Cook’s Country Ultimate Cinnamon Buns

I love anything by America’s Test Kitchen, especially Cook’s Country Magazine, so I have every issue.  Why do I love them so?   Well, first off, the recipes always work and the nerdy pharmacist in me enjoys reading the science behind the recipe.  Unlike Cook’s Illustrated (which I also love), it has colored pictures and recipes for everyday food that fits my family’s tastes (well, at least sometimes).  Every once in awhile, I pull them out and flip though them and last week I came across this recipe for Ultimate Cinnamon Buns.  They looked amazing, just like the crazy expensive Cinnabon cinnamon rolls.  I usually don’t make something so involved, not because I don’t like to.  Unfortunately I just don’t have the time or I choose to sleep instead. 😀  But, the recipe said I could prep them the night before and bake them in the morning.  So, I decided to make them on Saturday night after the kids went to bed for Sunday morning breakfast. But, when I went to make them at 9pm, I forgot you have to wait 2 hours for the dough to rise. So, I didn’t finish making the rolls until after midnight!  Not my brightest idea…I just hoped they were worth it.

In the morning my daughter asked me what was for breakfast and I was so excited to tell her homemade cinnamon rolls.  Sammie says “Can’t I just have my regular breakfast?”  Your regular breakfast is cereal, so no.  Geez!  This is another reason I don’t usually make something more labor intensive. 😀  But she ate it and my son did too, mostly because they loved the frosting, eating off the top off the rolls and leaving the bottoms.  Oh, well, I’ll take it.  My husband inhaled it and I thought it was delicious, very reminiscent of a Cinnabon roll. The bun is really tender due to the cornstarch and packed full of gooey cinnamon flavor due to double the amount of filling compared to most recipes.  So, while this may not be a recipe for everyday due to the time and let’s face it, calories, it would be a delicious special treat for a holiday breakfast.

3/4 cup warm whole milk (about 110 F)  Check temperature with a thermometer
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) rapid rise or instant yeast
3 large eggs, at room temperature
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened

1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Put rack in middle position and preheat oven to 200F.  When the oven reaches 200 F, turn it off.  Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, allowing excess to hang over edges.  Grease or spray the foil with cooking spray

Combine the warm milk and yeast in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup and whisk until the yeast dissolves.  Whisk in the eggs.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt.  Mix briefly to combine.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the warm milk mixture in a steady stream and continue mixing until the dough comes together, about 1 minute.  Increase the speed to medium and add the butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated.  Continue to mix until the dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.  (If the dough is still wet and sticky after mixing 10 minutes, add flour, 1 T at a time (up to 1/4 cup), until the dough releases from the bowl.)  Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead to form a smooth ball.  Transfer the dough to a large greased/sprayed bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the warm oven.  Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

To make the filling: Whisk the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a small bowl.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into an 18-inch square and spread it evenly with the softened butter.  Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and press gently.  Starting with the edge nearest you. roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch lightly to seal.  Cut the cylinder into 8 equal pieces (or 12 if you want smaller rolls) and transfer the pieces, cut side up, to the prepared pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise in warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.  Make ahead:   After transferring the cut rolls to the greased pan, the buns can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.  When you are ready to bake the rolls, let them sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking as below.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Bake the rolls (minus the wrap) for 35-40 minutes, or until they are deep golden brown, the filling is melted, and they are cooked through. While the buns bake, make the glaze by whisking the soft cream cheese, milk, vanilla and confectioner’s sugar in a medium bowl and set aside.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and top the rolls with 1/2 cup of the glaze.  Let cool for 30 minutes then top with remaining glaze and serve. No way we could wait this long, so we ate them after about 15 minutes.  I think they are best warm anyways…

Source:  Cook’s Country Dec/Jan 2009


I have been tagged by Choc Chip Uru to play a game of getting to know your fellow blogger friends.  Go Bake Yourself has to be the cutest name and her blog is just as cute.  Thank you my fellow baker friend for the opportunity and your support!

The Rules:
1. You must post the rules.
2. Post 12 fun facts about yourself in the blog post.
3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create 12 new questions for the people you tagged.
4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.  12 is kind of a lot, so you can do 6.
5. Let them know you’ve tagged them.

