Cinnamon Raisin Buns
The first time I tasted Cinnamon Buns was fall 198x in New York City (I’d better stop there before I date myself). It was a cool fall evening and my mom and I had come back in from shopping. As we got off the elevator, I was hit with the smell of yeasty bits of baked goodies wafting down the hallway. As I approached our apartment door, it became apparent that the smell was coming from my aunt’s apartment. When I went inside I'd disovered that she'd had made cinnamon buns. Well she wasn’t technically making them from scratch, she had opened one of those tubes of chilled dough, cut them up and put them in the oven. I was touched because my aunt's idea of baking was buying a box of Entermann’s all butter pound cake and cutting it up for dessert.
As the days get shorter, and the nights cooler I'm back to baking. To kickstart my fall baking, I've dug into my pile of recipes and today I'm starting with my cinnamon raisin buns. Whether you mix the dough by hand, or using an electric mixer, this is the type of recipe that will get your hands messy. I typically start the recipe in a because I use my fingers to spread the cinnamon sugar over the rolled out dough. I’ve tried using the back of a spoon, shaking the mixture across the dough, and even spreading it on with a pastry brush but nothing beats the feel of spreading the sugar mixture across the dough by hand.
This week, I was having some friends over and whipped up these beautiful cinnamon buns for the occasion. I made a double batch, baked one and put the other batch in the freezer for the next time I'm having guests over. I wish my aunt was still alive today so that I could invite her over for tea and home made cinnamon raisin buns.
Cinnamon Raisin Buns
1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan on the stove until it just starts to bubble, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and let cool until lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside until yeast is frothy, about 10 minutes or so.
2. Then mix in eggs, sugar, butter salt and raisins (stir in the cooled milk slowly so you don't cook the eggs.) Add the flour gradually to make a stiff dough. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes until smooth. I like to add my raisins into the dough, so that it’s combined all the way through.
3. Cover and let rise until the dough has doubled in size (about 30 minutes). Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle 1/2 inch thick. Moisten the dough with 2 tablespoons milk and rub all over the dough with your hands. Mix together 1 cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons cinnamon and sprinkle mixture evenly on top of the moistened dough. Roll up tightly (the long way). The roll should be about 3 inches in diameter.
4. Cut individual rolls, using a piece of dental floss into one inches thick pieces. Place rolls in greased pie plate or 9x13 baking pan. Let rise in warm place, uncovered, until the rolls double in size (approx 30 minutes). Bake 350 for 30 minutes or until the rolls are crusty and golden. Remove from oven and let cool.
5. While the rolls are cooling mix together 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened , 2 cups powdered sugar , 4 tablespoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Generously spread over cooled rolls.