Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Norwegian Cinnamon Buns

 As you've probably noticed, I have a bit of a thing for cinnamon rolls. They can be everything from soft and fluffy to ooey-gooey with melted butter and sugar, and are easily adaptable to endless variations, from flavors to textures to frostings and more. And now I feel like I'm writing an infomercial, so let's move on...
These cinnamon buns in particular are totally different from any others I've made. The dough is rolled really thin, making for many, many flaky layers. The filling, instead of being just melted butter and a little cinnamon sugar, is creamed together, which lets the buttery flavor sink in to the dough while also keeping the rolls moist and gooey. 
 They are almost more of a "morning bun," Starbucks-style. They don't have any frosting, but they really don't ask for it at all - the sugar and egg wash caramelize and create a crisp, flavorful topping.
These won't be winning any beauty pageants, but I think the layers all swirling together makes for a charming little pastry that's perfect for Christmas breakfast.
Norwegian Cinnamon Buns

for the dough:
600 g flour
100 g sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
21 g (yep, 3 packets) of active dry yeast, or 45 g fresh yeast
100 g unsalted butter
400 ml milk
2 eggs

for the filling:
150 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150 g sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 egg, lightly beaten, to glaze

Line a 9" square baking pan with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl. Melt the butter and whisk it into the milk and eggs, then stir into the flour mixture. Mix to combine and then knead the dough either by hand or using the dough hook of a stand mixer until it's smooth and springy. The dough will start out very soft; add extra flour, a little at a time, just until it's workable. Form into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for about 25 minutes.
Take 1/3 of the dough and roll or stretch it to fit pan; this will form the bottom of each bun after baking. Roll out the rest of the dough on a lightly floured surface, aiming for a rectangle of roughly 50 x 25 cm.
Mix the filling ingredients in a small bowl and then spread the rectangle with the buttery cinnamon mixture. Try to get even coverage on the whole of the dough. Roll it up from the longest side until you have large log; as you roll, stretch the dough out a bit, in order to get thin layers. Cut the roll into about 20 rounds. Sit the rounds in rows on top of the dough in the tin, swirly side up. Don't worry if they don't fit together snugly, as they will rise. Brush them with egg and then let rise again for about 15 minutes, or until puffy. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 230 C / 425 F.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until buns are risen and golden-brown in color. Don't worry if they aren't perfectly swirled or round - this will only add to the rustic charm! ;)
Use parchment to lift buns from pan, and leave to cool slightly on a cooling rack. Tear them apart and enjoy, preferably while still warm.

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