Whilst travelling in America I was introduced to the glorious world of cinnamon buns. Fluffy fluffy buns with thick cream cheese icing. Riding on the dregs of winter mornings is there much better with a strong black coffee? The answer is yes of course there are better things but these are still pretty amazing. I ate one on a chilly morning while I watched thick fog roll into the San Francisco bay. I remember feeling warm and content, smug and stupidly excited for all the things I was going to see that day.
Somehow I had gotten into my head that sticky buns and cinnamon buns were more or less the same thing. They are not. Cinnamon buns with cream cheese are infinitely better than a sticky bun with nuts. So halfway through cooking this recipe I decided to throw in some apple and some cream cheese. This recipe became a hybrid of the two. Its not the same as the fluffy buns I ate in San Francisco. But nostalgia food is never the same really when you try and tear it away from its memory and put it in a strange new setting .
These are sweet and buttery and crunchy and nom.
Some rules for making these;
1. Make sure they are eaten same day. No one likes a stale bun
2. Make them when there are people around to share them with, otherwise you will be staring down an empty baking dish crying "what did i do? what have i done?"
Apple, Cinnamon & Pecan Buns
- 2 tsp Dried yeast
- ⅔ Cup/160 ml milk, lukewarm
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 3 Cups/450 g Plain Flour
- ¼ Cup/55 g Caster Sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 125 grams butter, melted
- 1 Cup/120g Pecans, chopped roughly
- 1 Cup Granny Smith Apple, chopped into little pieces
For the caramel;
- ⅓ Cup/80 ml Maple Syrup
- ⅓ Cup/60 g Dark Brown Sugar
- 75 g unsalted butter, chopped
For the cinnamon butter;
- 100 g Unsalted Butter, softened
- ½ Cup/90 g Brown Sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- ¼ cup cream cheese
- ½ tablespoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- Place the yeast, milk and vanilla in a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes for yeast to activate.
- Place the flour, sugar, salt, egg, butter and yeast mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attached and beat on low speed for 1 minute until just combined. Increase speed to high and beat for 5–8 minutes or until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- To make the caramel, place the maple syrup, sugar and butter in a medium saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium, bring to the boil and cook for 3–4 minutes or until smooth. Pour into a lightly greased 20cm x 30cm tin and set aside.
- To make the cinnamon butter, place the butter, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.
- Roll the dough out between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to make a 60cm x 25cm rectangle. Spread with the cinnamon butter, leaving a 1cm border, and sprinkle with the pecans and chopped apple.
- Starting with the longest side, roll tightly to enclose the filling. Trim the edges of the bun and cut into 12 even pieces. Place the pieces, side-by-side and scroll-side up, in the tin. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for 45–60 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the tin on a baking tray and cook for 20 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminium foil and cook for a further 15–20 minutes or until cooked through and golden. Allow to stand for 2–3 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool slightly.
- To make the frosting, cream together the butter, sugar, cream cheese, vanilla and salt. Pour over the buns while they are still warm.
Adapted from Donna Hay's recipe