I wanted to post this recipe just in case you haven’t decided yet on what to serve on Christmas morning. Every time I browse through the King Arthur’s website, I have the sudden urge to bake something with yeast. Yes, it is crazy right? Then I ran into this recipe that promises that I can actually prepare these buns ahead of time, and then just pop them in the morning just before breakfast instead of starting the dough at 3 in the morning (yawn!). I think we’re all always in the lookout for something special that we can deliver on the table for those special mornings , so I was hooked right away. I didn’t improvise with the recipe and I was really glad that I left it alone. They have the flavor of good old fashioned yeast buns filled with cinnamon, slathered in icing. It really doesn’t get better than that! I hope you will give this recipe a try, if not today, maybe some other days for that special morning with your loved ones. Wishing you and your family a very special Christmas and a happy New Year.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
3 1/2 cups unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons potato flour or 1/4 cup instant potato flakes
2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons soft or room-temperature butter
2/3 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 1/2 to 4 tablespoons cream or 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
Combine all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl, and mix and knead — using your hands, a stand mixer, or a bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth dough.
Place the dough in a lightly greased container — an 8-cup measure works well here — and allow the dough to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it’s just about doubled in bulk.
Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
Roll the dough into a 20″ long rectangle, about 12″ wide. This soft dough rolls easily, so you shouldn’t have much trouble with shrinking or “push back.”
Sprinkle 2 teaspoons cinnamon over the surface of the dough. A small sieve or tea strainer works well here.
Starting with a long side, roll the dough into a 24″ log; it’ll naturally stretch from its original 20″ to about 24″ as you roll. In order to make the neatest job of cutting out the buns, use a sharp knife to mark the log at 1 1/2″ intervals.
Slice the dough into 1 1/2″-thick buns. The neatest way to do this, by far, is by looping a piece of dental floss underneath the dough where you want to cut it, then pulling the ends in opposite directions. The floss will cut the dough neatly, without squashing it.
Lightly grease two 8″ round cake pans. Divide the buns between the two pans, spacing 8 in each pan.
Cover the pans, and allow the buns to rise till they’re crowded against one another and quite puffy, about 60 to 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Uncover the buns, and bake them for 20 to 23 minutes, until they’re golden brown on top and the edges of the center bun spring back lightly when you touch it.
To serve buns now: Just before the buns are done, stir together the confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, and cream or milk to make the glaze. Turn the hot buns out of the pan onto a rack, and brush with the melted butter. Spread with the glaze, and serve immediately.
To serve buns later: Turn the hot buns out of the pan onto a rack, and brush with the melted butter. Cool completely. Wrap airtight and store at room temperature for a couple of days; for longer storage, freeze. Just before serving, tent the buns lightly with foil, and rewarm in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 minutes (a bit longer, for frozen buns). Stir together the glaze, brush over the buns, and serve warm.
Yield: 16 glazed cinnamon buns.