Classic Homemade Cinnamon Buns
Welcome to cinnamon bun heaven! These are light and fluffy with gooey cinnamon center and warm rich cream cheese frosting on top. It doesn't get any better.
I've made my fair share of cinnamon buns, and these are by far the best ever. It took a little tweaking here and there, but this recipe is the only one you'll need.
You could make these with a pumpkin spice flavor, or include fruit to the filling for a summery option - cherry or mixed berry would be SO yummy. But this is a classic, go-to recipe.
I used to think that homemade cinnamon buns were kind of intimidating, but it's pretty simple. Here are a few tricks to getting it right:
Never overheat the milk! Hot milk will kill the yeast and your buns won't be light and fluffy. Keep it warm to the touch.
Use room temperature butter. Not melted, not cold, but nice, soft, room temperature butter. This is key to getting the right consistency.
Overnight is best. Once the cinnamon buns are made and placed in the pan, cover them and let them rest overnight. It gives the the yeast a chance to feed off the sugar for longer, making a richer, fluffier cinnamon bun.
Use a mix of bread and AP flour. I discovered this combo when I ran out of enough AP flour for the whole recipe - so I used bread flour... and I am SO GLAD that I did. Bread flour has a higher protein percentage than AP flour, which makes the dough thicker, and rise more - making the cinnamon buns so fluffy.
Roll it Tight. The tighter the roll, the more evenly you can make your cuts and the more evenly it will cook. It can get messy, but if you leave a 1" border around the dough when you spread on the filling, you can keep it pretty controlled.
Use vanilla paste. Instead of vanilla extract
Now, let's get down to business
Classic Cinnamon Buns
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
3 Cups Bread Flour
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
1/2 brown sugar
1 1/4 cup whole milk, warmed
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 Large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla paste
3 cup powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp heavy cream
3 Tbsp soft butter
Combine yeast, 1 Tbsp brown sugar and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Gently stir together and let sit for 10 minutes for the yeast to activate. Wait for it to get nice and foamy!
In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter and milk. About 30 seconds - so it doesn't get too hot. Stir until the butter is completely melted.
Add the butter and milk to the yeast mixture. Using the dough hook, slightly mix together. Add eggs and mix on a low speed.
Slowly add the dry ingredients - AP flour, bread flour, brown sugar, sea salt, and cinnamon - to the wet ingredients. Mix on low-medium speed until a dough ball forms.
Put the dough ball in a greased bowl and cover. Set bowl in the oven with the light on for 2 hours, until the dough has more than doubled in size.
In a small mixing bowl, make the filling. Whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg until a thick paste is made. Set aside until the dough is ready.
Once the dough has doubled (or more) in size, gently roll out onto a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle, approximately 1/4" thick. Don't make it too thin or it will be difficult to roll up.
Using a silicone pastry brush (or basting brush), spread the brown sugar filling in an even layer across the whole rectangle. Leave a 1" border on the edges, so rolling is easier.
Roll tightly (long-ways) and cut into 1" slices using a scraper/chopper.
Place each roll into a greased baking dish and cover. Set in the fridge overnight. The buns will rise once again. I pack the rolls into the dish tightly, but you can leave space for them to expand.
When you are ready to bake, take the rolls out of the fridge and uncover about 1 hour before it's time to cook.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brush with melted butter and bake for 25 minutes.
While the cinnamon rolls are baking, it's time to make the frosting. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese. When it's light and airy, add in heavy cream and vanilla paste. Mix on low.
Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time until the frosting is the right consistency. This is a thicker frosting, not a "pourable" icing.
While the cinnamon buns are still hot, cover with frosting. Dig in while they're still warm.