Paul hates cinnamon buns, ok maybe hate is a harsh word but he strongly, strongly dislikes cinnamon buns. I have never really understood it, I mean who doesn’t like cinnamon buns?
They happen to be one of my favourite baked items with their ooey gooey, pull apart, cinnamon laced goodness. It is normally what I get if we are at a bakery; they just always call my name. And every time I say to Paul, "do you want a bite" and every time he casually denies “nah, I don’t really like cinnamon buns, they are not my thing”. And every time, I look at him astonished as if I just found out this dirty secret of his.
For a while I questioned whether he was the right person for me, that is how strong my love of cinnamon buns is and then I thought well that is just ridiculous Lyndsey you can move on from this (kidding of course). But I really do still stand there dumbfounded every time he passes on a bite or says nah not my thing.
Of course this story has a good ending, I may have finally converted Paul to the other side of the cinnamon bun debate with this here recipe. It is adapted from a bon appetit recipe and honestly I almost died and went to heaven after my first bite. These cinnamon buns are quite literally the best I have ever had, a co-worker of mine said the same thing (my work momma to be exact). Now two peoples opinion can’t exactly make a recipe that amazing can they, well let me tell you Paul reluctantly took a bite of one and by the next day half of the pan was gone, half!
And he as repeatedly said to me, "those were good cinnamon buns", "those buns were really good", it seemed he was in just as much shock as I was. By the time I got home from work the next night I think there may have been two left, and here I thought I was going to have to bring a tray into work because as much as I wanted to I couldn’t eat all of the buns to myself. Well I could but you know the old waist line might not have appreciated it.
So here you have it a cinnamon bun recipe that converted a non-cinnamon bun liker to maybe a lover. Paul has asked me numerous times to remake them already (I think I might on Friday for a weekend treat), a guy who I could hardly even get to look at a cinnamon bun before.
I am not sure that he would like any other bun; I do think these ones are something special. They remind me slightly of the Cinnabon buns but just a little more sophisticated. The recipe uses part spelt flour in the dough which adds a nice nutty flavour, the date paste in the middle is creamy and laced with extra dashes of cinnamon, plus using dates means it doesn’t leave you with that gritty sugar taste you can sometimes get with cinnamon buns. And I find because the the dates are cooked down they are a little less sweet than the regular brown sugar and cinnamon combination. And maybe a tad better for the waistline, although all in all they are a cinnamon bun, so moderation is key.
They are barely baked, which means they are pillowy soft and still have that fresh dough like consistency. If that doesn’t float your cinnamon bun boat you could always leave them in the oven longer. They can be made all in one day, you don’t need to rise the dough overnight, although there are still two rises. It is a little bit of a process but it seems to me that the best things in life are a bit of a process. A labour of love that is completely worth the end result I say oh and again the best cinnamon buns I have ever had and maybe a few other people too.
pecan date paste cinnamon buns + maple cream cheese icing
1 1/2 cups of water
20 medjool dates pitted (about one cup)
1/4 tsp himlayan salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 tbsp of cinnamon
2/3 cup buttermilk, divided (1/3 & 1/3)
4 tbsp honey, divided
1 envelope of active dry yeast
2 large egg yolks
1 large eggs
1 cup spelt flour
1 tsp of himlayan salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 cup butter
1 cup icing sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp maple syrup
In a medium sauce pan, bring dates, salt and 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring and mashing occasionally until the dates start to fall apart and the water is evaporated, bringing it to a thick paste, about 10-15 minutes. Let the dates cool slightly, then stir in butter and cinnamon. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat 1/3 of the buttermilk and 1 tbsp of honey in a small saucepan until lukewarm. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine warm milk and honey mixture with the package of yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast is foamy.
Next add in the egg yolks, 1 egg, the rest of the buttermilk, spelt flour, salt, all-purpose flour and remaining 3 tbsp of honey.
Mix on medium speed until dough is smooth, shiny and elastic, about 5-8 minutes.
With motor running, add 1/2 cup of room temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, waiting until each piece is incorporated into the dough before adding the next. Once all the butter is added mix for one minute and then increase the speed to medium-high and mix for another 6-8 minutes until the dough is smooth, soft and supple.
Butter the inside of a medium sized bowl, place dough in and cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel. Let dough rise in a warm spot (next to the heater is perfect) until it has doubled in size, 1-1 1/2 hours.
assembling the buns
Take the risen dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough 6-8 times then, roll the dough out into one large rectangle 1/4 inch thick. Evenly spread the date mixture over the dough and sprinkle with the chopped pecans (if using).
Roll the dough up into one large log and then lightly pinch the seam together. Using a serrated knife, with a slow gentle slicing motion cut the log into 1 1/2 inch rolls.
Place the rolls on a parchment lined baking sheet or in a parchment lined cast iron skillet.
Cover buns with a clean dish towel and let rise in warm spot until almost doubled in size, 40-50 minutes.
Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes for the barely baked kind and 20-25 for a more golden brown cinnamon bun.
maple cream cheese icing
In a stand mixer, beat the the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the icing sugar a little at a time, making sure it is incorporated well. Add in the vanilla and maple syrup, and mix for another minute or two. You can add a little milk if the consistency is too thick, I would only add in 1 tbsp at a time, until you get the desired consistency.
Spread the icing over the buns while they are still warm and serve immediately.
If you do not have a stand mixer, let the yeast, milk and honey stand in a large bowl. Then whisk all of the ingredients into the yeast. knead dough on a clean floured surface until it comes together (5-8 minutes). Knead in butter until it is well incorporated.
If you seem to have to much of the date filling you do not have to use the entire mixture, this can really depend on how thin you roll out your dough.