Welcome back to the sixth and final instalment of my Autumn of Baking. I hope you have enjoyed joining me and maybe been inspired to try a new bake too! If you haven’t caught up with my latest post about baking multi-seed bread, click here.
Today, I intend to go out with a bang. As we approach the coldest days of winter, what I think you need is sugar and spice and all things nice. So what would be more perfect for cold mornings than Sticky Honey Cinnamon Buns.
Cinnamon, or zimt as we lovingly call it after trips to Germany, evokes the run up to Christmas in a scent. It is used almost everywhere from candles to Christmas baking and its warming smell wafts through homes and Christmas markets alike.
The recipe for Cinnamon Buns or Rolls originally comes from Sweden, where they are still the most popular today. Sweden has even dedicated a full day (kanelbullens dag on 4th October) to the celebration of this delicious sweet treat.
There are many different versions, from tear-and-share bakes, which resemble a Chelsea bun, to individual snail-like buns, baked in muffin tins. The most popular time to eat them in Sweden is at ‘Fika’ – which is not unlike our elevenses, with coffee and buns served in the morning with friends. Perhaps it isn’t surprising that an average Swede consumes 316 buns a year.
The recipe I have chosen comes from the GBBO (Great British Bake Off) Big Book of Baking. It is a hybrid of a Chelsea Bun and Cinnamon roll with the added extra of nuts – I used walnuts but the recipe says that using almonds, pecans or macadamias would work just as well. I think it would be the perfect decadent breakfast/brunch in the run up to Christmas and if you make it a day ahead, you can just warm it up on the day.
Here is the recipe…
Makes twelve buns
For the sweet dough
450g strong white bread flour
1 x 7g sachet fast action dried yeast (I used Allison Easy Bake Yeast)
7g sea salt, crushed
1 medium free-range egg, at room temperature
2 tablespoons set honey
about 250ml lukewarm milk (I used full fat milk, as I always use it in enriched doughs and the recipe didn’t specify.)
For the sticky filling and topping
140g set honey
140g unsalted butter, softened (I used salted butter)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
140g light brown muscovado sugar
about 50ml whipping or single cream
100g walnut pieces (or the nuts of your choice.)
1 roasting tin or baking tin (not loose-based), about 22 x 30 x 5cm, greased with butter
A large mixing bowl
A wooden spoon
A rolling pin
A sharp knife
A baking tray (larger than the baking tin to transfer the baked buns onto, once they have baked)
How to make the bake
- To make the dough, put the flour, yeast and salt into a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a free standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook) and mix together. Make a well in the centre.
- Mix the egg with the honey and 225ml of the lukewarm milk. (ESB Top Tip : I took lukewarm to mean slightly warmer than room temperature, so I warmed the milk gently in a small saucepan before adding to the egg and honey mix.) When thoroughly combined pour into the well in the flour and mix everything together by hand (or with the mixer on the lowest speed) to make a very soft but not sticky dough that leaves the side of the bowl clean – add more milk as needed to make a dough that isn’t hard or dry.
- Turn out the dough on to a lightly floured worktop and knead thoroughly for 10 minutes (or 5 minutes in the mixer on lowest speed) until the dough feels silky smooth and very stretchy. (ESB Top Tip : Have plenty of flour on hand as the honey in the dough makes it sticky to work with.)
- Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a snap-on lid or clingfilm. Leave to rise at normal room temperature for about 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size.
- Punch down the risen dough to deflate it before turning it out on to a lightly floured worktop. Press or roll it out to a 25 x 30cm rectangle of even thickness. Cover lightly with a sheet of clingfilm and leave to rest while you make the filling/topping mix.
- Put the honey, soft butter, cinnamon and sugar into a mixing bowl and beat well with a wooden spoon until smooth and slightly fluffy. Stir in just enough cream to make the mixture slightly sloppy (don’t worry if it looks as if it is about to curdle.) (ESB Top Tip : Add the cream slowly to the mix as you can always add more but can’t take it away!)
- Uncover the dough and spread over about a third of the cinnamon mixture. Scatter half the nuts evenly over the dough, then roll up from one long side – the roll will feel (and look) a bit sticky at this point. Pinch the seam so the dough roll doesn’t unravel, then cut across into 12 even-sized pieces with a very sharp knife. (ESB Top Tip : No matter how regular the size of the rectangle, I found the buns came out imperfect – but don’t worry as they all fit together in an imperfect jigsaw.)
- Spoon the rest of the sticky cinnamon mixture into the prepared tin and spread evenly. Set the rolls cut side up on top so they are barely touching. Slip the tin into a large plastic bag, slightly inflate it so the plastic won’t stick to the dough as it rises and secure the ends. Leave to rise as before for about 45 minutes until doubled in size. Towards the end of the rising time, heat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Uncover the tin and bake in the heated oven for about 25 minutes until the buns are golden and the filling is bubbling up around them. Set the tin on a heatproof surface and leave to cool for a couple of minutes until the bubbling subsides.
- Carefully run a round-blade knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the buns. Place an upturned large rimmed baking sheet on top of the tin and very carefully turn them over while holding them tightly together – the caramel is still very hot. The buns will fall out on to the baking sheet. Lift off the tin and scrape any caramel left in the tin on to the buns. (ESB Top Tip : This step takes time and patience. Take your time and make sure the tray you are turning it out on, is larger than the one that the buns have baked in to avoid them missing the tray.)
- Scatter the remaining nuts over the top, then leave the buns to cool before pulling them apart. These are best eaten the same or the next day. (ESB Top Tip : Perfect served at weekend brunch with a steaming cup of coffee!)
My finished buns were deliciously soft and sticky but not overwhelmingly cinnamon-y, with all the honey and sugar. The added nuts worked best in the centre of the rolls but not so well on top as they were rather bitter in comparison to the bake. They take time to make so it wouldn’t be possible to whip them up on the morning you wanted them unless you got up early, but they kept well overnight until the next day.
Thank you for popping by my blog today. I hope you have enjoyed this ESB’s Autumn of Baking series. I’ve really enjoyed baking new recipes and sharing the experience with you and I hope that you enjoyed it too.
If you decide to bake any of the bakes from the series, I would love to see any pictures of your finished bakes so do tag me on Instagram @englishsingingbaker #esbautumnofbaking.
See you next time for another post but in the meantime,
English Singing Baker x