Recipes for delicious cinnamon buns?
September 21, 2010 7:56 AM   Subscribe

Looking for recipes for delicious cinnamon buns/sticky rolls!

Dear AskMetafilter,

I never thought this would happen to me, but I have a recipe question.

My family has cinnamon/sticky buns (I don’t know what the technical term for them is) every year for Christmas breakfast and I thought this year it would be nice to make them instead of buying them (for reference, we usually get pecan rolls from Seven Stars bakery in Providence if that means anything to you).

I am a proficient but not particularly skilled baker so I would prefer nothing too complicated, although I am willing to experiment (hence my asking in September); to be honest, I’d like something that is just complicated enough to be impressive (maybe involving yeast or something; my mother will be very impressed if I use yeast) but not so complicated that I can screw it up. Ideally I’d be able to get the preparation done the night before, leave the rolls in the fridge overnight and bake them in the morning so that they are hot and fresh from the oven, but if that’s not a possibility that’s totally fine, feel free to correct any sticky-roll related misconceptions that I might have.

In general, I think I’d like them very warm and soft and gooey on the inside but a little crispier on the outside and with a delicious glaze of some variety, and I prefer no nuts but nuts are okay if they are required for deliciousness. If you could please give me your absolute best, tastiest recipes for cinnamon/sticky buns I would be very grateful. Thank you so much for your help!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl to Food & Drink (22 answers total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
Pioneer Woman's cinnamon buns look absolutely divine. I haven't tried them, but they have a dedicated following.
posted by julthumbscrew at 8:03 AM on September 21, 2010

This recipe will blow your mind. I like to add some pecans in there... *drooool* I may have to make some now...
posted by torisaur at 8:07 AM on September 21, 2010

Cook's Country Cinnamon Rolls! Cause if you are going to have a cinnamon roll you might as well not have a dinky one.
posted by Syllables at 8:09 AM on September 21, 2010

I've made these a couple of times, and the results were fantastic.
posted by Simon Barclay at 8:12 AM on September 21, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the suggestions so far!

I should mention that there will be six of us so we will probably want about twelve rolls although a few more are okay for Boxing Day munching.

We also won't have any fancy equipment so unfortunately anything that involves a bread machine is out, although I might be able to find an electric mixer if I need to and I would be shocked if I had any trouble getting my hands on a rolling pin or a pastry brush or anything.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:14 AM on September 21, 2010

I also recommend the Cook's Country Recipe, but here is a better link. You have to register, but it is free, whereas I think you have to pay for the one Syllables linked (I am assuming they are the same recipe).

If you can't get to it feel free to memail me and I can transcribe it for you.
posted by I am the Walrus at 8:21 AM on September 21, 2010

Ranch Rugelach are my new favorite interpretation of a cinnamon roll. It's different enough to get compliments, but it's familiar enough to satisfy the craving. Also I found that it perfectly fulfills your requirement of being a little crispier on the outside. Also, endlessly variable, so you can adjust the filling to suit your taste. Yum.
posted by purpletangerine at 8:35 AM on September 21, 2010

I am the Walrus: "If you can't get to it feel free to memail me and I can transcribe it for you."
This is also available at a no-subscription-needed link; no need to transcribe.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:36 AM on September 21, 2010

Since I'm already posting a Smitten Kitchen recipe, I might as well give another. Haven't tried this one yet, but then NOTHING Deb recommends has ever not been great!
posted by purpletangerine at 8:37 AM on September 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I second the Pioneer Woman's recipe. My wife and I have made them many times, and each of us have made them once on our own. I definitely find it easier/less stressful when we're doing it together, but we have a fairly small kitchen.

One of the great things is we usually make a double batch, so we can give entire trays out to neighbors/friends, while still have plenty for one's own family. However, as one gets 6-8 trays even from the single recipe, it ultimately depends on if you want to be known as "the cinnamon roll" people or not.
posted by nobeagle at 8:42 AM on September 21, 2010

I'm MonkeyToes, and I make the Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls. TRAYS of them (six) at a whack. It's usually enough to give out some of them to friends. Usually.

How good are they? Last winter, I made them for a funeral luncheon. I put them in my car to deliver them, only to find Mr. MonkeyToes blocking the way.

"You're not taking all of those, are you?"

"Of course I am," I said. "They're for a funeral!"

We had words. I drove away, minus a tray.

