Cinnamon buns are the quintessential comfort food and weekend treat in my eyes, reminding us to slow down and treat ourselves.
Technique tip: Allow the dough to rest as long as possible so it develops flavor and is easier to work with. The color should be one of your top factors when judging doneness.
Special equipment: Stand mixer.
For the cinnamon sugar:
In a bowl, stir the sugar and cinnamon together until evenly incorporated. Set aside.
For the dough:1.
Combine milk and yeast in mixing bowl and stir until full incorporated.2.
Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in separate bowl and set aside.3.
Divide 2 sticks of butter into 8 portions total and set aside.4.
Whisk honey, eggs and vanilla extract together and add to milk in mixing bowl.5.
Fit stand mixer with hook attachment.6.
Add flour mixture to the egg/milk mixture in the mixing bowl.7.
Knead dough with hook attachment on speed 3 for 3 to 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl every other minute, until dough has come together.8.
Slowly add divided butter, one portion at a time, allowing the butter to fully incorporate into the dough before adding the next piece (about every 3 minutes).9.
Once you've added the last portion of butter, let dough mix until fully incorporated and it looks silky, about 5 minutes.10.
While dough is mixing, lightly grease a bowl that is at least twice the size of the dough.11.
When dough has finished mixing, dump into greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.12.
Place dough in refrigerator and let rest for at least 8 hours. 12 hours is best.13.
Lightly flour work surface and remove dough from refrigerator.14.
Melt remaining 1/2 stick of butter in microwave until just melted. You don't want it too hot.15.
Dump dough onto counter and shape it roughly into a rectangle.16.
Roll dough into a 14- by 20-inch rectangle even in thickness.17.
Using a pastry brush, brush butter over entire rectangle. Don't worry if you don't use it all.18.
Sprinkle cinnamon sugar evenly over dough.19.
Starting on the end of the long side, roll the dough into a 24-inch log. It will naturally stretch as you roll. Double check that the ends are even.20.
Cut the log at 2-inch increments, making 12 pieces.21.
Lightly grease a 9- by 13-inch pan with nonstick spray.22.
Evenly space the buns, pinwheel-side up, in the pan in 3 rows of 4.23.
Place buns in a warm area, away from draft, to rise. Buns should take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, depending on the ambient temperature. Buns are ready to bake when they have just doubled in size and are just touching each other.24.
Preheat oven to 350 F.25.
When buns are done rising, place in preheated oven and bake 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden-brown.
For the icing:1.
Beat the cream cheese with paddle attachment in mixing bowl, scraping sides halfway through, for 3 minutes.2.
Add the soft butter and beat for 3 more minutes.3.
Reduce speed and add powdered sugar, one pound at a time, until all sugar is incorporated.4.
Add salt and vanilla extract and mix 1 for minute.5.
Add milk and mix until smooth. Add more milk if you'd like a runnier consistency. Set icing aside.
Remove buns from oven and let cool briefly. We like to ice our buns when they are warm, not hot, so the icing gets melty and drippy!
Gently spread prepared icing over buns. Cool and enjoy!