One of the most comforting scents of fall is that of cinnamon baking, especially when it’s accompanied by butter and sugar. It’s a unique spice in that’s familiar and exotic at the same time. Cinnamon buns, though excellent, take a pretty long time when you make them the standard way, which involves yeast. In contrast, this yeast-free recipe takes a measly 45 minutes including prep time, which makes it perfect for breakfast. Because they lack yeast, these breakfast buns are more biscuit-like than regular cinnamon buns, which err on the lusciously gooey side of things (eat at Cinnabon for reference). Normally I’d be all about lusciously gooey cinnamon buns, but in the morning I like to keep it pretty low key, which is why I recommend these delicious delights. If you don’t have time to make the dough and bake them in the same morning, simply prepare the dough and filling the night before, and bake the next day. Cinnamon buns are always best warm, so try to eat them as soon as possible after baking them (it won’t be hard).
This is a slightly modified version of a recipe I found on epicurious.com. Based on suggestions from other bakers, I doubled the filling. If you like a lot of icing, I recommend doubling the icing amounts as well since what’s listed below is only enough to drizzle sparsely on top.
4 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
scant 1/4 cup milk (I used fat free since it’s what I have, but whole milk is usually best for baking)
3 1/2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl stir together 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and cinnamon.
In another small bowl stir together confectioners’ sugar and water until smooth.
Into a large bowl sift together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut butter into small pieces and with your fingertips or a pastry blender blend into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. In another small bowl whisk together egg and 3 tablespoons milk and add to flour mixture, stirring until just combined.
Transfer mixture to a lightly floured surface and gently knead, 3 or 4 times, until it forms a dough. Pat dough into a 10- by 6-inch rectangle. It doesn’t have to be exact, so no need to pull out the ruler!
Brush dough with some remaining milk and sprinkle evenly with cinnamon sugar.
Beginning with a short side, roll up rectangle to form a 6-inch log and cut crosswise into 4 pieces.
Arrange pieces on the center of a baking sheet, cut sides up, with seams touching.
Bake buns in middle of oven until pale golden and cooked through, about 16 minutes.
Drizzle icing over warm buns.