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Saturday, June 2, 2012

The frugal breakfast solution: cinnamon buns

Sometimes, weekends and festive occasions call for something a bit more than the usual toast, oatmeal or granola. When I want to prepare something special, I usually turn to a yeast bun or pastry.  Cinnamon buns are about the easiest of yeast raised sweet buns. And they can be baked the day before, or can be prepared just short of baking, to finish up in the morning for fresh rolls.

To have the buns freshly baked in the AM, I do the dough through the rolling up and slicing, then allow to rise briefly (15 minutes) at room temp, before covering loosely with plastic bags and refrigerating overnight. In our house, the first one up in the morning pulls them out of the fridge, sets them on the counter, where they finish rising for about another hour and a half. Then I bake as normal. Hot cinnamon buns from the oven are a treat!

If the next morning is going to be a rushed one, then I simply bake the buns the night before, keep covered overnight, and microwave them in the morning to warm. If you haven't already made plans for Father's Day breakfast yet, these would make a yummy breakfast, sure to be appreciated by Dad.

(This makes 12 cinnamon buns, for about 75 cents.)

For the yeast dough:

1  1/2 cups lukewarm water
2  teaspoons yeast
1  teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups white flour
3 Tablespoons butter, soft
scant 2 cups whole wheat flour (whole wheat flour is denser than white, so less of the dry measure actually weighs the same as white flour -- hence the scant amount)

In a medium bowl, pour water and sprinkle yeast on top. Allow yeast to soften for 3 minutes.  Stir in salt, sugar, white flour and soft butter. Mix in as much of the whole wheat flour that will make a manageable dough. (You will use the remaining whole wheat flour for kneading and rolling out.) Turn dough out onto counter, along with some of the remaining whole wheat flour (if out of your whole wheat, use some white). Knead for about 5 minutes. Return to bowl and cover with plastic or a dish towel.  Allow to rise about 1 hour, until an indentation made in the dough remains.

Turn out onto floured surface and roll with a pin, out into a large rectangle somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.

Filling for rolls:

2 Tablespoons soft butter
1/4 cup sugar (white or brown), combined with
2 teaspoons cinnamon (more or less to taste)

Spread dough with butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture, leaving about 1 inch at one end (for pinching the seam once it's rolled).

Roll up, jelly roll fashion, pinch the seam. 

Use a serrated knife to cut into 12 equal pieces.  

Place on a large, buttered baking sheet (with sides is best, but will also work on a sheet without). 

Allow to rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-22 minutes.

While warm from the oven, I drizzle the rolls with maple syrup.  I gives the cinnamon buns a nice glazed effect and a touch of sweetness.  You can also spread with a cream cheese frosting, a la Cinnabon.

For more on the Frugal Breakfast Solution see here

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