First, I would like to apologize about my long hiatus from this blog. Unlike most food writers, I was actually silent over the holidays. To be honest, this was because I put my private life first. I have been living in the UK for the last two and a half years which means seeing family involves crossing a rather large ocean. Over Christmas, I was lucky enough to be in a position I had not been in for over a year: I was able to fly to Canada and see my family and friends. I had a really great Christmas and I hope you all did too! Now I am back in the UK and normal life has resumed.
Despite the fact that we now have to wait another 12 months for the festive season to come again, I am bursting with Christmasy recipes!! The first of which is a classic Christmas morning treat: homemade cinnamon buns. Throw away the pillsbury doughboy because these rolls are seriously delicious and easy to make. This recipe is taken from ‘The Pioneer Woman Cooks.’ It is a great blog/TV show that focuses on good food to feed a crowd (aka her family) which is handy during the holiday season.
Next year, I think these cinnamon buns are going to be my go-to hostess gift. You can freeze them baked and frosted so my plan is to make a full batch at the beginning of december and then just pull a tray out as needed. I think this is one of those recipes that calls for disposable aluminum baking trays.
For the buns:
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 tsp active dry yeast
- 9 cups (8 + 1 reserved) flour
- 1 heaping tsp baking powder
- 1 scant tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups melted butter
For the icing:
- 4 cups (1 bag) icing sugar
- 2 tsp maple flavouring
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/4 cup coffee
- pinch salt
NOTE: I usually make a half batch around the holidays and a quarter batch any other time of the year. If you want, go for the 7-8 trays the full recipe will make because you can freeze any you don’t eat. Or you could just eat them…………
- Scald the milk, 1 cups of sugar, and vegetable oil in a saucepan. This is doing 2 things: dissolving the sugar and heating the milk up to help the yeast along.
- Leave the scalded liquids to cool until they reach body temperature. This will take about 20 mins for a half batch and an hour for a full. If you get bored, go ahead and put the saucepan in the fridge.
- When the milk has reached body temperature, sprinkle in the yeast.
- Leave the yeast to activate for about 10 minutes. You want it to start frothing.
- Measure 8 cups of flour out into a large bowl.
- Pour the yeasty milk into the four.
- Mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Cover and let sit for at least an hour.
- Add the remaining cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Stir well.
- At this point, you have two options: the slow and the fast. You can cover the dough and put it in the fridge to let the dough slowly rise overnight. If it rises too much, punch it down into the bowl. The fast way is to let the mixture rise for another hour and then continue on. I think the slow option is better because it leaves you with cold dough that is easier to handle.
- Preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
- Melt 2 cups of butter.
- Generously flour a large surface. This is where you will be doing the flour.
- Separate the dough into two equal pieces.
- Roll one section of dough into a large, thin rectangle about 10″x30″.
- Pour half the melted butter over the dough rectangle. Make sure you get right up to the edges of the dough (I move the butter around with a pastry brush). If you don’t, you’ll end up with filling-less rolls.
- Sprinkle over 1 cup of sugar. The sugar will absorb some of the butter. If it isn’t looking gooey enough, add more butter and sugar.
- Generously sprinkle with cinnamon. The amount of cinnamon depends on taste. I like the dough to be pretty much covered with a layer of brown.
- Starting at the far long end of the rectangle, roll the dough towards you. Try to make the roll as tight as possible. Don’t worry if some filling oozes out.
- Tuck the ends of the dough under to make a nice edge.
- Prepare the baking tins by greasing the bottom and sides with some butter. If you’re feeling ambitious, line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper as well.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the ‘log’ into 1 inch sections.
- Place the rolls into the prepared tins giving them space to rise (a round cake tin will hold 6-7 full sized rolls) . Overcrowded rolls will tend to be under baked.
- Repeat the procedure with the other half of the dough.
- At this point, you should have 7 trays full of delicious looking cinnamon duns. Leave the buns to rise for 20-30 minutes. If you have taken the batter out of the fridge, go for the full 30 minutes.
- Bake the buns for 15-18 minutes.
- While the buns are in the oven, start on the frosting by measuring out the icing sugar into a large bowl.
- Pour in the other ingredients.
- Whisk well until all the moisture has been evenly distributed. You should have a thick, but pourable icing.
- Taste and add icing sugar or milk as necessary.
- When the rolls come out of the oven, generously drizzle the buns with icing making sure to get around the outside of each roll.
- Leave the buns to cool slightly before eating. As the buns cool, the icing cooks slightly making it settle in and flake.
To freeze: wait until the buns have completely cooled then wrap the entire tray well with plastic wrap and put ‘em in the freezer. To thaw, just take the buns out of the freezer and let them come up to room temperature. I usually then pop them in a low oven to warm.