Cinnamon buns are one of my most favourite things. They are my treat of choice and truth be told I like them more than cake - which is a big statement because I love cake!

But despite how much I love them, until Christmas I had never tried to make them, figuring they would be very difficult and time consuming.

But as Christmas was a very long way from normal last year I thought I would pull out all the stops to try and make it memorable because of the food rather than a virus. And so our 2020 Christmas menu featured Mushroom and Asparagus Wellington and Black Forest Yule Log for lunch and Cinnamon buns for breakfast. I will post the recipes for our lunch later but this post is going to focus on breakfast!

I can not claim the credit for this recipe, as it is based on one from the Minimalist Baker - who I highly recommend you check out - with only minor tweaks.

It is a surprisingly simple recipe with only 7 ingredients. But it made the best cinnamon buns I have ever tasted.

While they are not the healthiest thing on the planet, I'm a strong believer that food should be enjoyed. I think that there is more than one way that food can nourish you, there is the obvious nutritional aspect, but I also think that the sense of acheivement you get from making, sharing and eating something you've made nutures you in a different way. Obviously I'm not recommending you eat these for breakfast every day, but a treat once in a while and on special occasions I honestly think you'll be hard pressed to find something to eat that makes you as happy as these wee buns do.

They are best eaten within a day or two of making as they go stale fast - I certainly didn't find this to be a problem as they got eaten very quickly!

INGREDIENTS  (makes 9):

DOUGH

45g Sunflower margarine*

2 + 1/4 tsp Fast action yeast

240ml Almond milk*

1 tbsp Caster sugar

1/4 tsp Salt

410g Plain flour

FILLING

45g Sunflower margarine*

30g Soft brown sugar

10g Caster Sugar

10g Demerara Sugar

5 tsp Ground Cinnamon

GLAZE

30g Sunflower margarine*

*Other plant based variants also work, such as coconut milk or olive based margarine. I just prefer to use almond milk and sunflower margarine because they don't create a strong flavour in the dough.

METHOD

DOUGH

1. Heat the almond milk and margarine in a large sauce pan until melted, don't allow it to boil. Then remove it from the heat and allow it to cool to 43C (bath water temperature). If it is too hot, it will kill the yeast when you add it to the mixture.

2. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Let it activate for 10 minutes.

3. Add the salt and the sugar and stir.

4. Next add the flour gradually, 2 tbsps at a time stirring as you go. This dough will be sticky!

5. When it is too thick to stir, transfer it to a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or until it forms a loose ball (be careful not to overmix or the buns will be stodgy).

6. Rinse out the mixing bowl and coat it with olive oil, then add your dough ball back in. Cover it with another bowl or a tea towl and set it in a warm place to rise for about an hour (or until it has doubled in size).

FILLING

7. Just before the end of the proving process melt the filling margine in a saucepan on a gentle heat - again avoid it boiling.

8. Combine the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and mix until the cinnamon is evenly distributed.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

9. Once the dough has doubled in size, roll it out into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface until it is just under a centimeter in thickness.

10. Brush the top of the rolled out dough with the melted margarine and then sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly over it.

11. Starting at the short end, tightly roll up the dough. When fully rolled up situate the seam at the bottom.

12. Grease a 20 x 20 pan / pyrex dish with margarine. Make sure it is well greased to avoid the buns from sticking.

13. Using a sharp knife cut the dough using a gentle sawing motion (to avoid squashing the the buns) into 4cm sections. Place each section with the spiral facing upwards in the dish once you have cut it off. They should touch each other in the dish.

14. Brush the top with melted butter to glaze, then cover with a tea towel and allow them to rise again while you preheat the oven to 180C

BAKE!

15. Once the oven is hot, bake the rolls for 25-30 minutes or until slightly golden brown.

16. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes and then serve!

(I chose not to put icing on mine because I'm not a big icing fan, but if you are and you want to add it check out the original recipe here.)

with love,
Samantha