Sunday, January 10, 2010

Here in America's Test Kitchen...

Have you ever seen this show? Or heard of Cooks' Illustrated? If the answer is no, you are missing out, my friend! These people test every recipe hundreds of different ways until they get the right one. They test every kitchen product until they find which one works the best. Their recommendations are tried and true, and I trust their recipes.

But when I saw a recipe for a cinnamon bun made without yeast, I was skeptical. I am not a cinnamon bun connoisseur by any means, but I've had some good homemade cinnamon buns and some not so good store bought ones. And I can tell the difference. Up until this point, I thought ALL homemade cinnamon buns had to be made with yeast. But America's Test Kitchen came out with a quick cinnamon bun recipe, and I had to give it a try.

So what makes this a "quick" cinnamon bun? Well, you don't have to knead the dough for a long time, or wait for the dough to rise (several times). On average, a standard yeasted bun takes about 5 hours to make. The quick buns, from start to finish, take an hour.

As for taste, I actually did like the bun. It was tender and rich. The icing was very nice, using buttermilk, powdered sugar, and cream cheese. To be honest, I don't think your average person would be able to tell whether it was a yeasted bun or not. So, if you need a quick cinnamon bun, try these. I think you'll like them.

Quick Cinnamon Buns with Buttermilk Icing
from the cookbook, Here in America's Test Kitchen
Makes 8 buns.

Melted butter is used in both the filling and the dough and to grease the pan; melt the total amount (8 tablespoons) at once and measure it out as you need it.

1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, for pan

cinnamon-sugar filling
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz) packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

biscuit dough
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for work surface
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

2 tbsp cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp buttermilk
1 cup (4 oz) confectioners' sugar

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Pour 1 tbsp melted butter into 9-inch nonstick cake pan; brush to coat pan. Spray wire cooling rack with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

2. TO MAKE CINNAMON-SUGAR FILLING: Combine sugars, spices, and salt in small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon melted butter and stir with fork or fingers until mixture resembles wet sand; set filling mixture aside.

3. TO MAKE BISCUIT DOUGH: Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Whisk buttermilk and 2 tablespoons melted butter in measuring cup or small bowl. Add liquid to dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until liquid is absorbed (dough will look very shaggy), about 30 seconds. Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead until just smooth and no longer shaggy.

4. Pat dough with hands into 12 by 9-inch rectangle. Brush dough with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with filling, leaving 1/2-inch border of plain dough around edges. Press filling firmly into dough. Using bench scraper or metal spatula, loosen dough from work surface. Starting at long side, roll dough, pressing lightly, to form tight log. Pinch seam to seal. Roll log seam-side down and cut evenly into eight pieces. With hand, slightly flatten each piece of dough to seal open edges and keep filling in place. Place one roll in center of prepared nonstick pan, then place remaining seven rolls around perimeter of pan. Brush with 2 tablespoons remaining melted butter.

5. Bake until edges are golden brown, 23 to 25 minutes. Use offset metal spatula to loosen buns from pan. Wearing oven mitt, place large plate over pan and invert buns onto plate. Place greased cooling rack over plate and invert buns onto rack. Cool about 5 minutes before icing.

6. TO MAKE ICING AND FINISH BUNS: While buns are cooling, line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy cleanup); set rack with buns over baking sheet. Whisk cream cheese and buttermilk in large nonreactive bowl until thick and smooth (mixture will look like cottage cheese at first). Sift confectioners' sugar over; whisk until smooth glaze forms, about 30 seconds. Spoon glaze evenly over buns; serve immediately. The buns are best eaten warm, but they hold up reasonably well for up to 2 hours.


  1. mmmmm, these look so good and i love that you don't knead yeast, haha get it!

  2. Wow! This bun looks so yummy! What about this frosting? So tempt!