Quick Cinnamon Buns with Buttermilk Icing

from Baking Illustrated by the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine

Makes 8

The bun is tender and fluffy, the filling is sweet and spicy, and the glaze is sinful, encouraging even the well-bred to lick the gooey remnants from their fingers.

Melted butter is used in both the filling and the dough and to grease the pan; melt the total amount (8 tablespoons) at once and measure it out as you need it.  The buns are best eaten warm, but they hold up well for up to two hours.


1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, for greasing the pan

Cinnamon Sugar Filling
¾ cup packed (5 ¼ ounces) dark brown sugar
¼ cup (1 ¾ ounces) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

2 ½ cups (12 ½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour,
plus additional flour for work surface
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners’ sugar

Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Pour 1 tablespoon of the melted butter into a 9-inch nonstick cake pan; brush to coat the pan.  Spray a wire cooling rack with nonstick cooking spray.

  1. FOR THE CINNAMON SUGAR FILLING:  Combine the sugars, spices, and salt in a small bowl.  Add 1 tablespoon of the melted butter and stir with a fork until the mixture resembles wet sand; set the filling mixture aside.
  2. FOR THE DOUGH:  Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk the buttermilk and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter in a measuring cup or small bowl.  Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until the liquid is absorbed (the dough will look very shaggy), about 30 seconds.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until just smooth and no longer shaggy.
  3. Pat the dough with your hands into a 12 by 9-inch rectangle.  Brush the dough with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter.  Sprinkle evenly with the filling, leaving a ½ inch border of plain dough around the edges.  Following the illustrations, press the filling firmly into the dough.  Using a bench scraper or metal spatula, loosen the dough from the work surface.  Starting at the long side, roll the dough, pressing lightly, to form a tight log.  Pinch the seam to seal.  Roll the log seam-side down and cut it evenly into 8 pieces.  With your hand, slightly flatten each piece of dough to seal the open edges and keep the filling in place.  Place 1 roll in the center of the prepared nonstick pan, then place the remaining 7 rolls around the perimeter of the pan.  Brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons melted butter.
  4. Bake until the edges of the buns are golden brown, 23 to 25 minutes.  Use an offset metal spatula to loosen the buns from the pan.  Wearing oven mitts, place a large plate over the pan and invert the buns onto the plate.  Place a greased cooling rack over the plate and invert the buns onto the rack.  Cool about 5 minutes before icing.
  5. FOR THE ICING AND TO FINISH THE BUNS:  While the buns are cooling, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy cleanup); set the rack with the buns over the baking sheet.  Whisk the cream cheese and buttermilk in a large nonreactive bowl until thick and smooth (the mixture will look like cottage cheese at first).  Sift the confectioners’ sugar over the mixture; whisk until a smooth glaze forms, about 30 seconds.  Spoon the glaze evenly over the buns; serve immediately.

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