Ahh cinnamon buns. I don't know of a more fragrant excuse to eat sugar in the morning. I stumbled across this recipe on Nicole's Baking Bites blog. Yes, the blog responsible for my gorging on baked pumpkin puddings. This is the perfect recipe for anyone who doesn't want to deal with rolling out bread dough and still wants a yeasty cinnamon bun say for Christmas morning or the day after Thanksgiving. Anytime you need a special breakfast treat with minimal effort. In fact, while this isn't too hard to put together in the mornings I usually bake it the day before and serve it at room temperature in order to avoid burning my mouth with scalding sugar. Of course I could avoid burning my mouth if I allowed the thing to cool before serving myself a hunk but patience is still a virtue that eludes me.
Since I love cinnabon's take on the cinnamon roll I tweaked the filling and icing recipe to taste more like the super sized mall confection. I increased the cinnamon to 5 tablespoons and reduced the sugar slightly. My version also makes a 9x13x2" pan which is double the original recipe and believe me you'll be glad to have made the extras. Finally the icing became a rich cream cheese version similar to the cinnabon classic.
Cinnamon Bun Bread
adapted from Baking Bites
3 cups all purpose flour - can substitute part for white whole wheat flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 teaspoons active dry or rapid rise yeast
1 1/3 cups warm milk - 100-110 degrees
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons butter - softened or melted
1 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup powdered sugar
4 tablespoons cream cheese - 2 oz, softened
4 tablespoons butter - softened
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk, or enough to thin
Grease a 9x13x2 pan or if you're making half the recipe you can use an 8x8" square pan.
Today's secret ingredient. I love adding ground flax seed to baked items and I found this brand at Costco the other day which was super finely ground. Adds fiber and omega 3s which won't counteract all the sugar I'm about to add but hey, sneak in the benefits when able, right?
See that? The grain is about as finely milled as the sugar to the right. Whenever I add ground flax seed to a recipe for the first time I usually start off with 2-3 tablespoons and work my way up.
Place the flour, sugar, salt, ground flax seed if you wish, and yeast into a bowl.
Mix well. You can't even tell the flax seed is in there.
Then nuke your milk for about a minute to bring the temperature up to 100-110 degrees (slightly hotter than body temperature).
Add the oil, eggs and vanilla to the milk and beat them up.
Then pour into the dry ingredients and stir until smooth.
You end up with this beautiful enriched, golden batter/bread dough.
Pour the batter into your pan and spread it evenly. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
While the batter rests, let's make the filling. I usually melt my butter since I don't remember to let it soften on the counter.
To the melted butter, add the brown sugar and the cinnamon.
Give it a good stir and set that aside. This stuff smells so amazing you'll want to dab it on your pulse points.
Once the batter has rested plop bits of the filling evenly over the top. Now I shall refrain from obvious puns having to do with the appearance of the cinnamon plops.
Then take a knife and swirl the cinnamon filling up and down as well as side to side throughout the batter. Swirling it up and down ensures you don't end up with a sugar crust on top and plain batter on the bottom. It doesn't have to look artistic, better to evenly distribute and let it look a little homely. We can't all be beauty queens.
Place the pan in a cold, yes cold oven. Turn on the oven to 350 degrees and bake the cinnamon bun bread for 30 minutes or until it springs back when a finger is pressed lightly in the middle.
While the bread is baking we'll work on the icing. Start with softened butter and cream cheese. If you didn't remember to let it soften just microwave it for 30-45 seconds.
Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and lemon juice then mix well.
It will look slightly yellowish and a bit on the thick side. No worries, we're going to fix that.
Add enough milk until the icing resembles thin yogurt or thick heavy cream.
The icing will become a bit more pale and look absolutely luscious.
Pull the cinnamon bun bread from the oven. Mmmmm, pockets of cinnamon and brown sugar.
Typically instructions tell you to wait to frost cinnamon buns until they've cooled for a while. I find frosting them while hot allows the icing to meld with the bread so that's what I do. Just plop, pour or dump it on then smooth the icing all over the top.
Be still my heart.
A warm slice with gooey, tangy cream cheese icing over the top.
Of course I had to take a taste. Delicious. For a day like Christmas morning I would make the icing the night before, mix the filling as well and set out the mixed dry ingredients on the counter and the wet in the fridge. That way the morning of you just mix, pour and bake. Or you could bake it the day before. Either way works and either way you end up with a delicious breakfast without a floured counter.