cinnamon rolls, The Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever (with Baileys Glaze!), SpicyFig, SpicyFig

This light and airy cinnamon rolls recipe will make your home the family favourite for Sunday brunch! A light yeast dough is wrapped up in butter, brown sugar, raisins and pecans and glazed with an optional Irish cream glaze. The best cinnamon roll recipe by miles!

The Best Cinnamon Rolls….

The girls and I have been doing a lot of baking during lockdown. I’ve reached back into my mental recipe box and done some digging for recipes that I made way back when..( when I worked on yachts.)

Having been married to an Englishman I became accustomed to Hot Cross Buns as an English Easter tradition. I’m now divorced so this Easter I decided to put an American spin on that Easter tradition and make sticky cinnamon rolls with my girls here in France. We had time on our hands. I had the recipe in an old notebook. And lockdown has made me mildly homesick. So cinnamon rolls it was! And they are so damn delicious I needed to share the recipe….

Making Cinnamon Buns….

This recipe is not a 20 minute recipe. But cinnamon rolls are not something we eat every day. (Unless you live next to a CinnaBon and aim to weigh 500 lbs.) But trust me. If you only make these rolls a few times a year it will be something you genuinely look forward to in the months in between!

cinnamon rolls, The Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever (with Baileys Glaze!), SpicyFig, SpicyFig

Notes on making these cinnamon rolls..

  • Plan ahead! This is a yeast dough that needs to rise twice. If you want them for early morning you can make the dough the night before and allow it to rise in the refrigerator overnight . Alternatively, you can prepare the cinnamon buns the day before and allow them to sit, covered in the fridge until morning and bake them then. But don’t expect to start the recipe at 8am to have them ready to serve at 9!
  • Have all of your stuffing ingredients prepped and ready to go before rolling out your dough. That means toasting the nuts, plumping the raisins, melting the butter.
  • The recipe calls for light brown baking sugar. In France that can be found in English markets or some grocery stores (sucre vergeoise blonde).
  • The icing can be made with an Irish cream liquor like Baileys or it can just be made with milk – both delicious!
  • This makes a LOT of buns. You can freeze what you don’t eat by placing the cool buns in a freezer ziplock bag on the day you make them to protect their light texture.

Notes on making the dough…

The dough for these cinnamon rolls has potato in it. That may seem weird to some but this is why potatoes are often added to bread:

  • Adding potato to dough adds to the moisture content and makes the dough easier to handle and knead.
  • Potato in bread dough makes it harder for the flour to form gluten which is what makes dough tough. So you have a more delicate, airy bread in the end.
  • Potato breads have a longer shelf life than their all-flour counterparts.
  • Adding the flour: I used to make bread every day. This is what I have learned: Use the amount of flour in the recipe as a guideline only. Once your dough is shaggy and cleanly pulling away from the sides of the bowl you can stop adding flour. You may need to add a bit more as you knead but adding too much flour to your dough is the death of a good bread.

If you want to skip the potato in the recipe you can use warm milk in place of the potato water and some additional flour. But I recommend the extra step of the potato. Your cinnamon rolls will thank you!

cinnamon rolls, The Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever (with Baileys Glaze!), SpicyFig, SpicyFig

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The Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever (with Baileys Glaze!)

cinnamon rolls, The Best Cinnamon Rolls Ever (with Baileys Glaze!), SpicyFig, SpicyFig

Please read the tips above for making these amazing cinnamon rolls.

  • Author: Jessica Verity, Spicy Fig
  • Prep Time: 35 min (plus rising time)
  • Cook Time: 25 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 18 rolls 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 medium potato (6 oz/170g), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon dry yeast (you need 2 envelopes, but not in entirety)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (or regular sugar)
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105-115F/40-46C)
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/25 1/2 cups of flour 
  • For filling:
  • 4 Tablespoons of butter (56g), melted
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup dark raisins, plumped in hot water for 10 minutes and drained
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • For Glaze:
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 45 Tablespoons Baileys or milk

 

Instructions

  1. Place the potato in a saucepan covered with salted water and bring to a boil. Cook until fork tender. Reserve 1 cup of the potato cooking water before draining the potatoes. Place in a food processor with the butter and process until you have a smooth puree. 
  2. Place the 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast and pinch of sugar on top. Stir once and allow to sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.
  3. To make the dough: If you have a stand mixer use it with the paddle attachment. Otherwise, use a large bowl and a wooden spoon. Place the potato puree, yeast mixture, potato water, 1/2 cup sugar, oil, room temperature egg, salt and 2 cups of flour in the bowl and beat hard for 1 minute, until well combined. 
  4. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is shaggy and easily and cleanly pulling away from the sides of the bowl. **see above note about making the dough
  5. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and begin kneading, adding only 1 tablespoon of flour at a time if necessary. Knead until the dough is silky, smooth and springs back when pressed with a finger.
  6. Grease a large bowl and place the dough in the bowl, flipping once to coat the top. Cover with plastic wrap and place the bowl in a warm area to allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. 
  7. Gently punch the dough to deflate it. Re-cover the bowl and keep in the warm area for the dough to rise again, about 50 min. Gently deflate.
  8. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the dough into 2 equal portions. On a lightly floured surface roll each portion of dough into a rectangle about 10″ x 17″.
  9. With a pastry brush, brush each of the rectangles with the melted butter.
  10. Sprinkle half of the brown sugar over each of the rectangles, leaving a 1 inch border along each edge. Sprinkle the cinnamon, raisins and nuts evenly over each of the 2 rectangles.
  11. Starting on the long side of the dough roll up the dough in a jelly-roll fashion. Pinch the seam together at the end. Using a bread knife slice each rectangle into 9 pieces, each about 1 1/2 inches wide.
  12. Place the cinnamon rolls on the baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each roll. Gently press down on each roll to flatten slightly. Cover the rolls lightly with plastic wrap and allow to puff up slightly for 20 minutes. (Alternatively you can now place them in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake them.)
  13. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Place the cinnamon buns on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, about 20-25 minutes.
  14. Remove the rolls from the oven and place on a rack to cool. Make the glaze by combining the sugar and milk or Baileys. You may need to adjust by adding more milk or more sugar until you have a thick glaze that will pour easily.
  15. With a spoon or a pastry brush drizzle or brush the glaze over the cinnamon rolls.
  16. Serve warm. 
  17. If you will not eat all the buns in the first day you can freeze them that day to maintain their light, airy texture. Once they have cooled completely place them in a freezer-safe ziplock bag and pop in the freezer. 

Keywords: cinnamon rolls, cinnamon buns, sticky buns