This Annabel Langbein recipe from The Free Range Cook cookbook is one that I better know as cinnamon scrolls. My mum used to bake cinnamon scrolls for us on the odd occasion from a handed down recipe from some of our extended family that live in America. She used an Alison Holst recipe that I was unable to locate online. This recipe uses yeast, as does the Alison Holst recipe, but there are a lot of recipes out there that use self raising flour or baking powder instead. While not having to wait for the yeast to activate, and dough to rise can make the whole baking experience less stressful, and generally easier to master it does lack the soft, delicate, airy bread texture you get from yeast activation and kneading. The Chelsea Sugar cinnamon scrolls recipe doesn’t use yeast and I have had multiple issues with this recipe in the past from the swirl layers not sticking together or the cinnamon paste not sinking into the dough. I desperately wanted to avoid that this time. For this reason I was adamant that I would find a recipe that used yeast. As my mum took too long to email me the Alison Holst cinnamon scrolls recipe I ended up perching Annabel Langbein’s Sticky Buns recipe atop my recipe book holder one Sunday morning and praying that this time the buns would turn out edible.
The whole experience was relatively hassle free save a few points. For me the dough did not rise much in the first hour it was allotted. This raised concern, as I thought I would end up with flat sticky buns. I don’t think this was a problem of the recipe. It was a freezing cold, horrible day and I could not find anywhere warm to leave the dough as our gas cylinder is located outside the house. Regardless, despite all this worry the buns still rose when placed in the oven, and even started melding into each other. So try not to worry if after the first hour your dough has hardly risen. DO make sure you do the right amount of kneading specified in the recipe however, and maybe some extra for added measure. The dough at the end should feel silky smooth. You will know when it has that silky smooth feel, because you will be proud of yourself.
I am not sure whether melting the butter adds some sort of baking finesse to these buns that I do not know about, but I actually found it easier to spread very soft butter onto the rolled out bun dough than the melted butter. The cinnamon sugar, butter mix still turned out wonderful in the end, so going forward I would probably just soften the butter. Most importantly the cinnamon sugar did seep into the swirl dough layers of these buns, and with the butter they release a satisfying warm, sweet and heady cinnamon taste as you bite into the scroll. They were honestly so delicious that I think if it came down to the last bun I probably wouldn’t share it. Luckily for the happiness of my relationship I managed to bake an even number.
I did halve this mixture cause it was huge, and I did not feel like dedicating six cups of flour to the one recipe. I also didn’t apply the glaze to the buns this time, as I clean ran out of time. This recipe IS time consuming. So I do not suggest making it on a weekday, mainly as I would not cope. You need time, it is the perfect recipe to make when you are relaxed. Having enough time to properly knead the dough, wait for it to rise and to lather the cinnamon butter mixture to the edges makes this recipe. The smell from the oven as they cook is euphoric, and you want to make sure you don’t miss out on this. The glaze apparently is best applied hot. So I would definitely get this ready while they are still in the oven. Just beware you will want to eat them immediately, but please wait for them to cool a little bit, a burnt tongue is never good for anyone.