Happy New Year!

Incredibly the holidays have already passed by and we are back to our normal day-to-day.  Emma pointed this out on Sunday morning when she asked for me to take the reindeer sheets off of her bed and bring back her “non-Christmas” sheets. Once I convinced her that it wasn’t urgent to remove all signs of the holidays that very moment, I asked her what she’d like for breakfast. “Sweet buns,” she replied without hesitation.

Emma’s introduction to sweet buns (aka cinnamon buns) was back when we were travelling with her in England. She was almost two, and won the hearts of all who met her, including Claire, the wonderful woman helped us with our breakfast every morning over a two-week stay. One morning, Emma admired the selection of baked goods on the table and wanted to try a cinnamon bun. After consuming two that morning, there was no turning back. Whatever else we had for breakfast, she always had room for another sweet bun.

I’ve always had a sweet spot for cinnamon buns. They’ve been a part of my food weaknesses for as long as I can remember.  My father used to head out weekly early Saturday mornings to the city market and he would always return with fresh cinnamon buns from one of the bakeries. Also, my mother made excellent ones as well when my brother and I were growing up, so really, it was just a matter of time before I was spurred into adding a recipe for them into my own repertoire.

Admittedly though, I’ve been weary of baking them myself – I always have considered the time commitment in making them too great to justify and instead have always opted to purchased them. And then, after a little poking around over the holidays, I stumbled upon a recipe on Fine Cooking for Fastest Cinnamon Buns. No yeast. Ready to eat in about 45 min. Not possible! And yet, I was intrigued. Intrigued enough to try them Christmas morning.

About 30 minutes before everyone woke up, I zipped down into the kitchen and pulled all of the ingredients and began to mix them together. I was impressed – and a bit surprised that I dirtied my stand mixer for no reason. Anyhow, into the oven they went and once cooling, I quickly combined some icing sugar and milk for the glaze.

Four of us managed to eat them all, save one before lunchtime.  I’ve made them since and have done them by hand or with the stand mixer depending on my mood, reduced the amount of butter (accidentally) and added raisins (well, on half. I really dislike them but Emma *loves* them).

Cinnamon Sweet Buns
adapted from: Fine Cooking
Serves 8-12 buns (depending on how thick you cut)

Cinnamon Buns

The rolls:

  • 3/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have any, regular or skim milk will do)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins and/or chopped walnuts (optional)
The glaze:
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 to 3 tbsp milk

Heat the oven to 400F. (No really, this is quick so you should do it before you start!) Lightly butter the bottom and sides of an 8 inch cake pan or an 8×10-inch rectangular pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  Put aside.  In a large bowl, using a fork, breakup the curds of the cottage cheese and then mix in the buttermilk, sugar, 3 1/2 tablespoons of butter and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and keep mixing until it forms clumps. Then scrape the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times until it is smooth. (You can also do this in a stand mixer instead. Using a dough hook, knead until dough comes together into a soft ball.)

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle with a lightly floured rolling-pin until it is approximately 1 cm (~1/2″) thick. Using a pastry brush, spread the remaining butter onto the dough. Next sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over the buttered part of the dough. Press lightly into the dough. Sprinkle the raisins or nuts over the sugar and cinnamon if using them.

Starting with a long edge of your dough rectangle, roll up the dough. Using a sharp knife, cut into 8-12 equal sized slices. Place them, cut side facing up, into your prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 min until golden brown. Let cool for 5 min and remove them to a serving platter.

If desired, while the buns are cooling, combine the icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk in a small bowl. Add more milk until your preferred consistency is reached. Drizzle over top of the cinnamon buns and serve.

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