Sometimes, you just want to invite a bunch of friends over for a feast; it doesn't have to be a special occasion, Thanksgiving or Christmas. For any occasion you want to celebrate with a crowd, Julie Van Rosendaal and Jan Scott have got you covered, with 110 recipes in Gatherings. These cinnamon buns will make any morning a special one.
If you anticipate an early morning, the authors recommend preparing these buns the night before, then cover and refrigerate to slow the rise. In the morning, you need only set them on the counter for half an hour in order to warm up before baking.
To make the dough, put warm water in a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer) and sprinkle it with the yeast and a pinch of the sugar. Let stand 5 minutes, or until foamy. (If it doesn’t foam, toss it and buy fresh yeast.)
In a small bowl, mix the warm milk and eggs together with a fork. Add to the yeast mixture along with 3 cups of the flour and the remaining sugar; mix until well blended and sticky.
Add the butter, salt and remaining flour and stir or beat with the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer until you have a soft, sticky dough. Knead for about 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. It will still be slightly tacky.
Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
Combine the butter, brown sugar, syrup and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring until the butter is melted. Divide between 2 buttered pie plates, two 9-inch cake pans or two 8 x 8-inch pans, pouring it over the bottom. If you like, scatter with pecan halves.
To make the buns, divide the dough in half and, on a lightly floured surface, roll each half into a rectangle that’s about 10 x 15-inches or even slightly bigger, even and about 1/2-inch thick. Brush each piece with half the melted butter and scatter with brown sugar; evenly distribute the sugar with your hand. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Starting on a long side, roll the dough up into a log and, using a serrated knife, cut it crosswise into thirds. Cut each of those 3 log-shaped pieces into thirds again—you should end up with 9 even pieces.
Place the 9 pieces into the pans, cut side facing up, with one bun in the middle and the rest around it, or in the case of a square pan, in 3 rows of 3. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for another hour, until doubled in bulk. (If you’re making them the night before, cover and place in the fridge for a slow rise; take them out and leave them on the countertop for 30 minutes or so before baking.)
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350˚F (175˚C). Put a baking sheet on the rack underneath (to catch any drips) and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until they turn a deep golden. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, but invert onto a plate while still warm. (If you wait too long and they get stuck in the pan, slide back into a hot oven to rewarm the goo, then try again.)
- 1 1/2 dozen