Forget about Cinnabons! These cinnamon buns are bigger and better. The recipe came from the King Arthur Flour site and I made a few adjustments so I could prepare them the night before Christmas and bake half of them on Christmas morning, freezing the rest for a later special breakfast. I also changed the method of preparing the filling slightly.
Makes 12 large buns
1 cup lukewarm milk
2 large eggs, room temperature
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
5 tbs unsalted butter, softened (plus an extra 2 tbs. melted to spread on dough)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 1/2 tbs cinnamon
3 oz Neufchatel cheese (or cream cheese), softened
4 tbs. unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
To make the dough:
Mix together all the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed for 4-6 minutes to make a smooth, soft dough. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let it rest, covered in a warm place until nearly doubled in bulk, 1 - 2 hours.
To Make the Filling:
Mix the softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon--using your hands may be easiest--until well combined.
To fill and shape the buns:
Gently deflate the dough and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface. Roll the dough into a 16 x 21" rectangle. Brush the rectangle with the 2 tbs melted butter. Spread the dough evenly with the filling mixture. Starting with a short end, roll the dough into a log and cut into 12 slices.
To make the icing:
In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla.
To bake the buns immediately:
Place on a greased 9 X 13 inch pan. Cover the pan and let rise about 30 minutes, until they are nearly doubled in size.
To make the buns the next day or to freeze for a later time:
Shape the buns and place them on a greased 9 X 13 inch pan (or in 2 nine inch round pans). Let rise for 15 minutes, then wrap carefully and place in the refrigerator (or freezer).
To bake the buns:
Remove from the refrigerator while the oven heats to 400 degrees. (If baking from frozen, remove from the freezer and let defrost in the refrigerator overnight.) Bake for 10 - 12 minutes.
To ice the buns:
Place half the icing on the buns as soon as they are removed from the oven. Let buns cool for 5 minutes, then frost with the remaining icing.
These are just incredible. The dough is soft and light; the filling is perfectly sweet without being cloying. The icing ties the 2 together. Pictures and words don't do them justice. I won't be looking for any other cinnamon bun recipe ever again.