This recipe for Grandma’s cinnamon buns gives you everything you hope for in this classic breakfast pastry, down to the sweet sugar glaze!
Full disclosure, I am purely the photographer when it comes to these cinnamon buns. Well, and the eater of WAY more of them than I should be. But they are the BEST cinnamon buns I have ever tasted, and believe me, I have taken every available opportunity to do exhaustive research on this topic, from Cinnabon on down the line.
So here’s the background information on this. This weekend I got to do a nice long portrait session with my nephew, aka The Most Beautiful Baby Boy On The Planet.
Anyway, we knew this portrait project was going to take a good long time, because we ultimately we needed him to fall asleep so that I could get some of those delicious angelic sleeping baby shots, and so his grandma offered to make lunch for everyone involved. And there were a lot of people involved. It takes a village to photograph such adorableness.
So in she came with all the fixings for a great lunch…and a GIANT, and I do mean GIANT, pan of cinnamon rolls. Those of you who are lucky enough to know my mother know exactly what I mean. Those of you who don’t…just imagine if Costco was a person and baked cinnamon rolls. That many. And they looked very lovely, but like basic cinnamon rolls. I was in the zone, photographing away, and grabbed a sandwich but thought, oh, I will have one of those later. Because a cinnamon roll is a cinnamon roll, right?
These are incredible. Light, sweet, airy dough. Just the right amount of cinnamon swirled inside, especially at the center part of the roll. You know that part I’m talking about, right? Cinnamon roll nirvana? Yes, that part. And a light, sweet frosting on top of all of them. Later that day after everyone had gone home and I finally had one, I thanked my lucky stars that my mom always makes enough for leftovers. Because believe me, I am guarding the rest of these little gems like a hawk. I am thinking about charging admission for them.
Did we get the adorable sleeping baby picture, you are wondering?
And for something ALMOST as sweet, here is the recipe for his grandma’s cinnamon buns!
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 stick butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 6 cups white flour (Grandma recommends King Arthur brand)
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 teaspoons REALLY GOOD cinnamon. Grandma made a point of emphasizing this to me and I always do what she says.
- 1/2 stick butter, softened
- 1 pound bag powdered sugar
- 1/2 stick softened butter
- 4–6 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons double strength vanilla
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in water in large bowl and let sit for 5 minutes until foamy.
- Meanwhile, put milk and butter in microwavable dish and heat for 1 1/2 minutes.
- Add eggs, sugar, salt, milk/butter and about 1/2 flour to yeast mixture and stir until smooth. Gradually add remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until you get a firm soft dough. Reserve the final 1/2 cup of flour and place on surface of table. (Personally, I would place on a Silpat, if you have one.)
- Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until smooth. The dough should be soft but not stick to your hands. Add flour as needed.
- Place in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put in warm place to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down and let rise again for 30 minutes.
- For filling, combine sugar and cinnamon. After last rising, place the dough on a floured surface and roll into a 30″ a 15″ rectangle.
- Spread dough with softened butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar
- Starting with the long end, roll up the dough and pinch the edges together to form a long roll. Cut the roll into 24 pieces and place the pieces in a 17′ x 12″ pan.
- Let rise until double, about an hour, then bake for 20-25 minutes at 37Remove from oven and let cool.
- While rolls cool, make frosting by creaming butter with half of the powdered sugar and vanilla. Gradually add milk and remaining sugar and blend well. Frost rolls while still a little warm.
- 1Eat, and remember why we love our grandmas so much.