If there is one thing I remember my mom baking growing up it was cinnamon buns. I can remember so vividly the way the butter felt on my hands as I spread it onto the rolled out dough. The sweet smell that came from the oven while they were baking filled our home with warmth and love. And there is nothing like the taste of a fresh bun right out of the oven... YUM!
There is a lot of different doughs that can be used to make cinnamon buns. Most of the time to be honest, I use my bread dough. That way I can make cinnamon buns AND 3 loafs of bread at the same time! But for this recipe, I'll give you the dough recipe I use just for cinnamon buns. It's my Grandma Thomas's recipe!
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups warm water
2 tsp yeast (heaping)
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp salt
9 cups flour (or until dough pulls away from sides of mixer)
1. In your mixer add water, sugar and yeast. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes or until bubbles form.
2. Add eggs, oil and salt. Mix.
3. Add about 3 cups of flour to the mixture or enough to thicken the mixer into a batter. (right before it turns into a dough) Mix well for about 2-4 minutes.
4. Slowly add flour to your mixture until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl or until dough is not sticky to touch. (when you touch the dough it shouldn't come off on your hands, if it does you need more flour.
5. Roll dough out onto a lightly flour surface and kneed. Add extra flour if you find that the dough is too sticky.
6. Form into a ball and place into a lightly grease large bowl. Pat the top of the dough with a little bit of butter and cover with plastic wrap.
7. Let rise in a warm place until dough becomes approximately double the size of what you started with. This usually takes about an hour.
While dough is rising make your Caramel Sauce!
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup cream
1 TBsp cinnamon
1. Place all ingredients in a sauce pan on low heat until all ingredients are melted together. Take off heat and set aside.
ROLLING OUT THE DOUGH
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
When the dough has risen to approximately double it's size, dump it out onto a clean, greased surface. Pull out your rolling pin and roll the dough into a rectangle shape. Make sure the dough is an even thickness and a little less than a half an inch thick.
Now here comes the messy part!!
Use your hands to spread out a good amount of butter onto the surface of your dough. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. I usually add a little more cinnamon then I think would be enough. Starting on one of the long sides of your rectangle, start to roll the dough until its almost all the way rolled up. Pull the end of the dough up and around the rolled portion and then pinch it together. You should have a long roll with the end pinched off so it's nicely put together.
I like to place the caramel sauce in the pan and put the buns on top but you can also place the buns in the pan and put the caramel on top. Either way they are delicious! I just find it harder to tell when the buns are done with the sauce on the top because they don't brown as well. Place your caramel sauce in 2, 9x13 pans. Don't use a glass pan because it doesn't brown on the bottom as well. With a serrated knife cut your roll into 2 inch pieces and place them into the baking dishes. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes or until slightly risen.
Place pans into the oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Over baking cinnamon buns makes the caramel chewy and hard when cooled. Don't worry, if you end up over baking them they taste great warmed up in a microwave!
Place wax paper underneath a cooling rack to catch all of the drippings. When cinnamon buns are done, take them out of the oven and let them cool for about 3-5 minutes in the pan. This allows the caramel to cool slightly and then it will stick to the buns better! Turn them out onto the cooling racks and scrape out any remaining caramel out onto the buns.
YOU DID IT!!
Enjoy the fruits of your labour!!
Oh and remember... the more you make them the BETTER and EASIER they are going to be!! Cinnamon Buns are one of those things that takes practice to get good at. They don't always turn out exactly how you hope. But when you get it JUST right, they are better then anything you'll ever eat : ) At least thats what I think!