I am woefully behind the pack in the Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge. I think most people are on the L's or the M's. I am still puttering along in the C's. For a while, I blamed the cross-country move. Then I blamed house renovations. And there's always the baby. But clearly I just need to suck it up and get back to baking.
The eighth BBA bread is that lovely, decadent waist-spreader - the Cinnamon Bun. Now, I already had a go-to cinnamon bun recipe by my favorite food geek, Alton Brown. His recipe makes a delicious, quintessential batch of cinnamon buns with oozy goozy filly and irresistible cream cheese icing. If you substitute a tablespoon of espresso or strong coffee in the icing, you have a perfect lazy Sunday morning. I trot these buns out to impress visitors and satisfy sweet tooths. I even modified it a bit for a very pumpkiny Thanksgiving morning treat.
The verdict: Both recipes gave us flavorful buns that would delight any hungry breakfast-seeker. However, we have concluded that the perfect Cinnamon Bun would be a frankensteinian amalgamation of elements from both recipes. The Reinhart recipe yielded beautifully risen, cinnamon-laced, doughy clouds, and naturally, was the clear winner in terms of bread texture, flavor, and bun-poofiness. However, the Alton Brown recipe was the winner in terms of quantity and flavor of the filling - the little bit of melted butter helps with gooeyness of the filling that I think we can all agree is paramount to a satisfying cinnamon bun experience. I truly despised the addition of the lemon flavors in the Reinhart recipe. I found the citrus to be harsh and distracting. I also quite disliked the white fondant glaze. It was much too sugary in a slap-you-in-the-face kind of way.
Therefore, let me introduce to you my Cinnamon Frankenbun (just in time for Halloween): The Reinhart dough recipe minus the lemon (vanilla, perhaps?), the Alton Brown filling, and the Alton Brown cream cheese icing with the brewed espresso substitution. Ahhhh, perfection at last.
adapted from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice and Alton Brown
- 8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- 3/4-ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons
- 2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, approximately 1/4 cup
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon strong coffee
- 5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups