Teaching myself to cook, one recipe at a time.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Icing

Hubby got this recipe from a coworker, whose wife had made these for some event at work. The cinnamon buns were so good that he didn’t give up until he got this recipe emailed to him.


I made it not long after. My memories of doing it are (a) time-intensive, (b) delicious, and (c) the icing was so sweet and the buns so full of sugar and deliciousness that just one bun was plenty… but that the experience of that one cinnamon bun was mind-blowing. Warm, gooey, cinnamon-sweet, just sinfully perfect.

Side note: I just learned shortcuts to random emoticons. Typing (a) gets you Angel and typing (b) gets you Mug. Who knew? Of course, typing (c) gets you ©, but everyone knew that.

Anyway, as I mentioned in a previous post, my brother and sister-in-law stayed with us last weekend. As I saw it, this was a perfect excuse to indulge. So, one morning I got up early with the dogs and got to work.

First, dissolve a tablespoon of active yeast in warm milk. This is about 0.5 ounces, or 2 packets.


Just one problem….


Yeah, my yeast was “best if used by Oct. 2009.” It’s April 2011. I couldn’t believe it had been that long since I made real bread, the kind that you knead and let rise and knead again. How much life and rising power does yeast lose with time? Honestly, I have no idea. I do remember one failed attempt to make a bread that was in a children’s cookbook that I had years ago, and that bread didn’t rise at all, but I always figured that it was more due to my interpretation of “1 packet of yeast” as being a sprinkling from the jar that my mom kept in the fridge, but in retrospect that was probably old yeast, too. Anyway, at this point, I was skeptical that the dough would rise at all, but I had already psyched myself up and made coffee, so I decided to throw an extra packet of yeast into the warm milk and just go with it.

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, melted butter, salt, and eggs.


Add a bunch of all-purpose flour (plus the milk and yeast mixture), and you end up with a sticky lump of dough. I was out of clean mixing bowls so I used a punch bowl and pretended I was being fancy. Dust it with flour and roll the dough in it.


Cover it and set it aside, giving it time to rise.


After an hour, the dough didn’t look like it had come even close to doubling in size. Uh oh. But I didn’t want to wait longer. Extra time wouldn’t make much of a difference at this point. Next step: roll it into a big rectangle with a rolling pin (I had to add lots of flour, since it was so sticky!), and then smother it with butter. Hey, I said this was sinful, not healthy!


After the dough is thoroughly covered in butter, sprinkle on a mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon.


And then roll it up into a long log.


Slice it into 12 equal pieces, putting six in each pan.


Then cover them and let them rise again. I found that the ones resting on the warm oven rose more than those in the pan that was on the counter, but none of them rose nearly as much as I had hoped.


Anyway, pop them in a 400-degree oven for 10 minutes. While they’re baking, whip up a quick icing with butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and a touch of salt.


And then finally, you take the cinnamon buns out of the oven, smother in icing, and dig in.


All said and done, they didn’t rise as much as they were supposed to, but they were still absolutely yummy. Rich, sugary, full of cinnamon, and warm, they had each of us going back for more. But we each stopped at two, even the pregnant lady, because our bodies said “That’s enough!"


In the future, I will make sure that I have fresh yeast, because I was pretty disappointed in the way that these looked. Still, I’m sure that I’ll make these again, someday, when I want to pamper someone with a ridiculous breakfast. IMG_2113

Recipe in Tastebook soon. Special thanks to Lisa Wainwright for sharing her secrets.

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