These cinnamon buns are amazing! My family insists that they are better than Cinnabon!
I hear time after time about friends’ cinnamon buns not turning out at home. One of my friends keeps trying recipe after recipe with not much success. Well, here’s the problem. All of these fluffy Cinnabon-type recipes are about the same!! No joke, look it up and compare some of the top recipes. There’s only so many ways you can combine flour, sugar, yeast and milk!
So what makes these rolls special?! It’s the technique! Scoop your flour with your cup measures and forget about enjoying these tender light and fluffy rolls!!! Your flour must be gently spooned into the cup measure to ensure we are not using more flour than needed. How about the proofing time? I hear about people letting their rolls rise for 2 hours, that’s also not the way to go, or your rolls will be too airy, rather than chewy and tender.
There’s more! Adding too much flour and making stiff dough is another common mistake. The dough we make here is smooth, elastic, yet still a bit sticky and wet.
Last but not least, pouring heavy cream over the rolls before baking, keeps them soft and tender, while creating warm caramel sauce on the bottom!
Once you master this recipe, you can do anything else. Add raisins, add pecans, make these into sticky buns!
So let’s get to it!!
6 TBSP unsalted butter, melted but not hot, around 110-115F
1 cup milk, gently warmed to 110-115F
1 packet instant dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus up to 1/4 cup more
1 tsp fine salt
- For the filling:
6 TBSP unsalted butter, very soft at room temp
1 cup dark brown sugar
2.5 TBSP cinnamon
healthy pinch of fine salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- For the cream cheese frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/8 tsp of fine salt
- Dissolve the yeast in warm milk with a tablespoon of sugar in it (take it from your 1/2 cup of sugar that you will be using for the rolls.) Let it sit for 5 minutes until frothy. With instant yeast, it’s not technically necessary to proof the yeast, but I like giving it a head start.
- Measure the flour correctly. Too much flour will result in stiff, dry rolls. Spoon flour gently into each cup measure and shave the excess amount with a butter knife. This ensures you haven’t over compacted and overfilled your cups. We will start by adding only 4 cups of flour and adding the remaining 1/4 cups, one tablespoon at a time, only if needed.
- In a bowl of your mixer, mix butter (make sure it’s not hot or it will scramble the eggs), sugar, eggs, 4 cups of flour and salt with the wooden spoon. Mix your yeast mixture. Transfer the bowl to the mixer and knead with a dough hook on medium speed for 5-7 minutes. You want this dough to still be sticky. Not mousse like and too wet, but still quite sticky, still sticking to the bottom of your bowl. Typically, in addition to 4 cups I add another 1-2 tablespoons of flour, but rarely do I add the whole 1/4 cups. Only add what’s needed to make elastic, smooth dough that is still sticky.
- Heat the oven on the lowest setting for a minute or two to create nice and warm environment for the dough to rise. Don’t make it too hot. Grease a large bowl and transfer the dough into it. Cover loosely with plastic wrap then with a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 35-50 minutes. Contrary to the popular belief, you don’t want the rising time to be too long, or the texture of your buns won’t be quite right.
- Grease 9×13 inch dish lightly. Mix 3 TBSP cinnamon with 1 cup of dark brown sugar.
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle that is around 24 inches long. It will be about 13-15 inches wide. This way, each roll will be about 2 inches tall. Spread 1/3 cup butter evenly over the dough (if needed, microwave the butter for 10 seconds to make it even more spreadable.) Sprinkle the sugar cinnamon mixture over the butter. Then gently roll your rolling pin over the sugar-cinnamon mixture to compress it. Roll tightly into a 24 inch log. Consider cutting the sides of the log to make it more even. Slice the log into 12 buns. I like marking it with a knife to know where my cuts will go. I also use dental floss to make those perfect cuts. Transfer the rolls into the prepared baking dish.
- Once again, heat the oven on the lowest setting for a minute or two to create nice and warm environment for the cinnamon buns to rise. Don’t make it too hot. Cover loosely with plastic wrap then with a kitchen towel. Let the buns rise until doubled in size and fill the pan, about 45-65 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Warm your cream just a touch – don’t boil or make it hot. Pour the cream evenly over the risen rolls. Just like in the picture:
- Transfer the buns to the preheated oven and bake 21-23 minutes. Mine were perfect in 22 minutes, but the time may of course may vary. So check to make sure there’s no wet dough on the inside and the internal temperature of the buns is 195 degrees F.
- While the buns are baking, mix all the frosting ingredients and then whip until light and fluffy. On occasion, I microwave this frosting to make it more spreadable.
- Remove the buns from the oven and let cool for about 5 -10 minutes. Then go ahead and frost while warm. My preference is to actually frost very lightly. You can always serve some of the frosting on the side. But if that’s not your preference, go ahead and frost each roll a lot more generously. Enjoy!