Mega Cinnamon Bun – Dinner With Julie


Let me preface this post by saying I did not come up with the giant cinnamon bun- it is a thing, like the skillet cookie or Texas doughnut, that has existed for awhile, and I’ve been meaning to make one for eons. Mary Berg had one in her first cookbook, Kitchen Party, that came out last fall, and Anna Olson has one in her latest, Baking Day, which came out last week. That was the reminder- flipping through her book and then talking to Anna last week when we filmed a thing together, and she suggested leftover doughnut dough could be turned into a cinnamon bun. And so I did it- and then another. And then another.

I decided to bake one yesterday morning for the Eyeopener crew, driving it over to the station in the early morning dark, and the response on twitter was so great that I made another, just so I could get a photo and post a recipe. (And yes, so I could eat it myself.)

I used my go-to cinnamon bun dough, just because it’s what I know- I halved the dough recipe and skipped the goo, and spread the rolled out rectangle of dough with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon before cutting it into four long strips and rolling them up end to end, as per Anna’s instructions. I baked the first in a skillet, the second in a square aluminum cake pan (to bring to the studio) and the third (pictured above) in one of my favourite round baking pans I bought for $10 from the clearance table at Winners. It really doesn’t matter what you use – cake pan, pie plate, baking dish… even a sheet would work- the bun will just spread out a bit more.

I wasn’t particularly perfect (surprise!) with my cutting and rolling, but I like things rustic- the ends are contained in the roll, and the end bit I kind of pinched and tucked under the bun to keep it from unraveling in the oven. (Pressure for perfection keeps a lot of bakers from baking, I think.)

It rose a bit on my countertop as the oven preheated, but as you can see it expanded beautifully in the pan. I love it. Some I basted with a pastry brush as I checked on it, and covered with a piece of foil in the oven if it was browning too quickly.

Finishing it with a quick, buttery glaze is optional, but adds so much- and keeps the bun from being dry. It kind of makes its own puddle of goo in the bottom as it bakes. I’ll be making this a lot, just for the pure joy of it (cinnamon buns as an act of self care) and how happy it makes the people around me- and it’s easily doubled (or just use the quantities in my original cinnamon bun recipe, minus the goo) if you want one for yourself and one to share.

And! If you want to make this vegan, it’s surprisingly easy- omit the egg (no need to replace it with something else), and use a plant-based milk and butter substitute.

Mega Cinnamon Bun

Dough:

1/4 cup warm water

2 tsp active dry yeast

1/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milk, warmed

1 large egg

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 tsp salt

Filling:

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup packed brown sugar

cinnamon

Glaze:

1-2 Tbsp butter, melted

1/2 cup icing sugar

1 Tbsp milk or cream (plus extra as needed)

1/2 tsp vanilla

1

Put the water in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) and sprinkle with the yeast and a pinch of the sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until it dissolves and gets foamy.

2

Add the flour, the rest of the sugar, the milk, egg, butter and salt and stir by hand or with the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer until you have a soft dough. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until it’s smooth and elastic—it should still be quite tacky, but will swell and smooth out as it sits. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for an hour or so, until doubled in size.

3

Roll the dough out into a rectangle that’s about 12×16-inches, spread or brush with very soft or melted butter, sprinkle with brown sugar (once scattered overtop, I spread it out evenly with my hand) and sprinkle it generously with cinnamon.

4

Cut the rectangle lengthwise into 4 strips. Roll up one of the strips, then move it over to the end of another strip of dough, and pinch the ends of the dough together. (It doesn’t need to be perfect—they will bake together inside the roll.) Continue rolling up that strip, and then carefully continue with the remaining two strips, making one giant roll. I use a bench scraper to gently ease up the dough, and then transfer the whole roll into a buttered or parchment-lined 9-inch square or round baking dish, deep cake pan or ovenproof skillet. Scatter any brown sugar that has fallen out onto the counter over the dough. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise for an hour.

5

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the mega roll for 50-60 minutes, or until deep golden and puffed. Whisk together the melted butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla, adding a bit more liquid or sugar as needed so that it has the consistency of heavy cream, and drizzle it over with a fork while the bun is still warm. Serves 4-6 (or 1).

Ingredients

Dough:

 1/4 cup warm water

 2 tsp active dry yeast

 1/4 cup sugar

 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

 1/2 cup milk, warmed

 1 large egg

 1/4 cup butter, softened

 1/2 tsp salt

Filling:

 1/4 cup butter, melted

 1 cup packed brown sugar

 cinnamon

Glaze:

 1-2 Tbsp butter, melted

 1/2 cup icing sugar

 1 Tbsp milk or cream (plus extra as needed)

 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions

1

Put the water in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) and sprinkle with the yeast and a pinch of the sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until it dissolves and gets foamy.

2

Add the flour, the rest of the sugar, the milk, egg, butter and salt and stir by hand or with the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer until you have a soft dough. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until it’s smooth and elastic—it should still be quite tacky, but will swell and smooth out as it sits. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for an hour or so, until doubled in size.

3

Roll the dough out into a rectangle that’s about 12×16-inches, spread or brush with very soft or melted butter, sprinkle with brown sugar (once scattered overtop, I spread it out evenly with my hand) and sprinkle it generously with cinnamon.

4

Cut the rectangle lengthwise into 4 strips. Roll up one of the strips, then move it over to the end of another strip of dough, and pinch the ends of the dough together. (It doesn’t need to be perfect—they will bake together inside the roll.) Continue rolling up that strip, and then carefully continue with the remaining two strips, making one giant roll. I use a bench scraper to gently ease up the dough, and then transfer the whole roll into a buttered or parchment-lined 9-inch square or round baking dish, deep cake pan or ovenproof skillet. Scatter any brown sugar that has fallen out onto the counter over the dough. Cover with a tea towel and let it rise for an hour.

5

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the mega roll for 50-60 minutes, or until deep golden and puffed. Whisk together the melted butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla, adding a bit more liquid or sugar as needed so that it has the consistency of heavy cream, and drizzle it over with a fork while the bun is still warm. Serves 4-6 (or 1).





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