You know how nothing beats a puffy, gooey, cinnamon bun? Well, do I ever have a recipe for you!
This recipe for cinnamon buns comes courtesy of my mom: (way) back in her day as an undergraduate student at the University of Alberta, she used to drop whatever she was doing at 10am and line up for a cinnamon bun from the U of A Tuck Shop. The Tuck Shop is gone (it was already a distant memory in my time at the U of A from 2000 to 2004), but at a recent reunion the University opened a temporary Tuck Shop cart where they sold cinnamon buns and handed out the recipe.
Mom was a little nervous to try making them—mostly because she was afraid they wouldn’t be the same—but when I arrived home for 10 days, she didn’t hesitate to ask me to give them a try. (With a severe warning that if they didn’t turn out as expected she might have to disown me).
Luckily for me, my mom, and my friends who were out at the cabin when I gave them a try they were delicious.
These cinnamon buns were moist, puffy, a little yeasty, and cinnamon sugary: everything a cinnamon bun should be. We devoured most of the pan in the morning, and in the afternoon served them with a simple glaze of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon (the glaze should become a permanent addition).
University of Alberta Tuck Shop Cinnamon Buns + Glaze
From: The University of Alberta 80th Anniversary Recipe
Makes: 18 cinnamon buns. These cinnamon buns can either be made the day of (requiring about 4-5 hours), or you can make the dough and do a first rise overnight (steps 1 through 5). In this case, you’ll need about 2 hours to prepare, proof, and bake the morning of. You might also try to steps 1 through 9 the night before and then cover and let prove (proof?) in the fridge overnight. I would let the buns warm to room temperature before baking.
- 2 packages instant yeast OR 1 oz fresh yeast
- 2 tbsp + 3 tbsp + 1 cup white sugar, divided
- 3 tbsp + 1/3 cup butter
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 cups + 3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or more)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- several shakes of cinnamon (to taste)
- Soften yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and 2 tbsp of the white sugar. Let this mixture sit until yeast is dissolved (about 10 minutes). This yeast mixture should (at least) double in size, so be sure to make in a big enough bowl.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of your electric mixer combine 2 cups boiling water with 3 tbsp of the butter, the 2 tsp salt and 3 tbsp of the sugar. Let the butter melt ant the mixture cool a bit.
- Add 2 cups of the all-purpose flour to the mixture and beat or knead (on 3 or 4) until very smooth and creamy (about 5 minutes).
- Add yeast mix, 3 eggs, and 3 1/4 cups more flour. Continue beating/kneading until the dough is very smooth. (It should be very soft. If the dough is too soft to handle, add a bit more flour (I needed to add about 1/4 cup. However, the less flour used, the better the buns will be!)
- Cover and let stand in a warm place to rise until the dough is doubles in bull (about 1 hour). Alternatively, cover and let rise in the fridge overnight. Once again make sure that your bowl is big enough, because this yeasty dough RISES.
- While the dough is rising (or in the morning once you’ve taken it out of the fridge), in a saucepan melt 1/3 cup butter and set aside to cool.
- In another flat dish mix 1 cup white sugar with 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon. When I did this it didn’t look cinnamon-y enough, so I added 1 full tablespoon more cinnamon (1/4 tablespoon at time and stopped when I like the look of the cinnamon to sugar ratio).
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and either cut or tear into 18 equal(ish) pieces. The original recipe says “cut into pieces about the size of an orange”, but instead I just tore the dough in half, and then each half in half again, and a third and fourth time (at which point I had 16 pieces) and then made two more pieces. It may have been easier to cut it into 18.
- Dip each piece of dough first into the melted margarine, then coat it well with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Stretch the dough until it is about 5-6 inches long and form it into a simple knot. Place the knots side by side in a 9″x12″x2″ pan (make sure it is at least 2″ deep). Once done I poured the leftover butter and sugar over the buns.
- Cover and let rise for 45 minutes.
- Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool.
- Immediately before serving, make your glaze: heat butter, brown sugar and several shakes of cinnamon in a saucepan. Add water as needed (about 1 tbsp) to make a glaze (but don’t heat so much as to make a candy)!
- Serve cinnamon buns upside-down on a plate with glaze.