12 Things You Didn’t Know About Me:

1.  I have a pug named Walter Payton.  Named by my die hard Bears fan husband.

2.  When I was in college, I worked with a serial killer. So scary!

3.  I love horror movies.  I am always looking for the scariest movie ever, but I have yet to find one that really scares me. So, the search continues. 😀

4.  I married my high school sweetheart.  Awww…

5.  If I wasn’t a pharmacist, I would have either been a pastry chef or a forensic psychologist.

6.  I love true crime shows!

7.  I am Top Chef obsessed. I have probably seen every episode at least 5 times. Embarrased smile

8.   I don’t like nuts in any dessert

9.   My husband is crazy about sports.  I hate them, though I wish I liked them.

10.  My first concert was New Kids on the Block.

11.  I think I am one of the only people in the world that doesn’t like Nutella.

12.  My goal right now is to find a new job that I love….well, at least like.  I’ll take like.

Choc Chip Uru’s Questions:

1. Why do you blog?  I love to bake and I just really wanted to share some of the amazing recipes I have come across with others so they can enjoy them too.  Also, I have a huge cookbook collection that really needs to be put to use! 😀
2. Are you a social butterfly or do you like solitary weekends?  Solitary weekends with my family.
3. What is your dream job?  Pastry chef
4. If you could have any kitchen superpower, what would it be?  To wiggle my nose and have a dinner on the table that everyone would eat.  I love to bake, cooking not so much.
5. What is your most prized cooking possession?  My Kitchen Aid.  When it was broken for a week, I really missed it!
6. ‘When in doubt turn left’ – do you believe this?  No.  I check my GPS or pull over and get directions. 😀   I get anxious when I am lost, so I avoid it.
7. If you were stranded on a tropical dessert and had the choice 3 dishes to eat for the rest of your life, what would they be?  pizza, my mom’s homemade chicken pot pie, Portillo’s chocolate cake.
8. What is your worst kitchen nightmare?  Burning myself.  I never forgot the time in junior high when I made caramel and stuck my finger in it to see if it was done. I got so burned because the caramel was so hard to wash off. So not smart, but I was 12.
9. Do you think the Oscars were deserved this year?  Before kids, I used to have a party with tons of food and an Oscar pool.  But this year, I didn’t even know they were on until I was flipping through the channels. I didn’t watch because I didn’t see any of the movies.  My how things change..
10. What is your dream car?   I don’t really have one, but what I would really love is a driver.  I hate driving and then maybe I could get a bit extra sleep?
11. Name one wonderful childhood memory involving food :).  Making Christmas cookies with my mom.
12. If you could travel to anywhere in the universe, where would you go?  The Mediterranean.  For our honeymoon, my husband and I went on a Mediterranean cruise and we would love to go back.

My Questions:

1.  What is your favorite thing to bake?

2.  What is your signature dish?

3.  What is your biggest regret?

4.  What have you done that you are most proud of?

5.  What would be your last supper?

6.  What do you find most difficult about having a blog?

7.  If a movie was made about your life, what actor would you want to play you?

8.  What food will you never try and why?

9.  What is your profession?  Do you wish you were doing something else?  What?

10.  If you could eat at any restaurant, where would it be?

11.  Who do you respect the most and why?

12.  Who is your favorite celebrity chef?

Who am I tagging?

Most of the blogs I tagged I discovered through The Nest.  The blogs on the Nest are so amazing and were the inspiration behind me starting a blog of my own.  Thanks ladies!

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  1. Thanks for playing along with the tagging my friend – so nice to find out more about a fellow baker 😀
    And what a divine recipe attached – I think I am dying just looking at that drizzle – yum!!!

    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Traditional Lemon Meringue Tart

  2. I found your site on Google and read a few of your other entires. Nice Stuff. I’m looking forward to reading more from you.

  3. These look awesome, I have yet to find a super time efficient cinnamon roll recipe. I think the Gods did this on purpose, so I can’t make them all the time.

    Thanks for tagging me! Looking forward to answering the questions and definitely learning more about you. 🙂

    • Thanks Jessy. I think you are totally right. Too much work for an everyday breakfast and it’s probably for the best.

