When it is cold and frosty outside, very few things are as comforting as hot, fluffy cinnamon buns fresh out the oven! Tempted? Well, these sweet, soft, sticky buns topped with tangy, whipped vanilla cream cheese frosting are easier to make than you think!
I find it easiest to make the bun dough the night before allowing it rise slowly in the fridge overnight (if you are feeling particularly organized, you can even make the cinnamon paste the day before too). All that is then left to do the next day is to roll the dough out, assemble, a bit of time for the second proving and bake. However, you can easily have your buns the same day you make the dough - just leave the dough once made covered in a warm place (instead of placing it in the fridge) until it has doubled in size (for about an hour or so).
Enough for 9 large cinnamon buns (or 12 small buns)
STICKY BUN DOUGH
250ml whole/full cream milk
50g unsalted butter
8g (2¼ tsp) dried yeast
1 large egg
500g plain/cake flour
100g caster sugar
2.5ml (½ tsp) salt
120g unsalted butter
165g brown sugar
15ml (1 tbsp) ground cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten
VANILLA CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
250g cream cheese (I've used Philadelphia original block cream cheese)
100g icing sugar
5ml (1 tsp) vanilla bean paste
To start, place the milk and butter in a small saucepan over a low heat until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature (important, otherwise you could easily kill the yeast if the mixture is too warm).
Place the yeast in a large mixing bowl (I use a stainless steel free standing mixer bowl). Add the room temperature milk-butter mixture and stir it a little. Add the egg followed by the flour. Add the caster sugar and salt on top.
Mix together using a free standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook or by hand for a minute or two until the mixture comes together in a rough dough ball. Turn out the dough onto a work surface and knead by hand for a few seconds at a time resting once or twice (for a minute or two) in-between in order for the gluten to relax.
Try not to add any extra flour even if the dough feels a bit sticky at first (otherwise the buns could become dry once baked).
Once the dough feels smooth and elastic, form it into a ball and place it back into the mixing bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and place it in the fridge overnight (if making the dough the day/night before) or in a warm spot (if making the dough the same day as baking).
To prepare the cinnamon filling, melt the butter a bowl in the microwave then add the brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Mix until smooth. Leave the mixture to firm up a bit to a spreadable paste until needed.
The next day (or once the dough ball has doubled in size) turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape with your hands into a rough rectangle. Roll out the dough keeping the rectangular shape until the dough is about 3mm in thickness.
Spread the cinnamon paste all over the rolled out dough using a small palette knife or spoon.
Starting from one of the long sides, roll up the dough until you have a nice long log.
Using a sharp knife, trim the edges then divide the dough log into 9 portions (for 9 large buns) or 12 portions (for 12 small buns).
Place the dough portions swirl side up into a greased tin allowing about 1cm space around each bun. I've used a 24cm x 24cm square tin, however, you can use any round/square/rectangular tin of similar proportions.
Don't stress if your dough buns are not particularly pretty or perfectly round at this stage - they do tend to sort themselves out when proving.
Place the tin in a warm spot until the buns have doubled in size (you want the raw buns risen/proved to almost the final size you would want them once baked) - takes approximately 30 min to 1 hour.
While the buns are proving, preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan).
Once ready, brush the top of the proved buns with the beaten egg then bake until golden brown (about 20 - 30 minutes depending on their size).
While the buns are baking, prepare the vanilla cream cheese frosting by beating the cream cheese with electric beaters or an electric mixer until smooth. Add the icing sugar (sieved) and vanilla bean paste. Beat together for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
Once the cinnamon buns are baked, remove the tin from the oven and spread the hot buns with the cream cheese frosting.
Best enjoyed freshly baked or warmed ever so slightly the next day. Dreamy...