Thursday, May 10, 2012

Even Better Cinnamon Swirls

I really love cinnamon buns. They are just so amazing. Everybody should get to experience how good they can be. The first time that I had Cinnabon I really loved it, but if anything Cinnabon is too much, to the point that it's no longer a good thing. They have cinnamon buns at the supermarket here and sometimes if I am shopping on an empty stomach I buy one, but they're not amazing - perhaps because they are not very fresh. I have a recipe for sultana cinnamon buns from a cookbook that I had lying around but they really were not perfect. They were good fresh out of the oven but not so good later. Plus they were not as rich and sweet as I would have liked. So I have always been looking for something better. I saw a new recipe finally, in which the pictures looked absolutely amazing, from The Baker Chick, with brown butter and cream cheese frosting. Plus she has step-by-step photos, so I haven't bothered this time around. The recipe was quite different to my own - it was a lot larger for one thing, with a richer, sweeter dough and a far shorter cooking time. I followed her recipe almost exactly, only I added some sultanas to the dough. I love the addition of brown butter, not to mention her method of making it in the microwave - it was so much easier and the result was far better. The one problem that I found with these was that the swirls wanted to come undone after they were baked - I think there was far too much sugar, so much so that the layers of dough would not bind together. So I have reduced the sugar, increased the cinnamon and I'm going to be very hard pressed to not make these (and eat the whole lot) every weekend!

Brown Butter Cinnamon Swirls

3 1/4 cups strong flour (500 grams)
1 sachet fast-acting instant yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sultanas
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1 egg

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

100 grams cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 cups icing sugar

Begin by taking a large bowl and combining 2 and 1/4 cups of flour, the sugar, yeast, salt and sultanas . Then, in a small bowl or jug, heat up the milk, butter and water in the microwave, until it is moderately hot and the butter has melted. Stir the liquid until the butter is fully melted and then make sure that it is not so hot that you cannot put your finger in it. Add the egg and give it a quick whisk.

Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir it well with a fork or a large spoon. Then let the mixture just sit for 10 minutes while you prepare the filling. Letting it sit is supposed to help the gluten to relax or something, and will give you a better rise. It gives us time to prepare the filling so we won't question it.

The filling is my favourite part because it involves brown butter. This time around I made it in the microwave and it worked out so great! You will need a small glass bowl or just, one that will hold at least 500 mL. Place the butter in the microwaveable jug or bowl and place a lid or saucer on top, because the butter will bubble and pop and you don't want to make a huge mess. Microwave the butter on high for 3 to 5 minutes (I did 3, took it out and gave it a stir, then another 2). You want to microwave it until it has changed colour. It will bubble up quite a lot and there will be lots of little pops from the microwave. When you take it out it will be very frothy - stir it a little and scrape all of the residue from the sides. Then just let it sit and cool.

While the butter cools you can finish your bread dough. Add the remaining cup of flour and mix it in with your hands. Tip the dough out onto a clean, floured work surface and knead it for 5 minutes - it will go from a sticky, flaky mixture to a smooth, soft dough. When the dough is ready, roll it out into a rectangle that is about 30 cm by 22 cm (like a swiss roll tin).

By now your butter should have cooled and as it has cooled it should have changed colour again, from golden to quite a dark, toasty brown. This is a much better way to do it than on the stove-top, I was so pleased with the result! Add the sugar and cinnamon to the butter and give it a good stir (this is not how the Baker Chick did it but I like short-cuts). Spoon the filling over the dough, spreading it around with the back of the spoon to make it even, until you have used all of the filling. Then you need to roll the dough up really tight (I always have trouble with this part).

Prepare a dish for baking them in - you could use a metal baking tin or a glass oven dish, so long as it is about 30 cm by 22 cm (roughly, I'm sure it will be right, I just used my big brownie tin and it's a fair bit larger than that). I lined mine with baking paper but you don't absolutely have to. Slice your long roll of dough into 12 even pieces and place them in your prepared dish - there should be space for about a centimetre between each one. Let them rise in a warm place (like an oven that has been heated a little and then turned off) for about 30 minutes, then bake them at 190 degrees celsius for just 20 minutes! Take them out and let them cool for about 10 minutes or so.

While the buns are cooling prepare the frosting: simply place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and beat well. Then spread some frosting on each bun and enjoy them while they are warm and gooey!


  1. Hi Jaimie,
    Your Cinnamon Swirls are just beautiful, and I can almost taste them. Hope you have a Very Special Week End and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  2. I could swim in brown butter. Oh my these look AMAZING.


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