Cinnamon Buns

May 2, 2011

For a good five months now, I have been wanting to make my own cinnamon buns. Muffins, cakes, cookies, sure – but cinnamon buns, now they’re really something special.

I remember working in a café with an American Chef a few years ago. One day business was slow, and so he whipped up a batch of cinnamon buns. Out of the oven they came, I can still remember the smell… I was in utter rapture as we delighted in warm, fresh, fluffy buns. Chef danced around the kitchen gleefully as he enjoyed one of his home country’s signature sweets. Needless to say, they have been on my mind ever since.

Late last year, I saw a beautiful recipe for cinnamon buns on Heidi Swanson’s blog, 101 Cookbooks (see recipe link here). I have been showering Heidi with quite a lot of love lately, forgive me, I can’t help myself. She’s just far too cool. Ever since I read about these cinnamon buns I have been itching to make them.

This has been a long itch, my friends. Why did I not scratch it sooner, you may ask? Surely if I was itching I would search for a remedy, i.e. make the darn buns. Well, it’s not as simple as that. You see, these buns contained an ingredient that was on my list (see this post, here, if you do not recall the list I speak of). In a nutshell, I was scared of yeast. Note that I just prefaced my confession with was. A typo, you may question? Indeed it is not, for I am no longer afraid of yeast.

Yes, yeast may be a micro-organism, but apart from that it is not scary at all. In fact it is a father glorious micro-organism… please stop calling it a micro-organism.

In all seriousness, yeast is pretty fantastic. It helps food to rise from a blob into a beautiful bun. It’s like the Fairy Godmother for baked goods. A Fairy Yeast-Mother, if you will. Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!

Originally I had planned on making these buns at Christmas, however we ended up pushing them back to Easter. Subsequently my itch was extended for a tidy 4 months. Ouch.

Come morning on Easter Sunday, I was ready to get my hands dirty, conquer my fear and experience the wonder and magic of the Fairy Yeast-Mother. My dad very kindly guided me through the entire process. He’s kind of a bread-making champion, so I latched onto his yeast experience.

Clearly this shot was taken first thing in the morning (and clearly I am enamoured with the yeast), so please excuse my nightgown. I adore it, however Ben informs me that it makes me look like an escapee from a mental institution.

Dad was also my photographer whilst I got my hands all doughy (I love that part). Thanks for all your help, dad! You’re my Fairy Yeast-Father! Sorry, that sounds terribly emasculating.

My favourite part was the kneading. What an arm workout! I’ll tell you, kneading has officially creeped into my top workout routines. Now I can say that I am not just all about cardio, I take my biceps very seriously. Plus, at the end of your hard work, you get bread or buns… or both! Is there a better workout? Surely not.

The dough was spiked with ground cardamom. Not only did this invite a beautiful, speckled appearance, but the aroma was intoxicating. Cardamom is so dreamy, it’s truly one of my top spices. I’m playing favourites a lot these days, aren’t I?

One mistake I did make was to combine the cinnamon and sugar with the butter before being spread on to the dough (rather than spreading the butter first, then scattering a cinnamon/sugar mix over the top). Although I doubt this would make much of a difference (correct me if I am wrong, please). One other thing, I *cough* used olive oil spread instead of butter *cough* as we were out (gasp, I know). Don’t worry, it was still amazing.

Rolling the dough is always a fun process. We scattered a little sugar over the buns after the egg wash, but not a lot. I feared they would be too sweet otherwise, as this recipe does contain a lot of sugar.

As these buns were cooking, the sweet, cinnamon and cardamom-infused aroma filtered through the air. I could not stop inhaling. It was heavenly. I don’t need to tell you, do I, can’t you just imagine? Cinnamon buns – those two words inherently invite you to inhale and sigh in delight.

These buns were soft on the inside, very much like a brioche, yet the dough had a welcomed structure to it in the outer layers. Be careful not to overcook these buns, otherwise they will be tough and not nearly as delightful as they should be. The cardamom offered a lovely, exciting flavour to the prominent sweetness of the dough and filling – it really stole the show for me.


