I’m just going to come out and say it…I am obsessed with Cinnamon Buns. They are right up there with Tiramisu for me. I remember most of my childhood was spent wondering when or how I could get my next cinnamon bun since I couldn’t figure out how to bake them on my own. There was a short period of time where a family friend worked at Cinnabon. I must say, that was a hook-up that remains in the “top 5 best hook-ups of my entire life” category!
Cinnamon buns have to be fluffy, they have to be soft, they have to have tons of butter, cinnamon and CREAM CHEESE ICING. There are a lot of hack versions of cinnamon buns floating around on the internet. Some of them even calling themselves “healthier” versions of cinnamon buns. Well, you’re not fooling me and I would never do that to you guys. So, here is my Softest & Fluffiest Buttermilk Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe. These are everything you want a cinnamon bun to be and everything a cinnamon bun should be. Yes, it would be great if they were lower in fat and had less sugar but how else could we practice moderation and balance in our lives without delicious baked goods to tempt us? Making these cinnamon buns is part of a life long practice of making us stronger and better human beings. I hope I have sold you.
In all seriousness, these are so much fun to make with kids, It’s long process but there are lots of breaks while the dough proofs. Breaks are a good thing when baking with kids (for everyone). Let them knead the dough, spread the filling, cut them into buns and obviously the best part, definitely let them slather the icing on.
I hope you enjoy this recipe – it’s one of my favourites!
- up to 4¼ cups all-purpose flour, divided
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast or 1 Tbsp Fresh yeast
- pinch salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ¾ cup buttermilk, room temperature
- *to substitute buttermilk: combine 1 Tbsp of white vinegar with 1 cup milk in a bowl and set aside for 5-10 mins to “sour”. Use substitute as you would buttermilk in this recipe.
- ½ cup unsalted butter, very soft
- 1 to 1¼ cups light brown sugar, packed
- about 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Dough – To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine 4 cups flour, ⅓ cup sugar, yeast, salt to taste; set aside. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter; set aside. Crack eggs in another bowl and whisk; set aside.
- To the dry ingredients in the stand mixer, add the melted butter, eggs, buttermilk, and beat on medium-low speed for about 1 minute, or until combined.
- Switch to the dough hook attachment (the dough will have stuck to the paddle - just pick off what you can and put it into the bowl) and knead in the stand mixer for about 10 minutes on low-medium speed (15 to 18 minutes if you’re doing it by hand). If after 5 minutes more flour is needed, add the remaining ¼ cup of flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough clears the side of the bowl but sticks to the bottom. This is a very sticky and moist dough; don’t be tempted to over-flour it. It’s supposed to be that way. The more flour you add now, the less fluffy and more dense the rolls will be.
- Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, spray a large mixing bowl with cooking spray, and place the dough in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place it in a warm, draft-free place to rise for about 2 to 2½ hours, or until doubled in size.
- Prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Spray pan with cooking spray; set aside.
- Rolling Out the Dough – After dough has doubled in size, punch it down. Turn dough out onto a floured countertop. Knead it lightly for about 2 minutes. With a rolling pin, roll it out to a 16-by-12-inch rectangle.
- Filling – With a knife, butter the dough with ½ cup soft butter, leaving a ¾-inch border around the edges. Sprinkle the brown sugar over it. Sprinkle the cinnamon over the brown sugar; I was very generous with the cinnamon and used almost 5 teaspoons.
- Slicing the Dough – Loosen the dough from the counter using a scraper (or metal spatula), and starting with a long edge, roll the dough into a tight log. Pinch the seam closed and turn log so seam side is down. Gently stretch the log to be 18 inches in length with an even diameter all the way around and pat the ends to even them up. Don’t worry if your log isn’t perfect.
- Slice the cylinder into 12 evenly-sized rolls (about 1½ inches wide in thickness) using a scraper or serrated knife. Arrange the rolls cut side down in the prepared baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until the rolls have nearly doubled in size, 1 to 1½ hours.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 22 to 25 minutes, or until lightly golden on top and cooked through but not overly browned.
- Cream Cheese Frosting - To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine ¼ cup butter, cream cheese, and beat on medium speed to combine, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla, 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add remaining 1 cup of sugar as necessary, to taste, based on desired frosting consistency and flavor.
- *Makes about 3 cups. Any unused frosting can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and I have frozen frosting for up to 3 months; I’d rather have too much than not enough.
- Immediately and generously, spread cream cheese frosting on the warm rolls. Serve immediately.
- Rolls are best eaten fresh, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Reheat leftover rolls for a few seconds in the microwave before serving. For long term storage, I recommend making the rolls as directed and then freezing unfrosted rolls; allow to thaw at room temp prior to serving and frost as directed. I prefer freezing finished rolls rather than freezing uncooked dough.