I have a serious backlog of posts for you folks just sitting, waiting for me to have a chance to write them all down. I’m also horribly behind on my holiday gifts, too, but I’ll talk a bit more about that a little ways down the road.
Anyway, a couple weeks back we were puppy sitting for a friend of ours. This is Stella. She’s grown significantly since I took this picture, but she’s still a little cuddly doll.
That said, however, keeping an eye on the little troublemaker basically trapped us downstairs for a couple hours. The best way to pass the time, I figured, was to make cinnamon buns. Because, well, that’s the sort of thing I do. These ones are less sweet and not very sticky, more a roll than a sticky bun. Papa John, of course, adored them, but they’ve got tons of cinnamon in them so that’s a foregone conclusion where he is concerned.
Let’s start with the dough, shall we? In a large bowl, mix together 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour with 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (or one packet).
In a small saucepan, melt together 1/3 cup butter with 1 cup milk and 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Stir this until it’s just warm, about 130°F, then add this to the flour mixture.
Add in 3 eggs and beat with an electric mixer on low for about 30 seconds. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl so all the goodness is in there. Then you can beat it for about 3 minutes.
Use a wooden spoon to stir in about 2 1/4 to 2 3/4 cups additional flour. It will be slightly more or less depending on humidity levels, moisture, etc. All that jazz. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead that sucker with a bit more flour to make a nice soft dough that is smooth and not sticky (this will take you about 5 minutes).
I was able to do this only because both Stella and Gren fell asleep for a little bit (after making a giant mess with their water bowl) and I had a free hand.
Shape the dough into a ball and dump it into a greased bowl, turning once to coat it entirely. Cover that and let it rise in a warm place, about an hour and a half, until it’s twice the size it was.
While that’s doing its thing, combine in a small bowl 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon.
Use a pastry blender to cut in 1/2 cup butter until it’s all crumbly.
Give your dough a punch or two to flatten it out, then tip it back onto that lightly floured work surface and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
Roll out your dough with a rolling pin until it’s roughly in the shape of a 12″ x 18″ rectangle.
Sprinkle that cinnamon filling all over the rectangle, and then top with 1/2 cup toasted pecans and 1/2 cup raisins (I forgot the raisins, oops. I did add in some toasted almonds, too, just for fun).
Start from one of the long sides and roll the dough up into a nice little tube.
Slice your tube into 12 even pieces (start by cutting it in half, then each half into halves, and it’s easier that way) and lay them into a buttered 9″ x 13″ baking dish.
Loosely cover the cut buns and let them rise in a warm place for another 45 minutes, until they’re all puffy and stuff.
Then you can pop them into an oven preheated to 375°F and bake them for 25-30 minutes, until they’re a nice golden brown.
Let them cool for a few minutes, and while they’re doing that, whip up a wee glaze. In a small bowl, mix together 1 cup icing sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. You can add additional milk, a little at a time, until it’s drizzle-able. Having made this once, I would probably double the glaze amount, or at least increase it by 50%.
Drizzle the glaze over your still-warm buns and serve!