Thursday, November 22, 2012

Greek Yogurt Cinnamon Buns

 Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you're all enjoying a day filled with fun with your favorite people. In the midst of all the crazy, buttery pies all over the internet, I figured I should bring you this easy recipe for a treat that will feed a big family for breakfast. Greek yogurt cinnamon buns.
  That's right, you heard it. Greek yogurt. Cinnamon buns. In the same phrase. What is happening to the world??
 When you hear anything with the words "Greek yogurt," you might automatically think of "healthy." The truth is, while these are a bit better for you than the average cinnamon bun - they have whole wheat flour, too - they are far from healthy.
 I originally set out to make a big batch of indulgent pumpkin cinnamon buns, but it ended up not really working out when I realized that I only had part of the pumpkin for the recipe, and decided to throw in some Greek yogurt instead. It ended up working out kind of like the classic chocolate mayonnaise cake, where you don't taste the secret ingredient, but it makes everything more moist and delicious.
  If you want a recipe for an easy, rich breakfast for a crowd, these are perfect. And if you want to tell yourself that they are healthy as well, go for it. I won't mind.
Greek Yogurt Cinnamon Buns
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, to be divided
1/2 cup whole milk, warmed (but not over 116 degrees)
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (from 1 .25-ounce or 7 gram envelope yeast)
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out
1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 egg
Oil for coating rising bowl

3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Few drops vanilla extract

Make your dough: Melt your butter, and if you’re melting it in a little saucepan, you might as well brown it for extra flavor. Once the butter has melted, keep cooking it over medium heat for a few additional minutes. It will become hissy and sizzle a lot, then take on a nutty flavor as golden bits form at the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
Combine your warmed milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside. After five to seven minutes, it should be a bit foamy. If it’s not, you might have some bad yeast and should start again with a newer packet.
In the bottom of the bowl of an electric mixer combine flours, sugars, salt and spices. Add just 1/4 cup (or two-thirds of; leave the rest for assembly) of your melted/browned butter and stir to combine. Add yeast-milk mixture, Greek yogurt and egg and mix to combine. Switch mixer to a dough hook and run it for 5 minutes on low.
Scrape mixture into a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 1 hour in a warm place; it should just about double.
While it is rising, line the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans (8-inch round should work too, as does an 8-inch square) with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan and the paper.

Assemble buns: Scoop dough onto a very well floured surface and flour the top of it well. With a rolling pin, roll the dough to an approximately 16×11-inch rectangle. Brush reserved melted/browned butter over dough. Stir together remaining filling ingredients and sprinkle mixture evenly over dough. Starting on a longer side, roll the dough into a tight spiral. This may be messy and leak out butter and sugar at the ends of the dough; that's okay.
Here’s how to cut cinnamon rolls without squishing their pretty spirals: With a sharp serrated knife, using absolutely no pressure whatsoever (only the weight of the blade should land on the dough) gently saw your log with a back-forth motion into approximately 16 1-inch sections. When a soft dough like this is rolled, it tends to grow longer, which means that you’ll have the option to either make more buns (say, 18 instead of 16) or just cut them a little larger (in generous inches).
Divide buns between two prepared pans. You can sprinkle any sugar that fell off onto the counter over them. Cover each pan with plastic wrap and let rise for another 45 minutes.
If you’re doing this ahead of time, you can now put them in the fridge overnight. In the morning, leave them out for an hour to warm up and finish rising.
15 minutes before you’re ready to bake them, heat the oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, you can make the glaze. Beat your cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Drizzle in milk until you get the consistency you’re looking for, either thick enough to ice or thin enough to drizzle.

Finish your buns: Remove the plastic and bake buns for 25 minutes, until puffed and golden and delicious-smelling. Transfer pans to wire cooling racks and drizzle/spread with cream cheese glaze (or leave plain if you're like my dad and don't like icing, in which case, we need to have a little conversation about life values and such).

- makes about 16 cinnamon buns


Ayeisha Ashman said...

mmm these look delicious! might have to try making them soon!

Sophia said...

Thank you!