The tastes of winter. We’ve already explored mint, but what about one of the other quintessential flavors? The warmth of cinnamon brings about brighter days when it’s dark and dreary outside. It would be difficult to survive winter’s wrath without it.
What better way to wake up on Christmas morning than with cinnamon buns in your oven? The aroma will tickle the noses of the slumbering bodies throughout your home, gently beckoning them to rise and shine.
You don’t have to wake at the butt crack of dawn to replicate this idyllic scene. You can make the buns the night before, refrigerating them in their baking pans, ready to be popped in the oven at your convenience. Or, if you’re a bigger planner than that, make them up to 3 weeks in advance and stash them in the freezer (I just put the pans right into zip top freezer bags and freeze them that way). Transfer to the refrigerator the night before and you’ll be ready to impress everyone without bugging out from stress on Christmas morn.
I started with the Cinnabon Clone recipe on allrecipes.com but added my own twist. I needed chocolate. Chocolate and coconut. And nuts. Because it wouldn’t be complete without the nuts. You can leave any or all out; it’s your bun. They’ll be delicious no matter how you choose to make them.
- 1 cup warm whole milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup vanilla sugar
- 3½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 2½ tsp instant dry/bread machine yeast
- ⅓ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- ½ cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup toasted coconut
- ½ cup chopped toasted almonds
- 3 oz full fat cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ cups confectioners' sugar
- ½ vanilla bean, scraped
- Put the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine in the order directed by the manufacturer (in my case, that means wet first, then dry, or exactly in the order listed).
- Set machine to dough cycle, watching during the first 5 minutes to add more flour if too wet or more milk if too dry.
- After dough has completed the dough cycle and doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the filling ingredients, excluding the butter.
- Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into roughly a 16"x21" rectangle.
- Spread the ⅓ cup butter for the filling over the surface of the dough and sprinkle on top the rest of the filling ingredients.
- Take the rolling pin and roll it over the filling to press it in a bit.
- Starting on the short side, tightly roll up the dough into a cylinder.
- Using a very sharp knife (I use my tomato knife), cut the cylinder into 14 buns.
- Take 2 8-inch cake pans and grease them well with butter. Arrange the buns inside of them, 7 in each pan.
- If you're going to freeze them, this is when you pop the pans into zip top freezer bags and throw them in the freezer. You can also put them in the refrigerator at this point to be baked later in the day or the next morning. I wouldn't recommend leaving them in the fridge for more than 36 hours.
- If you're baking right away, cover and put the pans in a warm, draft-free location to rise for the next 30 minutes. On top of the stove while you're preheating the oven is a great spot.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
- While the buns are baking, prepare the frosting.
- Beat together all the ingredients until smooth.
- Spread on warm rolls before serving.
Don’t forget to see what everyone else has made for Week 2 of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies & Sweets. Get those wheels churning and your bookmarks ready, so you won’t be left out in the cold this holiday baking season!