Do you ever walk into the mall and smell the scent of the baked goodness of a Cinnamon bun? I have to exercise immense self-control whenever I walk past Cinnzeo. However, like many of us, I am only human so if they are offering a sample I never say no. Which inevitably means I go and buy a whole bun for myself. Cinnzeo has an effective marketing tool, I will give them that!
I have been making cinnamon buns for a couple of years now. In a recipe, I always look for a dough that is soft and pillowy, with a strong flavor of cinnamon. I absolutely love cinnamon, so cinnamon buns are a great way of satisfying this obsession.
The very first cinnamon bun recipe I followed actually used a brioche dough for the base. Essentially what I did was find a few recipes online and mix them together. I like to pick bits and pieces of things I like and make one big recipe. The brioche mixture used milk, and mixed with butter and eggs, it lent a deep buttery profile to the dough. The recipe ended up being my go-to for years.
Unfortunately, I misplaced the recipe (*cue tears and sad music*). This meant I needed to find a replacement recipe that was just as tasty – if not tastier.
Which leads me to this new and improved cinnamon bun recipe. This recipe definitely stands up to the one I lost. The original recipe is from Scrumptiously Fit Food and you can find it here. However, I have amended her recipe and added a few extra bits and pieces. For example, the zested lemon in the recipe adds a nice kick to the flavour. In addition to the lemon zest, I like my cinnamon buns to have the sticky goodness of brown sugar and pecans. So in essence, I guess one can argue that these are sticky cinnamon buns – but that’s all semantics.
In any case, I have rambled long enough. Here is the recipe for the tastiest cinnamon bun recipe!
This recipe tastes exactly like Cinnzeo or Cinnabon, but EVEN better! The best part is that it'll be homemade, by YOU! So you can brag to everyone about your amazing culinary skills.
Place warm milk in the bowl of your stand mixer (or another large bowl). Measure in the active yeast with 1/2 tsp of sugar, and let sit for 10 minutes to activate. Make sure the milk isn’t too hot or else it will kill the yeast and the dough will not rise.
In the large mixing bowl, add in the flour, sugar, salt, softened butter, eggs and milk. Mix until everything is combined (I use my dough hook). Once combined, add the vanilla and lemon zest and let the dough sit for 5 minutes to allow the ingredients to settle.
If you’re using a mixer, use the paddle attachment and let it mix for 10 minutes. If doing this by hand knead the dough in the bowl for 10-15 minutes until the dough is no longer sticky. For either method, you will need to add a bit of flour (bit by bit) till the dough becomes soft to the touch and is no longer sticky. Be careful not to add too much flour.
Once ready, put the dough back in the bowl, cover with either plastic wrap or a towel and let sit for at least an hour or until it’s doubled in size. I let mine rest for 30 minutes in my warm oven, because I am impatient and wanted to eat these babies ASAP.
After the dough has risen, place dough on a floured surface and begin to roll out the dough into a 16" by 20" rectangle and about 1/2 - 1 inch thick. It doesn't have to be perfect.
Now move on to the filling.
Meanwhile, while the dough is rising, place the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and use a fork to mix the ingredient together until it becomes like sand (they will be small separated grains).
Melt the butter on the stove or in the microwave. If you are using the maple butter, add it to the melted butter and stir. Begin to spread the melted butter onto the dough - make sure you reach the edges. Then sprinkle the cinnamon mixture on top.
Starting with the short edge, begin to slowly roll the dough into a long. Cut the roll into 12 equal pieces.
Combine the brown sugar, nuts, maple syrup and butter in a saucepan and melt over low heat. Once melted, turn the heat to medium - high and constantly stir the mixture for about 5 minutes. You will start to see the mixture bubble and thicken up. Once you feel it is thick enough (around 5 -10 minutes) remove the mixture from the heat.
Add the vanilla, and the salt and bourbon. Pour mixture into a baking dish and place the cinnamon rolls inside.
Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let the buns rise for another 30 minutes (or until they look nicely puffed up).
Preheat the oven to 350F and bake the buns for 25-30 mins or until they start to brown on top. Remove and add the frosting on top while the buns are warm, so they melt the icing.
Take one (or two) and enjoy it with a big glass of milk!
In a medium sized glass bowl, add in the softened butter and cream cheese, and beat until combined. Add in the milk and vanilla and continue to mix.
Slowly add in the icing sugar (add to taste). Essentially you want to ensure that the icing is a bit runny and not thick like a buttercream frosting, so that they spread easily on the buns!
Hopefully, you guys enjoyed this recipe. Although it seems like there is a lot of steps and ingredients, I can assure you it is well worth it. In time, you will become a cinnamon bun making pro!
If you end up trying out this recipe, let me know how it turns out. Should you have any questions about the recipe, let me know in the comments below. Pin this recipe for later so that you don’t lose it (like I lost my first recipe lol).