The East Coast got hammered with snow this past weekend, so since I was snowed in, I figured I would bake something and get hammered, too. It’s a traditional New England winter sport, you know. I’ve always wanted to try making cinnamon buns from scratch, and this seemed like the perfect day. I knew this was bound to be a hell of a time, so I’m happy to report that I was joined by my sweet and wonderful friend Carly, who was duped into being/kidnapped as my baking partner. Baking is hard—you need the buddy system if you’re going to make it through.
Ultimately, we didn’t get as hammered as I had planned—Julia Child would have been disappointed. However, we did make amazing cinnamon buns. Forewarning: this recipe is time consuming and has a lot of steps that seems pointless but aren’t. Have no fear, it’s all for a worthy cause. Let’s get baked!
- 2 ¾ cups of flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp. butter
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup half and half (or really whatever kind of milk you’ve got on hand)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 packet instant yeast
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- ½ stick butter
- 1 tbsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Optional: ¼ or ½ tsp. coffee extract. We didn’t do this, but contemplated it. The flavors would complement one another nicely, so it’s something to consider if you want to mix it up!
- Icing/Heaven Juice:
- 1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
- ½ stick butter (or a little less if you’re running low after this Paula Deen-style cooking)
- 2-3 tbsp. half and half (or water)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Step 1: Grab a large bowl or stand mixer, and combine the flour, yeast, and salt.
Step 2: Plop the sugar, butter, water, and half and half in a microwaveable bowl, and nuke that until the butter is almost fully melted. Start out with a minute or so.
Step 3: Add the milk mixture to the flour and then add the egg. Mix all that ish up. If you’re using a stand mixer, a dough hook will work best. Use that on low. If not, then you’ll need to mix this all up and ultimately knead the dough until it’s nice and firm like the buttocks of a professional squatter. Weird description.
Step 4: Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it chill for a bit.
Step 5: We’re moving onto the filling. Combine the cinnamon, vanilla, and brown sugar in a bowl. Soften the remaining half stick of butter just enough that you can spread it without any trouble. Good work.
Step 6: Roll out your dough into a big ol’ rectangle. Take that soft/flaccid butter and spread it on every last inch of the dough. You want that thing greasier than a Calvin Klein model. This is gonna be tasty AF.
Step 7: Sprinkle your cinnamon sugar mixture all over the buttered dough and then roll the whole thing up neatly and tightly. Using a serrated knife (or dental floss or wire or something if you’re a pretentious little shit), slice the roll into twelve even pieces. Any leftover bits are yours for tasting raw. #yolo
Step 8: Heat the oven to 250. While that heats up, put the rolls into a 9×13 glass baking pan and cover it with tin foil or even a dish towel. Now shut the oven off (I know, wtf?) and put the buns in for 25 minutes to rise.
Step 9: Remove the buns, take off the foil, and preheat the oven to 375. Once it’s heated all the way, put the buns back in the oven and let ‘em bake for 15 minutes. I’m sorry that this is so freaking complicated.
Step 10: It’s time for the icing! This is the easiest part. Combine all of those ingredients listed under “Icing/Heaven Juice,” whisk them up, and wait for the buns to done…s.
Step 11: Once the buns are golden brown and buttery, take them out and try to manage a sliver of restraint while they cool. After about 16.4 seconds, throw some icing on those babies and stuff your face. This is your time to shine.