Recipe: Homemade Cinnamon Rolls with Icing

I’m going to be completely honest here — I hate cinnamon buns. I can say with 100% certainty that up until a few nights ago, I have never eaten a cinnamon bun that I’ve enjoyed. And yes, I’ve tried them — the huge Cinnabon corner of the food court at the Altamonte Mall was a great place to hang out when I was sixteen, and I can remember multiple occasions in which a well-meaning friend had tried forcing a forkful of Cinnabon into my protesting mouth while saying, “No, it’s really good, I’m serious, just try it—“

Sometimes I was able to get out of it. Most times I wasn’t. I hated every bite and have glared angrily every time I’ve stumbled upon a picture of homemade cinnamon buns on Pinterest ever since.  Until now, that is.

I’m not sure what weird shift of the universe resulted in me purchasing the ingredients to make my cinnamon rolls from the grocery store last week, to be truthful. I wasn’t feeling particularly adventurous or jovial. I didn’t crave the sticky, gooey, sugary taste or the cinnamon smell. I guess it was fate. The Cinnamon Bun Gods deemed me worthy of their special attention that day.*

*(I’ve read that your taste buds change every seven years. I’m 23 now, so 7 years ago would have been when I was 16 and plagued with the aforementioned situations. Hm.)

I got this recipe from Gastronomy Blog, who got it from The America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook and only altered it slightly. Yummmm!

The Filling:

1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

The Dough:

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

The Icing:

3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

Pre-heat your oven to 425°F. Generously coat a 9-inch nonstick round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Melt all of the butter; you’ll be using it throughout various components but you can just melt it all together.

For the filling, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, cloves, salt and 1 tablespoon of melted butter together in a bowl until the mixture resembles wet sand.

For the dough, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of melted butter together. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until the liquid is absorbed, or for about 30 seconds.

Roll the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, or for about a minute.

Pat the dough with your hands until a large rectangle and brush with two tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle the brown sugar filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges. Press the filling firmly down.

Using a metal spatula, loosen the dough from the table (or mat, or whatever) and roll it, pressing lightly, from one side to another to form a tight log. Press the log down on the seam side and slice into 8 pieces.

Place 1 roll in the center of your circular pan and put the rest of them around it in a flowering type pattern. Brush the tops of the rolls with the rest of the butter.
Bake until the edges are golden brown, for about 20 – 25 minutes. Let them cool for about 5 minutes.

While they’re cooling, whisk the cream cheese and buttermilk in a big bowl until it’s thick and smooth (it’ll start out looking like cottage cheese — don’t freak out!). Sift the confectioners sugar over the mixture and whisk until a smooth glaze forms, or for about 25 seconds.
Spoon it over the buns and serve!

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