesday too.
So, my second thought was that we’d need something sweet, doughy and oh so cinnamony for breakfast. And once that thought entered my head, I quickly clicked over to Foodbuzz and typed cinnamon buns in the search bar. It was only a matter of seconds before I landed on this site, Cake Duchess, which just so happened to have a post on cinnamon buns up. And, well, it was only just a couple of seconds later that I was salivating over those gooey, chewy buns in Cake Duchess’ photos … they looked so darn good!
Next morning (once the snow had stopped falling) I woke up bright and early (7 am is early enough for me on a non-school day), looked out the window and … heck the snow didn’t look that bad … did the kids really need to stay home from school again? Come on, 9 to 10 inches isn’t that bad. The public schools were braving it so why the heck couldn’t we? But I digress … and since the Play Doh’s been played with and cleaned up, the train tracks have been put away, the crayons and construction paper are back in place, the DVDs are once again tucked into their drawer under the television and the kids are back in school today I’ll just move on.
Back to the cinnamon buns. I swear nothing smells nearly as good as these buns baking in the oven. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! And this was one of the easiest cinnamon bun doughs I’ve worked with. I followed Cake Duchess’ recipe–for the most part (you’ll see my changes below)–and taking into consideration that all cinnamon buns require a good amount of prep time, these were quick to put together and worth every minute I spent waiting for them to rise. The recipe produces anywhere from 12 to 14 buns (I placed 12 amongst two 9-inch cake pans but two buns came out extraordinarily large) that rise effortlessly and boast perfect texture.
To Greekify these buns, I simply played around with the filling by substituting the white sugar with thyme-honey and then adding some ground mastiha (mastic) to the cinnamon filling for a hint of this distinctive flavor. If you’d like to try some Mastiha (mastic) in your buns, head on over to MastihaShop NY to find some!
Cinnamon Buns (Adapted from a recipe by Cake Duchess)
Makes 12 to 14 buns
For the Dough:
1 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
4 1/2-5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup thyme honey
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
3 mastic crystals, finely ground
Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and let stand until cooled to room temperature. Meanwhile, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water in a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, the eggs and butter. Beat in cooled milk. Gradually add the 4 1/2 cups flour and salt, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until a soft dough forms.
Knead the dough, adding more flour if too sticky, for about 10 minutes until smooth. Grease the bowl (bottom and sides). Cover with plastic wrap, top with a kitchen towel and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Prepare the filling: Mix the butter, the honey, the brown sugar, mastiha and cinnamon together in a medium-size bowl; set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch round baking pans with margarine or shortening. Line bottoms with parchment paper and grease paper as well.
Uncover dough and punch it down. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to an 18 x 12-inch rectangle. Spread the butter mixture over the dough and begin (with the long side facing you) rolling up the dough. Pinch the ends to close then begin cutting the roll into 12 or so generous 1 1/2-inch pieces. Arrange 6 pieces in each prepared pan. Cover baking pan with plastic wrap, top with a kitchen towel and let sit in a warm spot until buns double in size, about 30 to 45 minutes. Uncover pan and bake for about 40 minutes until golden. (If not baking second pan immediately, cover the buns with plastic wrap (prior to letting them rise) and refrigerate for up to a day.)
Remove pan from oven and place on a wire rack. To glaze the buns, combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar with a tablespoon of milk and stir until smooth. Spread the glaze over the hot buns and serve immediately … they’re too good not to!