I have a little obsession with cinnamon buns. I love them. A lot. They are the ultimate comfort food for when you have a carb and sugar craving. This is my choice. Always. However, a good cinnamon bun is hard to find. I want my bun to be swirled beautifully with cinnamon sugar. It should shine in the light and should be relatively sticky. There should be NO raisins and NO white icing. Those are my conditions. As a result, I make my own. I have a tried and tested recipe that I almost always use. It turns out perfect cinnamon buns every time. But today I thought I would try something a little different. Something that would elevate the cinnamon bun to a new level of decadence. A sticky caramel cinnamon bun.
Obviously the only place to go for such a ridiculously over-decadent item is Flour. I’ve waxed lyrical about Flour before. It’s a wonderful example of American baking and the recipes work. (Well, the ones I’ve tried anyway.) You make a brioche dough then roll and fill it with cinnamon sugar and pecans before proving it and baking it in caramel sauce. OMG. You could run the Comrades on this amount of sugar. Its insane. In a good way.
Caramel Cinnamon Buns
Adapted from Flour
320g cake flour
200g bread flour
150g stone ground cake flour
3 and a 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
95ml caster sugar
1 tablespoon salt
125ml cold water
310g unsalted butter, room temperature
170g unsalted butter
330g light brown sugar
80g double cream
55g light brown sugar
50g granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans, toasted and bashed
Firstly, make the caramel. Melt the butter then add in the sugar. Stir own to ensure it’s all mixed up then allow the sugar to dissolve. Off the heat add in the water, honey and cream. If the mixture seizes, return it to the heat and allow everything to dissolve once more. Strain into a bowl and allow to cool.
Grease a rectangular baking dish.
For the brioche, place the dry ingredients in a standing mixer bowl. With the speed on low, add the eggs and water and allow the mixer to beat until the mixture comes together. It won’t look like much yet. This takes 5 to 10 minutes.
Start adding in the butter, a large-ish cube at a time. Allow the dough to absorb the butter before adding in any more. Once all the butter is added, mix on a medium speed for 10-15 minutes until the dough is soft, silky and pliable.
Place the dough in the mixer bowl and cover with cling film. Allow the dough to prove for 2 hours. You can refrigerate it overnight at this point if you need too. Roll the dough into a large rectangle with the long side closest to you. Mix together the filling ingredients but only add in half a cup of the pecans. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough. Roll the dough down from the top, making sure its tightly rolled. Using a large knife, slice the dough into 12 equal pieces. Pour the caramel into the baking dish and sprinkle with the rest of the pecans. Place the buns cut side down into the caramel, allowing some space between each bun. Allow to prove for 2 hours in a warm place.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Once at temperature, bake the buns for 35-40 minutes. They will get fairly dark on top but you need a long baking time to ensure the buns cook through.
Remove from the baking tray individually and spoon extra caramel and pecans from the tray. These are not particularly beautiful specimens but that taste extraordinary. You may need to run around the block after.