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Soft and Gooey Cinnamon Roll Recipe

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home." She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated."

This recipe makes a soft and gooey cinnamon bun.

This recipe makes a soft and gooey cinnamon bun.

Maple-Oat Cinnamon Roll Recipe

I have a weakness for cinnamon buns. My grandfather, a German immigrant to America, was an avid baker. On weekends, the fragrance of baking cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter beckoned us into his kitchen. Cinnamon buns seem to have originated in Sweden, where Cinnamon Roll Day is celebrated on October 4 with plenty of frivolity and fanfare.

This recipe is a tribute to my grandfather, who often added oats to the dough for a nutritional boost. These buns are light and moist, and each panful boasts an extra 13 grams of protein and 7.9 grams of dietary fiber. Like a bowl of maple-scented oatmeal on a frigid winter day, these cinnamon buns give fresh meaning to the words "comfort food."

So why not bake a batch today? You'll be joining the worldwide fan club of cinnamon roll lovers, and your family and friends will be forever grateful. The addition of maple syrup makes these sticky and gooey just like my grandfather's rolls. First, you'll find the ingredients and instructions, then you'll find step-by-step pictures. Enjoy!

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

2 hours 30 min

40 min

3 hours 10 min

12 maple-oat cinnamon buns

Dough Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups milk, lukewarm
  • 1/4 cup butter, salted
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 4 - 4 1/2 cups unbleached flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (see tips)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons yeast, instant dry

Filling Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar, light
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon, preferably Saigon (see box, bottom of page)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup

Maple Icing Ingredients

  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple extract

Instructions

  1. For dough: Place dough ingredients plus 1/2 cup of unbleached flour in a mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl. If using a stand mixer, follow manufacturer's instructions.
  2. If using a hand mixer, combine ingredients to make a batter. Mix on high for 6 minutes. Turn off hand mixer.
  3. Add one more cup of unbleached flour and stir with a wooden spoon to make a soft dough.
  4. Pour dough out on a floured surface and knead for 2-5 minutes, slowly adding additional flour, until dough is elastic and smooth.
  5. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
  6. Butter a 9x13-inch baking dish. Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, combine sugar, salt, cinnamon and nuts (if using). Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
  7. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into an 18x12-inch rectangle. Spread dough with softened butter, leaving 1/2 inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle filling ingredients over the dough, leaving 1/2 inch border along top edge. Lastly, drizzle maple syrup over filling.
  8. Starting with the long edge nearest you, tightly roll the dough into a log. Wet the 1/2 inch border and firmly pinch the seam to seal.
  9. Pat and squeeze the log until it is evenly thick. Slice 1 1/2 inch rolls with a serrated knife. You should have 12 rolls.
  10. Arrange rolls on greased baking dish. Cover with kitchen towel and allow the buns to rise about 40-60 minutes, until double in size.
  11. Place baking dish in preheated oven and bake buns on middle rack for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.
  12. In a medium mixing bowl, combine icing ingredients until creamy. While buns are still warm, drizzle icing over them.
  13. Serve warm maple-oat buns with a cup of coffee or tea. Enjoy!

Photo Guide

1. Use a mixer to cut hand-kneading time.

1. Use a mixer to cut hand-kneading time.

2. Knead dough for 3 - 4 minutes.

2. Knead dough for 3 - 4 minutes.

3. Allow dough to rise.

3. Allow dough to rise.

4. Roll out. Sprinkle with filling ingredients.

4. Roll out. Sprinkle with filling ingredients.

5. Roll up tightly into a log.

5. Roll up tightly into a log.

6. Slice the buns.

6. Slice the buns.

7. Place rolls in baking pan for final rise.

7. Place rolls in baking pan for final rise.

8. Drizzle icing on warm buns.

8. Drizzle icing on warm buns.

Tips

  • Don't add too much flour while kneading the dough. A soft, slightly sticky dough yields moist rolls.
  • To make oat flour, grind old-fashioned or quick oats in your blender.
  • You can also make cinnamon roll dough in a bread maker.
  • If you don't like overly sweet buns, cut back on the sugar.
  • Evenly spread butter and cinnamon sugar mixture over the dough.
  • Try using dental floss or a serrated knife to slice rolls. If using dental floss, just slide a piece of floss under the log, cross it at the top and pull until it cuts through the dough.
  • Buns can be prepared the night before. Once they've been sliced and placed in the baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, leave them on the counter (for an hour or two) until they finish rising and bake.
  • Cinnamon buns freeze well. Place the unbaked, ready-to-rise rolls in aluminum baking pans and freeze. When ready to use, let them thaw for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator. Allow them to come to room temperature and rise before baking.
  • These cinnamon buns, with a hint of maple flavor, make a special gift.

Why Is Saigon Cinnamon So Special?

Of the four varieties, Ceylon is considered the only "real" cinnamon. Popular in Latin America, its mild flavor complements dishes such as hot chocolate and rice pudding.

Saigon or Vietnamese cinnamon is like Ceylon on steroids. Although more akin to Cassia, it comes from the bark of a tree native to Vietnam and has the highest concentration of oils at 1-5%. This concentration is so high that when a stick of Saigon cinnamon is exposed to a flame, it reportedly sparks.

Consequently, Saigon is the priciest of all cinnamons. Preferred by aficionados and chefs for intense sweetness and concentrated aroma, its flavor is often compared to commercially produced "Red Hot" candies and has a full-bodied spiciness, without any of the bitterness generally associated with other types of cinnamon.

Experience the unique flavor of Saigon cinnamon imported directly from Vietnam! There's nothing else like it under the sun.

Health Benefits

In Chinese medicine, cinnamon is used as a remedy for colds, flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, and menstrual pain. Cinnamon is also said to increase energy, vitality, and circulation and has been found to have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Studies show that cinnamon can reduce fasting blood glucose levels in some type 2 diabetes patients.