Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cinnamon Buns (Rolls) with Cream Cheese Icing (No Shortcuts Here!)

I love cinnamon rolls and the smell of Cinnabon reminds me of my childhood when my family and I would frequent the mall. Every once in awhile, my parents would let my siblings and I indulge on cinnamon bun for all of us to share. As much as I always wanted to have my own cinnamon roll, I always had just the right amount to be satisfied until the next indulgence! It was a good idea that my parents never bought me my own cinnamon bun because when I was 12, I went to this food fair in California and I got to try all of these different foods. One station made their own cinnamon rolls. I watched in awe behind the glass on the magic of cinnamon rolls. As I saw the bakers slobber sticks and sticks of butter on the bread dough, I began to feel this heavy pitted feeling in my stomach. I told my mom I never wanted to eat a cinnamon roll again because it looked disgusting. She laughed but I was as serious as a 12 year old could be!

That experience is still vivid in my memory but there is something about the cinnamon-ness in a cinnamon roll that just makes it a divine treat. I will indulge every once in awhile and if I do, I will eat a bite...or two. The thing is if you make it on your own cinnamon buns, you can regulate the fat in the recipe, you'll feel better about yourself by regulating how much you make and eat. I'm not saying this recipe is not fattening but I feel better about eating something that I made. The smell of the cinnamon buns baking in the oven is one of the greatest scents because it reminds me so much of my childhood. Now, I can recreate those memories right in my own kitchen.

If I learned one thing from my cinnamon buns encounter it is the importance of the icing. While cinnamon buns are delectable on their own, the icing really make a cinnamon bun from good to stupendous! I used a cream cheese icing for this recipe because I love cream cheese but it also provides a depth of flavor beyond a simple sweetness that a standard icing provides. I kept the integrity of the cream cheese by not adding hat much sugar so you can still taste the cream cheese but doesn't overpower the cinnamon goodness.

I am proud of this cinnamon bun baking experience for many reasons. First, this is my first time making homemade cinnamon buns (I have only made shortcut Cinnamon Bun Bread before). Second, I found making these cinnamon buns pretty easy. I usually have some sort of anxiety when it comes to making bread. I remember when I first started baking bread, I was a hot mess. I didn't understand how particular I had to be when it came to the directions and that yeast is a very sensitive matter. If the liquid is too cold, the yeast takes a long time to activate. If the liquid is too hot, the yeast can die. I have experienced both but I guess it is what has gotten me to this feeling of ease. I am so happy with the result of my cinnamon buns and I'm even happier to share my experience with you!

 Cinnamon buns before they went into the oven. If you think this looks good, just wait!

 Lookin' good, ain't it? They are missing something though...

Finished product with cream cheese icing. Cinnamon buns aren't cinnamon buns without the icing.

Cinnamon Buns
compliments of Better Homes and Garden Cook Book

 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package of active dry yeast
1 cup milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

Cinnamon Filling
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter

Cream Cheese Icing
3 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

1. Combine 2 cups of flour and package of yeast in a mixing bowl. Set aside
2. In a small saucepan, heat and stir milk, sugar, 1/3 cup butter, and salt until just warm (120 F - 130 F). Make sure mixture is not too hot or else you will kill the yeast. Add liquid mixture to lfour mixture along with eggs. beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 20 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wood spoon (or mixer) and stir in as much of the remaining 2 to 2-1/2 cups of flour as you can.
3. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead dough to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3-5 minutes). Add more flour if needed. Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface of dough. cover, let rise in a warm place until double in size (1 to 1-1/2 hours).
4. Punch dough down. turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half. Cover and rest dough halves for 10 minutes. Lightly grease 2 8x8x2 baking pans; set aside.
5. For filling: stir together brown sguar, the 1/4  cup flour, and cinnamon;using a pastry belnder, cut in 1/3 cup butter until mmixture resembles coarse crumb.
6. roll douogh half into 12x8 inch retangle. Sprinkle filling over dough, leaving one inch unfilled along one of the long sides. Roll each rectangle, starting from the filling long side. Pinch dough to seal seams. Slice each rolled rectangle into 12 equal pieces. Arrange in prepared pans. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in as warm place until nearly double in size (about 30 minutes).
7. Preheat oven to 375 F. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for about 5 minutes and remove from pans. Drizzle icing on top.

Icing Preparation:
1. In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in milk, 1 teaspoon at a time until desired spreading consistency is reached.

Enjoy your cinnamon buns. If you're eating it after it cools, place a piece in the microwave for 10 seconds to heat up and eat!

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