The rolls were such a hit with the family I brought them to that when Mrs. Friend told Mr. Friend she was bringing a tray to her mother, grieving Mr. Friend blocked her way and said "OH NO, YOU'RE NOT."

And that's how good they are. P.S. Fill the inside with butter, brown sugar and a bit of cinnamon. Uh. Mah. Gawd.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:52 AM on September 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

Here's a recipe that is really easy to make and turns out very fluffy.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 8:53 AM on September 21, 2010

Thirding Pioneer Woman's recipe. I actually make her caramel apple sticky buns often (usually without the apple and booze, though). They are easy, amazing, and the recipe makes about sixteen medium-sized sticky buns.

(If you make that recipe, I suggest doing it in round cake tins -- you can fit about eight buns to a 9" tin -- and loosely wrapping each tin with foil. The caramel tends to bubble out of the top, and the last thing you want to do the next day is scrape burnt caramel off the bottom of your oven.)

My modifications: I've been known to leave the butter out to soften and spread it on the inside of the sticky bun with my fingers without melting it first. This helps the cinnamon and sugar for the inside stick better, and means that melted butter doesn't pour out all over your work space. I have also cut down the butter inside from 3/4 c to 1/2 c with not much difference in the finished product. (That extra butter makes the dough melt in your mouth; without it, there's more of a tooth to the dough. It's still delicious, though; it just depends on how you like your sticky buns and how much butter you're willing to ingest at one time!) I also sometimes add a little ground ginger to the cinnamon that goes inside the sticky bun; it adds nice heat to the flavor. Once I added 3/4 tsp cracked red pepper flakes to the caramel sauce. Now that was amazing -- but it's not for everyone!
posted by shamash at 9:18 AM on September 21, 2010

Here's the recipe I use (not sure where I got it originally). It's relatively easy to put together (no heavy machinery required), but takes a lot of time to rise properly. They are DELICIOUS.

-1 1/2 packages dry yeast (soak in 1/4 c warm water for 10 minutes)
-1/2 cup shortening (you can also use butter)
-1 cup scalded milk
-1/3 cup sugar
-1 1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 egg

Mix above ingredients together after the yeast has soaked.

-4 cups flour

Add flour and knead dough until smooth. Turn into a well-oiled bowl and let rise for 90 minutes. Punch down dough (this step is the 2nd most fun part, after eating them). Roll dough into rectangle about 1/4" thick.

Spread melted butter over the rectangle, then sprinkle on brown sugar and cinnamon (to taste, but I like to get a nice, thick coating). Roll the rectangle up into a tube and slice.

Place the slices into a greased 9" round pan and let rise for one hour.

Bake 15-20 minutes at 350.

For the frosting:

-2 cups powdered sugar
-1 tablespoon melted butter
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-2 to 4 tablespoons of milk (to get your desired consistency)

Mix together and pour onto hot rolls. Proceed with the om nom nom.
posted by phunniemee at 9:43 AM on September 21, 2010

i've made alton brown's. they're delicious.
posted by sabh at 9:55 AM on September 21, 2010

I second Alton Brown's--they're really good, and the recipe requires being left in the fridge over night, so they're perfect for your needs!
posted by girl scientist at 10:14 AM on September 21, 2010

Here is another recipe to consider, from the author of the food blog Orangette. This has been on my "next recipe to try" list forever. Maybe I'll try them this've inspired me!
posted by elisebeth at 10:35 AM on September 21, 2010

Ah, I'm a moron. I see that SK's recipe is adapted from the one I posted. Never mind!
posted by elisebeth at 10:36 AM on September 21, 2010

Macrina Bakery (warning: pdf recipe) just put this out in their monthly newsletter. Sounds divine to me.
posted by ifjuly at 10:55 AM on September 21, 2010

Nthing Pioneer Woman's recipe. It makes a lot and is best done over the course of a weekend.. but I can verify that they freeze very well. Which, to my mind, is a great thing considering the cooking frenzy that takes place during Christmas.
posted by sarajane at 1:42 PM on September 21, 2010

I've had nothing but huge success with these, from King Arthur Flour. It's got yeast and everything, the dough is super easy to work with, they refrigerate well overnight and Christ are they good.
posted by frankdrebin at 2:12 PM on September 24, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you to everyone! Since the overwhelming majority suggested Pioneer Woman's cinnamon buns, I tried those out this weekend and they were super-good so I'll probably stick with those. Thank you again!
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:14 AM on September 28, 2010

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