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Mark's favorite cinnamon buns

Homemade cinnamon buns

Mark came down with a cinnamon-bun craving this year. And after he brought home cans of dough a couple of times, I told him I was pretty sure I could make something better from scratch.

So I played with a few recipes, tweaking them until they were still decadently delicious but didn't give me such a sugar high that I crashed an hour later. And Mark's favorite cinnamon buns were born.

Rising dough

You'll need to start about five hours before you want to eat since cinnamon buns are basically a sweetened yeast bread. For the dough, mix:

If you're using rapid-rise yeast, you don't need to proof the leavening. Instead, just pour all of the ingredients into a bowl, put the bread-hook attachment onto your mixer, and mix at medium speed for a few minutes until the dough is fully combined. (Or you can knead by hand until you get the same results.)

Now cover the dough with a damp dish towel and set it in a warm place until it doubles in bulk (about two hours).

Cinnamon bun filling

Once the dough's ready, mix up the filling:

Brush on butter

Flour a clean surface and roll out your dough until it's about as big as you see in the picture above. You want it to be a rectangle rather than a square, but the exact dimensions are up to you. A bigger rectangle will mean your rolls have more layers but a smaller thickness of cinnamon-sugar in between each one.

Now melt:

Brush the melted butter onto the dough, leaving about an inch on each long side uncovered. The unbuttered regions will stick together better so your cinnamon rolls won't unravel as they rise and bake.

Spread cinnamon-sugar

Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture on top of the butter as evenly as you can. Then roll up the dough to make one long cylinder. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into sixteen equal pieces. (This is easiest done by cutting the roll in half, then each half in half, then each quarter into quarters.)

Cinnamon-bun frosting

Butter a 9x13 dish or two 8-inch round cake pans. Place the cinnamon rolls in the pan relatively close together so they'll merge as they rise. Then set the dish(es) in a warm place to rise again for another two hours (or more or less depending on the temperature of your kitchen).

When the rolls have nearly doubled in bulk, place a rack in the middle of your oven and turn it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. I like to put my pan in the oven as it preheats so the rolls get one more fast rise before they bake into place. Using that method, they usually need about 13 minutes to fully bake so the bottoms are brown, the tops are very lightly touched with brown, and the centers are cooked through.

While the rolls bake, mix up your icing:

Stir the icing until it forms a thick batter.

Frosted cinnamon buns

As soon as the buns come out of the oven, drizzle the icing over the hot rolls. I simply get a spoonful of icing and let it drip over the edge of the utensil to make lines across the buns. (Sometimes I mess up and make blobs, but Mark doesn't seem to care.)

This recipe makes 16 buns, which are best served warm. Nuke each one for 15 seconds in the microwave if you let them get cold. Enjoy!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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When I make my own, I run some pecans through the food processer to chop them (fine but not dust)and then mix them in with the brown sugar and cinnamon filling. Walnuts are good too if you don't have pecans. If you're in a hurry, using a can of crescent rolls is a great shortcut. Spread the butter and filling then roll up and bake as usual. They're not homemade but they sure are better than the straight out of the can cinnamon rolls.
Comment by Ed Sun Dec 27 10:52:31 2015
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