The ease of twisting open a canister of factory-made cinnamon rolls cannot be denied, but I promise you that these made-from-scratch buns are worth the extra time and effort. The texture both inside and out is perfectly springy and moist, while the cinnamon and sugar swirls have a hint of spicy cloves. Doused in a sweet and tangy cream cheese icing, these cinnamon rolls are nothing short of magnificent. As a bonus, your home will smell like a preservative-free Cinnabon shop for the rest of the day. Score!
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Make the buns
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425°F. Generously coat both a 9-inch nonstick round cake pan and a wire cooling rack with nonstick cooking spray.
Melted butter is used in both the filling and the dough. Melt the total amount (7 tablespoons) all at once in a heatproof measuring cup, then use it as needed.
For the filling, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and the 1 tablespoon melted butter together in a medium bowl until the mixture resembles wet sand.
For the dough, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter together. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon until absorbed (the dough will look shaggy), about 30 seconds.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute.
Pat the dough with your hands into a 12 by 9-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle the dough evenly with the brown sugar filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Press the filling firmly into the dough.
Using a bench scraper or metal spatula, loosen the dough from the work surface. Starting at a long side, roll the dough, pressing lightly, to form a tight log. Pinch the seam to seal. Roll the log seam-side down and cut it evenly into 8 pieces. Turn the pieces over on their flat sides, and with your hand, slightly flatten each piece of dough to seal the open edges and keep the filling in place.
Place 1 roll in the center of the prepared pan and then place the remaining 7 rolls around the perimeter of the pan. Brush the rolls with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
Bake until the edges are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
Use an offset metal spatula to loosen the buns from the pan. Wearing oven mitts, place a large plate over the pan and invert the buns onto the plate. Place the greased cooling rack over the plate and invert the buns onto the rack. Cool about 5 minutes before glazing.
Make icing and finish buns
While the buns are cooling, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy cleanup); set the rack with the buns on the baking sheet. Whisk the cream cheese and buttermilk in a large bowl until thick and smooth (the mixture will look like cottage cheese at first). Sift the confectioners’ sugar over the mixture and whisk until a smooth glaze forms about 30 seconds. Spoon the glaze evenly over the buns; serve immediately.
Recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook