From America's Test Kitchen Season 3: Quick Breads
A tender, fluffy bun with a sweet cinnamon filling and rich glaze is a brunch treat no one will turn down. Most recipes, though, require yeast, which makes cinnamon buns time-consuming to make. We went into the kitchen to find a shortcut to good-tasting homemade cinnamon buns.
Eliminating the yeast would reduce the prep time substantially, so we started with the assumption that our leavener would be baking powder. A cream biscuit recipe, which could be mixed all in one bowl, was our starting point; buttermilk rather than cream (plus baking soda to balance the acidity of the buttermilk) made the interior of the biscuits light and airy. A small amount of melted butter restored some of the richness we had lost by eliminating the cream. A brief kneading ensured that the rolls would rise in the oven. We patted out the dough rather than rolling it and covered it with the filling of brown and granulated sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt, with melted butter to help the mixture adhere to the dough. We rolled up the dough, cut the buns, and put them in a nonstick cake pan to bake. When they were done, we topped the buns with a quick glaze of confectioners’ sugar, buttermilk, and cream cheese. These cinnamon buns were on the table in less than a quarter of the time it would have taken for yeast buns—and they were just as tasty.
Makes 8 buns
Melted butter is used in both the filling and the dough and to grease the pan; it’s easiest to melt the total amount (8 tablespoons) at once and measure it out as you need it. The finished buns are best eaten warm, but they hold reasonably well for up to 2 hours.