Sticky Cinnamon Maple Buns (from a homesick American expat)

We’re having an unusually cold and rainy Spring here in London. Normally we would be taking day trips to gardens or the seaside, or going on walks around the city. But instead, we’re hunkering down inside, and looking for ways to make home feel cozy. In my opinion nothing beats the smell of cinnamon lingering in the air on a cold, grey day, so cinnamon buns were on order this week!

If you’ve been dreaming of the perfect soft and sticky American-style cinnamon buns, I have a no-fail recipe for you. I’ve made these dozens of times and they are very forgiving – I’ve rolled the dough too thin a few times, and even then they just come out chewy and toffee laden. They are soft, fluffy, and the bottom of the buns always form a sticky toffee base which just makes them irresistible. Its definitely one of my treasured recipes!

They’re also very easy to make for a morning breakfast – just prepare the buns up step 4, then put them in the fridge overnight. They can be ready within an hour of waking up and you’ll be enjoying the most indulgent breakfast.

The recipe below is adapted from Pioneer Woman so you know they’ll not be skimping on the butter and sugar.

Step 1: Combine the following three ingredients in medium saucepan, heat to just below a boil

1 cup / 240 ml whole milk

1/4 cup / 60 ml vegetable oil

1/4 cup / 50 g granulated sugar

Step 2: Remove pan from heat, cool to 38 C/ 100 F, sprinkle 1 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast over the pan, let sit for 1 minute. It will just start to settle in, but won’t be activating yet.

Step 3: Add 2 cups / 240 g strong white flour (bread flour) to the wet mixture. Stir until just combined. Cover with a clean kitchen towel. Set in warm place for 1 hour to rise.

Step 4: Remove towel. Dough should have risen and have some air. Now add:

1/4 heaping teaspoon baking powder

1/4 scant teaspoon baking soda

3/4 heaping teaspoon salt

1/4 cup / 60 g flour

Stir thoroughly to combine. If you’d like to use the dough right away, proceed to step 5. If you prefer to make them another day, you can place the mixing bowl in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Step 5: With a rolling pin, roll the dough out in a rectangle shape on a clean surface. I like to roll my dough about a half inch or quarter inch thick. Next, is the fun part – butter! Take 1/4 cup of melted butter and drizzle over the rolled out dough. The more, the merrier. Sprinkle cinnamon generously, followed by 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. More if you’re feeling sweet. It will only take on as much as the rolls can handle – whatever can’t fit will ooze out the ends, so don’t skimp!

Step 6: Starting from the end furthest from you, roll the dough toward you. Keep the roll as tight as possible – you’re aiming for a evenly sized roll when its finished. Be sure to pinch the dough seams together, then flip the roll onto the seam. The seam should be face down on the surface as you begin the slice the rolls.

Step 7: Before you start cutting, prepare your pan. I’ve had the best luck with an enamel coated pan like my Le Crueset, but if you don’t have one, line a 9×9 or large round cake pan with parchment paper. Brush the bottom with 2 Tablespoons of melted butter.

Step 7: Time to cut! Everyone has a different method, but I prefer the string method. Get a clean piece of string or unwaxed floss. Slide the string under the dough, and use it to cut into 1 inch slices. This method is best as it doesn’t squish the dough or squeeze out any of the precious buttery/sugary mixture! Place the rolls in the buttered pan as you cut, and leave a smidgen of space between them for the rise.

Step 8: When the pan is full, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for at least 20 minutes. Heat your oven to 190 C/375 F. Remove the towel, and bake for 14-17 minutes, until rolls are golden brown.

Step 9: While buns are baking, prepare the icing. Combine the following:

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 teaspoon maple syrup

dash of salt

1 cup / 240 g icing sugar

splash of brewed coffee (optional)

Step 10: When buns come out of the oven, immediately pour frosting on top. Be generous, let the icing flood the surface!

My recipe normally yields 14-18 buns, depending on how I cut them. If it sounds like a lot, trust me, these gooey cinnamon buns go verrrry quickly. Now sit down and pat yourself on the back for your hard work. You deserve a bun. Or 3. Or 6.

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