While I have still have some work to do tying up the consulting end of my thesis project, I feel like I need slowly make a return to “normal” life (instead of cave into temptation to sit and stare at the wall). To kick this off, I made cinnamon buns. These great buns have become one of my signature dishes, and the smell of them baking really did make me feel that a small amount of normalcy has returned to my life.
Yield: 16 buns
1 cup milk (or almond or soy milk)
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1/3 cup margarine, melted
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
margarine for spreading
~ 1/2 cup brown sugar
~ 1 tsp. cinnamon
1 apple, diced finely
If using a bread machine, place ingredients in the bread pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer, and process through the dough cycle.
If mixing by hand, heat the milk until very warm and add to a large mixing bowl. Take 1 teaspoon of sugar from the measured half cup, and stir it into the warm milk. Stir in the yeast and allow to proof until it resembles a creamy foam, about 10 minutes. Mix in margarine and remaining sugar, and stir well.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Add a tablespoon of the warm yeast mixture into the eggs and mix well; then add the eggs into the yeast mixture. Mix in salt and add flour, one cup at a time, stirring until dough forms. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic (I use the dough hook of my Kitchen Aid mixer and “knead” for 10 minutes).
Place into an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Once the dough has doubled or has completed a bread machine dough cycle, turn it onto a lightly floured surface, cover with a towel and let rest for 10 minutes. As I find it easier to work with smaller amounts of dough, at this point I cut the dough in half; roll one half of the dough into a rectangle about 16 x 12 inches. Spread with a thin and even layer of margarine, then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. I use about 1/4 cup of brown sugar and heaping 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon for each half of dough but adjust according to your preference. Top with half of the diced apple, then roll up the dough and cut into 8 2-inch segments. Arrange buns in greased pie plate; repeat with the other half of the dough.
Cover both plates of buns and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees so that it is hot when the buns have completed rising. Uncover buns and bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. We find them delicious without icing, but ice if you wish. Enjoy!