I think it’s safe to say you have found a good recipe when you’re asked, “whoa, are these actually from scratch?”
Oh yeah, they are, and they’re dangerous. If made correctly, these cinnamon buns may have your stomach hurting and your fingers sticky after you’ve inevitably eaten more than one. It’s true, it will be impossible to stop at “just one.”
Start with the dough
Things you need:
1/4 cup of water, warmed in a small bowl
1/4 ounce of active dry yeast (1 package)
1 cup of milk, warmed
1/3 cup of sugar, white
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract (or more, if you like to dump that good stuff in)
1 cup of flour, plus more
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
4 tablespoons of butter, very soft
Add the yeast to the warm water and give it a slight stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, letting the yeast dissolve.
Crack your egg into a small bowl, whisk it with a fork.
In a big bowl, stir the warm milk and sugar together. Add the egg, vanilla, and dissolved yeast, and stir.
Stir in 2 cups of flour with a wooden spoon, then whisk well.
Set the bowl aside to set.
After 15 minutes, stir in the salt then whisk in the butter.
Continue to add flour and stir with the wooden spoon.
When the dough becomes too difficult to stir any longer, sprinkle it with flour and knead the dough in the bowl, about 2 minutes.
Spray a large bowl with cooking spray, or drizzle the sides with oil.
Add the dough, making sure to coat the outside of the dough in the oil.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a clean dish towel, let it rise for 1 hour.
While the dough is rising, prepare the filling:
Stir together 3/4 cup of light brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon of chai spice and set it aside.
After an hour has passed, return the dough to your floured surface.
Spread some flour on your rolling pin, and roll the dough out into a big rectangle, about 12X16 inches.
Generously cover the dough with soft butter using a rubber basting brush. You’ll use about 3 tablespoons.
Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on the dough, slightly patting it down with the brush.
Roll the dough to form a ‘log’ and be sure to pinch the outside seem. Cut the ‘log’ into 12 even pieces.
Place the 12 dough pieces in a buttered pan, at least 9×13 inches big. Be sure the pan has sides, at least an inch tall.
Butter around the edges of each bun, this will prevent them from sticking together while baking.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap and a tea towel, and let the buns rise another 30 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap, and bake the buns on the center rack of your oven. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Once removed from the oven, using a spatula, transfer the buns to a cookie sheet, and allow them to cool.
Need to add icing?
Whisk together 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons of milk, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Add vanilla and almond extracts to taste and continue to whisk.Drizzle as much or as little as you like over your buns.
For those of your who are health conscious, these things pack 350 calories each. Sure, that may deter you from making them, but that would be a mistake. For you calorie counters, sometimes you just have to live a little!