      You’re welcome. The girls on the Nest have the most amazing blogs and I would love to learn more about everyone beyond their blogs! 😀

  4. Sara

     /  March 5, 2012

    This looks deelish! Of course, I won’t make it because of the time.

    I had no idea you worked with a serial killer. What?!? I think I knew almost all your other answers. 😉

    • Thanks Sara. Hopefully you can get someone to make them for you! 😀 Or, maybe we can do brunch the next time you are in town and I’ll make them for you, along with some type of yummy treat with caramel!

      Yes, I worked with a serial killer, Paul Runge, when I was in college working at Famous Footwear by my parents while on summer break. I think he killed like 7 women and was on death row in Illinois, well until they got rid of the death penalty. He even drove my sister home once. Really scary. Luckily while we were working there, the FBI was following him (he knew, we didn’t) and was in the parking lot watching him all the time. There were all young girls working there and the company knew he was a suspect because they had to call in his schedule to the FBI…but we were all clueless until he was arrested and we saw his picture in the paper!

  5. MUST make these! I want to lick the screen!

    • Thanks Nicole! They were delicious! So worth the effort and the calories for a just a special treat! 😀

  6. I agree with Nicole, must make!!

    I loved your 12 random facts. I thought I was one of the only people to not really like Nutella. It’s nice to know I’m not alone…lol

  7. Thanks Heather!

    Ha! So I guess there are 2 people in this world who don’t like Nutella. 😀 But, I really wish I did because there are so many Nutella recipes that look so good!

  8. Thanks for tagging me! I’ll fill this out on my next recipe entry 🙂

    As for Nutella, I can take it or leave it. I bought some once to make cupcakes, and the remaining jar sat in my cupboard for about a year. It’s not that it’s not good, I just don’t go crazy over it like most people.

  9. Sometimes delicious just takes time and effort! Cinnamon rolls are just such a recipe. I am sure that after eating these you totally forgot about your midnight efforts. That picture is so tempting.
    Regarding tagging, that is sweet that you chose me however, due to my current schedule of blogging and events I have signed up for since the weather is getting nicer, I will need to pass. I do agree that the game is a great idea and it helps you get to know your fellow blogger a little bit better. Have a nice evening.

  10. PS- The response time on this type of thing may be 5 seconds for some people, but for myself it would take a lot of time and thought for me to really answer the questions correctly and honestly as well as pick the appropriate people to pass this along too. I hope you are not offended by my decline.

  11. Thanks for tagging me, I will definitely try to get around to including this in my next post! Love your site!

  12. Sharkie

     /  July 20, 2012

    I tried the recipe, my dough would not rise at all. Yeast wouldn’t proof, what could be wrong?

    • Oh no! I am by no means a yeast expert, I’m still working on that :D, but from what I know yeast may fail if it is expired or weak from improper storage. Also, if the temperature water is too hot or too cold. I used to just guess temperature, but I had a lot of failed breads that way. Now I use a digital thermometer to measure the water temperature and I haven’t had a rise failure since. I have also found that measuring all my ingredients by weight has led to much better results with yeast.

      • Sharkie

         /  July 21, 2012

        I also measure all my ingredients by weight. I also check liquid temperature with a therometer.
        But about my question, I found that putting 1tsp of sugar in the milk helped proof the yeast.

  13. That’s a good idea. Feed the yeast 😀

  14. Very fun blog. Searched cinnamon rollls online for a recipe and this is the one I decided to make. Thanks for sharing.. They are i the oven now!

  15. Fanny

     /  January 27, 2014

    I love America’s test kitchen and all of their other shows and magazines as well. I’ve been wanting to make cinnamon rolls and I was on a mission searching for a good recipe and I happen to end up here. I am very determined when it comes to baking something and I love a challenge. I really did not care about the time it took to make the rolls I just wanted to make them. So at this very moment my rolls are rising. Thank you for posting this recipe. I will comment again when I try them.(:

  16. Sonya

     /  January 30, 2014

    I LOVE America’s Test Kitchen and especially Cook’s Country for the exact same reasons you listed! Guaranteed to work, and I love the color photos and the explanations behind everything 🙂 If something isn’t a big hit in our house, I can always tell that it’s just our personal taste buds, not any failure of the recipe. I haven’t found really any recipes that I wouldn’t recommend 🙂

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