We ate our cinnamon buns for brunch on Easter Sunday alongside Greek yoghurt, which cut though the sweetness nicely. Berries would also have been a nice addition. Or perhaps slices of refreshing honeydew. Or even some fresh figs. Oh the possibilities….

Heidi xo
  • Heavenly Ingredients May 2, 2011 at 7:17 am

    they look so impressive! thanks so much for posting this. how long did it take? (the one problem can be waiting for yeast…)

  • Ben C May 2, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Two words. Where's mine!

  • Michelle Chin May 2, 2011 at 8:00 am

    They sell this in KL as well. 😀 But yours look so much better cos its homemade

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) May 2, 2011 at 8:08 am

    These look perfect!! And I love the addition of cardamom yum!

  • Phe May 2, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Heidi, i love you. Nothing else, Love Phe x

  • Jennifer (Delicieux) May 2, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Oooh these look delicious Heidi!! Isn't amazing how smells can live on as a memory.

  • wholesomecook May 2, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Ooooooh! They look so yummy! I love cinnamon buns but am in a baking rehab at the moment… :-/ Adding to my to try recipes though.

  • Hannah May 2, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    I'm with you on the nightgown. Pretty! That said, if all mental asylum inmates were as awesome at baking as you, Bedlam would have been a happier place.

  • Blithely Unaware May 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Oh my god they look AMAZING Heidi!! Fluffy and sweet and delicious, I'm such a huge fan of cinnamon.

    Gorgeous post.

  • Heidi May 2, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Laura – there were 2 lots of 1 hour-long risings. & mine took ~17 mins to bake. all up nearly 3 hours. worth the effort!

    Ben C – hehe, I know, I'm thinking the same thing too – where's more!?

    Michelle – cinnamon buns are all over the world, it seems! Thanks, lovely.

    Lisa – the cardamom was ingenious!

    Phe – I love you too, pumpkin pie. You inspired me also, your buns looked amazing – I know how that sounded too, & I mean it both ways 🙂

    Jennifer – I know, it is so powerful!!

    wholesomecook – baking rehab?! Why oh why?

    Hannah – hahaha love it 🙂 thanks, Hannah!

    Blithely Unaware – thank you, lovely 🙂 Cinnamon rocks my world.

    Heidi xo

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 2, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    Oh me oh my! Those scrolls look absolutely divine! And just about perfect for a Mother's Day picnic! 😀

  • Sammy May 3, 2011 at 2:04 am

    That looks delicious! Thanks for showing!!

  • Kath (My Funny Little Life) May 3, 2011 at 4:28 am

    My dad would love these! And, ah, sometimes I really hate my carb sensitivity! :/

  • Heidi May 3, 2011 at 7:01 am

    Lorraine – indeed, perfect mothers day food! and a picnic…even better 🙂

    Sammy – you're welcome!

    Kath – I feel for you, it must be tough sometimes. At least you have all the delicious food you make!

    Heidi xo

  • Anna Johnston May 3, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Oh yeah baby, I used to work with an American chef who whipped these things up too like there was no tomorrow. Love the way you've finally scratched that long itch Heidi, bet the smell as they came out of the oven was to die for eh 🙂

  • Adrian (Food Rehab) May 3, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Gaawd, I haven't had these in ages. It's such comfort food during winter, especially when freshly baked. The smell sends me into Rehab.

  • Heidi May 4, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Anna – oh how lucky that you got these whenever chef had a craving!! The smell is insane!

    Adrian – yes, it's perfect winter comfort food 🙂

    Heidi xo

  • The InTolerant Chef May 5, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Wish I could have some of these, I just can't get a nice gfree substitute though 🙁

  • Heidi May 5, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    InTolerant Chef – oh 🙁 I know…I need to work on my GF baking. Such a whole different area though! I find it a little intimidating xo

  • Phuoc'n Delicious May 9, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Congrats on tackling the yeasty beast 🙂 I used to have a love-hate relationship with yeast. I never really would have a warm area in the house to let the mixture prove, but now I've worked out way to combat this. I love the pillowy softness that yeast gives to baked good and I'm glad you are now able to enjoy it.

    These cinnamon buns look scrumptious!

  • deb May 18, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    i am keen to make these too, but waiting to have a crowd around, because I fear I would eat the lot!!

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