Here are three ways to make the most unforgettable cinnamon buns to round out your 2022 and kick 2023 off with a sweet bang:
1) Make a shockingly easy, yeasty, fluffy, cloud-like dough, scented simply with cinnamon and vanilla.
2) Do the warm cream trick!! You’ll see what I mean and fans of a certain cinnamon bun mall chain will want to pay extra close attention.
3) Dollop with homemade vanilla bean cream cheese frosting, dust it with sugar, and scorch it to crackling, candied top perfection!!!
I am truly speechless. Behold, Creme Brûlée Cinnamon Buns!!!
Prep time: 3 hours
Cook time: 22 minutes
Serves: 10 to 12
1 cup warm whole milk (110-115ºF)
1 (1/4-ounce) packet instant yeast
2 large eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for greasing
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
½ teaspoon sea salt
¾ to 1 cup heavy cream, slightly warmed
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
½ cup superfine sugar, for dusting
•Add the warm milk to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment and sprinkle the yeast evenly over the top and mix gently with a fork. Add the eggs, butter, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and 3 ½ cups of flour. Mix on low speed until the ingredients just come together, about 2 minutes. Then increase the speed to medium and allow to knead for 8 to 10 minutes until a dough forms that is elastic and smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl (there may or may not be an actual ball of dough around the hook, it often depends on the temperature and moisture in the room). The dough will be very sticky!
•Grease a large bowl with butter and place the dough into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size in a warm, draft-free area, about an hour to 1 hour 30 minutes.
•Meanwhile, prepare the filling. In a small bowl stir together the butter, brown sugar, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Set aside. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with additional butter.
•After the dough has doubled in size, punch the dough down and place onto a well-floured surface. Roll the dough using a floured rolling pin into an 18 x 14-inch rectangle. Spread the filing evenly over the dough using an offset spatula, leaving about 1-inch border on the edge of the dough (this helps the dough to adhere to itself once rolled). Roll the dough up tightly, starting with the long end, jelly roll style. Cut into 10 to 12 pieces, the key here is to use a sharp chef’s knife and quickly and forcefully cut downwards, do not saw the knife back and forth or that will tear your dough.
•Place the rolls evenly into the baking dish, cut side up. They won’t touch each other at this point, but will after rising for the second time. Cover again with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and allow to rise until they have doubled in size, 45 minutes to an hour.
•Preheat the oven to 400ºF and place a rack in the center of the oven. Pour the heavy cream over the rolls and bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until risen, puffed, and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes before frosting.
•Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a clean stand mixer using the paddle attachment or hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, a minute or two. Add the powdered sugar in stages, about 1 cup at a time, beating until incorporated and scraping down the sides as needed. Add the vanilla bean paste and continue beating until smooth.
•Individually on each cinnamon roll, spread a nice thick layer of frosting. Place the superfine sugar in a small bowl. Dip the frosting into the sugar to evenly coat the top. Torch the sugar using a culinary torch until golden brown and candied. Serve, the sugar on top should crack just like crème brulee!
•Tip: If you’re in a pinch to find superfine sugar, place regular granulated sugar in a high speed blender and pulse a couple of times until more finely ground.