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Cinnamon Buns with Cream Cheese Icing

by Sophie Missing, Caroline Craig from The Little Book of Brunch

Indulge in an impressive batch of cinnamon buns with this easy recipe from The Little Book of Brunch. These buns can be proved overnight ready to bake in the morning.

From the book

Caroline Craig, Sophie Missing


Somewhere between a sticky bun and an American iced cinnamon roll, these pastries are just as good with builder’s tea as they are with filter coffee.

Baking with yeast requires time: on the plus side, it’s not as though you have to be anxiously hovering around the kitchen. Say you start these at 6pm: by 6.30pm you should be able to leave the dough for its first prove, leaving you free to make dinner, watch TV or mindlessly browse the internet (whatever floats your boat). By 9pm the dough will be ready to knock back and roll, then you can chill the shaped buns overnight (the cold temperature slows down the yeast, preventing them from over-proving). Whenyou wake up, they’ll be ready to bake.

Bar bacon frying or coffee brewing, there are few things more pleasant or enticing than the smell of cinnamon buns baking, and any annoyance you might have felt at the mild faff of the thing will soon be forgotten as you take your first bite of a just-iced bun.

For a Chelsea-style bun, add 250g currants to the filling.

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350ml milk
75g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
7 x 7g sachets fast-action dried yeast
750g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
75g sugar
½ tsp salt
100g yoghurt or buttermilk
oil for greasing
50g demerara sugar
milk, for brushing
For the filling:
50g unsalted butter
200g soft brown sugar
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
½ tbsp allspice
For the icing:
120g cream cheese
40g icing sugar
pinch of salt (optional)

Essential kit

You will need a large rectangular baking tray


In a small pan, warm the milk over a medium heat (don’t let it bubble), then add the butter and leave to melt. Sprinkle over the yeast and mix together until any lumps dissolve.

Whisk the flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Gradually add the milk-butter mixture, mixing together with a wooden spoon. When combined, add the yoghurt or buttermilk and mix again.

The dough should be fairly sticky, with an almost porridge-like consistency.

Flour your work surface generously, turn the dough onto it and knead until smooth and supple – this should take about 5–10 minutes. Grease a large bowl with a little oil, add the dough to it and cover with cling film. Leave somewhere warm for 2 hours. While the dough is proving you can make the filling. Melt the butter and leave to cool slightly. Combine the sugar and spices in a small bowl.

When the dough has doubled in size, line a large rectangular baking tray with greaseproof paper, grease with a little butter and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Clear a large area of your work surface and lightly flour. Turn out the dough, punch it down and roll out to a large, even rectangle – around ½cm thick and 50 x 35cm. Brush the butter over the dough, then sprinkle over the sugar and spices, covering it right up to the edges.

Roll the longer side of the dough in on itself to make a fat sausage – try to keep it as even as you can so you end up with similar sized buns. Cut the dough sausage in half, then cut the two halves in half again so you have 4 pieces. Cut each of these into 3 equal pieces. Place on your lined tray, spacing them a couple of centimetres apart, then cover with cling film and leave for at least an hour, or pop in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, or when you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Remove the buns from the fridge (if necessary) and brush the tops with milk – this will help them to turn a nice golden brown. Bake in the hot oven for 30 minutes.

Beat the icing ingredients together in a bowl and spread on the buns a couple of minutes after removing from the oven. Eat immediately.

Preparation time: 1 hour, plus proving and chilling

Cooking time: 30 minutes

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From the book: The Little Book of Brunch

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