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Monday, March 23, 2009

Cinnamon Buns

When I was a child, Sunday mornings were church days. My parents would go to the service downstairs, and us kids would go to Sunday school with the rest of the children. After one hour of bible stories, activities, and discussion, we were often “surprised” with a treat from the Sunday school lady. Trays of freshly baked cinnamon buns! The sweet cinnamon aroma. The light white glaze. The plump raisins peeking out. The soft, chewiness and the sweet stickiness… It made us look forward to Sundays again and again.

Ah… the sweet memories of my childhood. It’s funny how quickly we forget.

I had forgotten completely about my childhood affair with Cinnamon Buns. I had forgotten how I looked forward to them, how I ate them around and around until I came to the sweet and soft knob of brioche in the centre of the bun. How I licked my fingers and wished that I hadn’t eaten it so quickly. How I jealously stared at my siblings as they savored theirs.

When I moved to Toronto for university, I began to despise the cinnamon bun. They were everywhere… in food courts, in train stations, and on street corners. The smell of these buns was overpowering and suffocating. I cringed at the smell and tried at all costs to avoid those brightly lit kiosks.

Why? There is really something different about homemade cinnamon buns versus the commercial ones. I am not sure if it is the satisfaction from creating your own fresh tray of buns or the actual end result but there is really something not so satisfying and not so tasty about buying a commercially baked cinnamon bun and devouring it on the go. Maybe it’s because when you create your own, the smell is subtle, intriguing, and mouth watering rather than sickening and suffocating. And the taste and texture are light and well balanced, with just the right sweetness and stickiness. Or maybe it just needs to be the right thing in the right place at the right time.

And I believe now is the right time. Don’t be intimidated by this recipe. It is very easy, and allows you to make the buns up to 24 hours in advance and leave them in the fridge until you are ready to bake. So come on, let’s try…

Cinnamon Buns
Adapted from Recipe at

Makes 8-12 rolls

4 1/2 - 5 cups (630 - 700 grams) all-purpose flour
1 package (2 1/4 tsp/ 7 grams) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) milk
1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (66 grams) White sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 grams) salt
3 large eggs

Filling3/4 cup (160 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (35 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, cold (cut into pieces)
1/2 cup raisins or toasted pecans (optional)

In a medium-sized bowl stir together:
1/2 cup (58 grams) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Light Cream

In a large bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups of flour and the yeast.
In another bowl, place milk, butter, sugar, and salt, and place in microwave (or on stove) for about 1 minute 30 seconds, until barely warmed and the butter is almost melted.

Make a well in the flour mixture, and slowly add the milk mixture, stirring until incorporated. Then add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each one to insure it is incorporated. Once all the eggs have been added, beat well until mixture is smooth.

Then, kneading by hand, gradually add as much of the remaining 2 ¼ to 2 ¾ cups flour that you need to you make a soft and smooth dough that is no longer sticky. Shape into a ball and place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 ½ hours)

Once doubled, punch the dough down and place on a lightly floured surface, cover with a clean towel, and let rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon for the filling. Cut in the cold butter to make a crumbly mixture.

Roll the dough into a 30 cm square and sprinkle with the filling. Sprinkle over the raisins or pecans. Roll the dough into a log and pinch the edges to seal. Slice the roll into 8-12 equal pieces. Place in a greased baking pan with enough room around each to double in size.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until almost double, about 1 hour.
(Alternatively, refrigerate the rolls for up to 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator. Place in the oven which is NOT turned on and proof with a steaming pan of water for 30 minutes until almost doubled).

Brush dough with light cream and bake at 190C/375 F for about 25 minutes until light brown and a toothpick inserted into a bun comes out clean.

Remove rolls from the oven. Cool for about 5 minutes, then remove onto a serving plate.

Drizzle with glaze and serve.


  1. I love fresh, homebaked cinnamon buns but haven't made them myself in years, mainly because it's only myself and the hubs. That's a lot of calories for two people! Still, this recipe is tempting . . . !

  2. oooooooooohhhhhhhhhh my rolls would go in a minut in the oven, they already seem delicious!!!! thanks :)