Happy Cinnamon Bun Day! I’m just checking in briefly, as we’re en route to London; The first city Mikkel and I visited together, and now we can’t wait to show it to August. But, I couldn’t let an opportunity to share the recipe for these soft cinnamon rolls spiced with nutty brown butter along with a whisky glaze go by unnoticed. So here I am, typing away at 6 AM while my two boys are sleeping upstairs.
Throughout the years I’ve tested and tweaked a dozen of recipes for cinnamon rolls, starting in cooking class in elementary school. Yet, I always found they were either too dry or that the ratio between filling and dough was a bit off. These cinnamon rolls, however, are just right. They’re soft, thanks to eggs and butter, and warm, thanks to a great amount of cinnamon and a hint of whisky. Perfect for Sunday brunch or a comforting companion to a cuppa, a blanket, feet up, and a good book. It’s Autumn, after all.
They’re the kind of pastry our family will drive through town to help us eradicate. However, don’t worry if you don’t have a big family to help you out – these cinnamon rolls don’t turn dry the day after. They also freeze well, and they can be made a day ahead, set to rise overnight in the fridge and pulled out to bake whenever you crave a freshly baked cinnamon roll. Just make sure to let them temper outside the fridge for one hour before you pop them in the oven.
Start by browning the butter; Place the butter in a pan over low temperature until it has melted completely. At this point, I usually raise the temperature to medium and let it cook while stirring the pan every now and then. Water will begin to evaporate quickly from the butter. As a result the butter will start to bubble and splatter. Constantly stirring the butter with a spatula will make sure that all bobbles get released and prevent splatter. Now, keep an eye on the butter and keep stirring. It will begin to turn brown and smell toasted and nutty. As long as it does that, you’re fine. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as it has browned to your liking.
Pour the milk into a bowl and turn the butter into the milk, whisking until the temperature of the milk-butter no longer feels hot when your little finger is dipped into the mixture (approx. 37C/ 98,6F).
Place the yeast in a mixing bowl along with the salt and sugar. Pour the lukewarm milk-butter into the bowl. Stir until the yeast has dissolved. Add the eggs and stir again. Add the flour and knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is soft and no longer stick to the sides.
Cover the bowl with a moist cloth and set to rise for about 1 hour until the dough is doubled in size.
FOR THE FILLING
While the dough raises, make the filling: Stir together butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl.
Punch down the dough. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to a rectangle measuring 30x40 cm/12x18 inches. Spread the filling evenly on the dough’s surface. Then roll up the dough and pinch the edges together to seal.
Use a nylon or sewing thread to cut the dough into 12 slices. Don’t use a knife, as it will distort the shape of the roll.
Place the rolls in two greased pie dishes (or two oven-proof, medium-sized frying pans) and leave to rise until dough is doubled, about 45 minutes.
While the dough rises, preheat the oven to 200 C/400F.
Bake for rolls for 20-22 minutes until nicely browned.
FOR THE GLAZE
Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a bowl mix together powdered sugar, whisky, and two tablespoons milk (add the milk by 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches desired consistency). Then spread the glaze over the slightly cooled rolls.