Although the process of making a yeast dough, letting it rise overnight and then letting it rise again seemed daunting, I’m so happy I made these. Not only was the recipe so simple to follow, these are the best cinnamon buns I’ve tried to date, and my sentiments were affirmed by others.
I imagine that when Marie Antoinette said “Let them eat Brioche” she never imagined that one day, the classic french pastry would be re-imagined in new ways like this. The exquisitely delicate dough is the perfect foil for the spicy, sweet cinnamon filling and yields huge, fluffy buns which, when topped with vanilla bean cream cheese frosting, can’t get any more delicious.
Yields: 8 to 12 buns, depending on how you cut them
Why I love this recipe: instead of being heavy and dense, these buns are light and ethereal, thanks to a buttery, slow-rising brioche dough. A little bit of fresh nutmeg in the filling provides an extra kick (and as always, works beautifully with cinnamon) and the vanilla bean flavored frosting adds a slightly tangy component to these sweet buns.
For the dough:
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup warm whole milk
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast + a little pinch of sugar
- 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
For the filling:
- 3/4 dark brown sugar
- a few gratings of fresh nutmeg
- 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
For the frosting:
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or seeds
- Combine the warm water and warm milk in the bowl of a mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Sprinkle yeast and pinch of sugar (which helps the yeast proof) over the water and milk and stir until dissolved. Let stand until yeast proofs, about 10 minutes.
- Add flour and salt to yeast mixture. Blend at medium-low speed until shaggy lumps form, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Beat in sugar.
- Increase mixer speed to medium; beat until dough is smooth, about 3 minutes.
- Reduce speed to low. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until blended after each addition, about 4 minutes, until dough is silky. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and climbs paddle, 8 to 9 minutes.
- Lightly butter large bowl. Scrape dough into bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
- Gently deflate dough by lifting around edges, then letting dough fall back into bowl, turning bowl and repeating as needed. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and chill, deflating dough in same way every 30 minutes until dough stops rising, about 2 hours. Chill overnight.
- In the morning, mix together brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon. Melt the butter. Set aside.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and roll out into a long rectangle. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with filling, until the dough is covered.
- Tightly roll the dough back over the filling from one short end to the other, forming a 12 inch log. With a smooth knife, gently saw 2 inch segments off the log and place each in a prepared round pan.
- Place in warm draft-free area; lay light towel over. Let dough rise until light and almost doubled, 1 hour.
- Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Place round pan on center rack.
- Bake buns until golden brown, covering with foil if browning too quickly, about 17-20 minutes. Transfer pan to rack. Let cool for 10 minutes.
- Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla bean seeds in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Spread glaze on buns. Serve warm or directly from the oven. No one will judge you.