Gingercins - make the best cinnamon buns EVER
PUBLISHED: 17:55 07 November 2018
Our food and drink editor is convinced these cinnamon buns swirled with gingerbread are the best thing she's ever baked.
If you’re on any form of diet (except the see-food variety) turn the page quick, because the recipe I’m about to reveal is so devilishly naughty you may put on weight just reading it. It is, if I do say so myself, one of the best things I’ve ever made.
The idea crept over me as I lay on the sofa mooching about, cradling a book and a mug of hot chocolate. I was pondering the whole world of hygge – that Scandinavian ethos and lifestyle which positively encourages anything which makes you feel cosy, warm and happy. And while dreaming about buying a fluffy new throw for the sofa, and embracing the autumnal weather (how beautiful are the leaves at the moment?) I also let my mind wander into the realms of food, as it does much of the time. The flavours that nourish and nurture my soul at this time of year are unsurprising. Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Ginger - those mystical Christmassy spices. When it’s dull outside, and the light begins to fade earlier and earlier, the idea of a glass of mulled wine, warmed to blood temperature alongside a slice of gingerbread or a spiced cookie does marvels to lift my mood. But the Holy Grail of comfort bakes has to be the cinnamon bun. Fresh from the oven, doused in glaze and so sticky they end up smeared across your cheeks, cinnamon buns bring a touch of luxury to any morning – they’re certainly worth getting out of bed for.
You may think making them is as simple as rustling up a batch of bread dough, but it’s the love, care and attention (there’s the hygge again) you put into them that makes all the difference. A rushed dough, not given the time it needs to prove and rest, will yield flattish, dry and uninspiring bakes. But given the proper time, and lavished with attention, they’ll rise magnificently, billowing in the oven into puffy, buttery pinwheels of dark-weather-busting joy.
How do you improve on greatness? You can’t really. However the little twist I’ve given my cinnamon buns made them a million more times (maybe an exaggeration) better. For in between the layers, instead of a mixture of butter, sugar and spice, I smoothed over gingerbread cake mix. As soon as they came out of the oven I glazed them with cinnamon-flavoured syrup (this keeps the inside moist) and once cool gave them a hefty dose of lemony icing.
I handed them out in the office and colleagues were begging for more. My son, who says he hates cinnamon and gingerbread, has requested them for his birthday. And I had to hide them from my greedy husband. If you want to put a little Scandinavian joy into your weekend I implore you to give them a try. And let me know how you got on. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
(makes 16 – or halve the recipe)
For the dough:
2 sachets (14g) dried yeast
800g strong white bread flour
175ml to 200ml warm water
150g caster sugar
140g butter, melted
3 medium eggs
1tsp fine sea salt
For the filling:
125g butter, melted
125g dark sugar
180g plain white flour
2.5tsps ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
1 medium egg
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
For the glaze:
100g caster sugar
1tsp ground cinnamon
Icing sugar mixed to a thick paste with lemon juice and water – it should be a piping consistency
Start 24 hours before you want to eat these for the best result. Pop the yeast into a bowl and add the warm water. Pour the flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl, mix and make a well in the centre. Once the yeast is bubbling on the surface of the water pour it into the well in the flour with the eggs, melted butter and milk. Bring together loosely into a shaggy dough with a knife, cover and leave for 30 minutes. On a floured surface knead the dough until smooth – this will take a while and don’t be tempted to add too much flour. Pop into a large greased bowl, place in a plastic bag and pop in the fridge overnight.
To prepare the filling simply mix all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and place in the fridge for at least two hours to thicken.
When the dough is ready, remove from the bowl and knead lightly on a floured surface again. Roll out to about 50cm long by 30cm. Spread the gingerbread mixture all over evenly, leaving a 1.5cm gap around the edges.
Now roll it up into a sausage shape, rolling the long sides inwards. This will be messy but don’t worry. Wrap it up and pop back in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. Carefully cut into 16 even circles (you may have to reshape them a bit as you go along), and pop onto two trays (eight per tray). It doesn’t matter if they touch slightly. I used a standard baking sheet.
Cover again in a plastic bag and leave to rise and prove for one hour somewhere warm, setting the oven to 220C. Once proved, pop the buns in the oven and cook for 20 to 22 minutes until risen and golden.
While baking make the cinnamon glaze. Pop the sugar and water in a small pan, bring to the boil then allow to simmer gently until all the sugar is dissolved. You want it to be runny but it should feel a bit like Vaseline between your fingers if you take some off a spoon.
As soon as the buns are ready, brush over the glaze and leave to cool then ice once cold. Serve fresh and enjoy.