Rolls and Buns, whats not to like?



I was really excited when the marvelous Marce announced that this months Daring Bakers Challenge would be Cinnamon/Sticky Buns. My family loves them. And a pan of either doesnt ever sit over night in our house. So here we go… I didnt have much of a problem with this recipe. The biggest hurdle was deciding if the dough was tacky but not sticky, I ended up adding more flour, then deciding it wasnt tacky enough and then adding more milk because it was too sticky. Foreseeing a never ending loop, I called it done and put it in the bowl to rise. It did indeed double in size within the 2 hours. I rolled ’em out, dusted em with the cinnasugar , rolled em up and cut them into about an inch and a half a piece. Let ’em rise again for 90 minutes, and they did almost double in size once more. Then, I baked them up. The smell in the house was to die for. I LOVE that yeasty smell in the house. That smell alone will make any house feel like home.


Taste wise, I thought the cinnamon buns could have used more cinnamon. There didnt seem to be enough cinnamon sugar in them for me. I may be biased because I have a cinnamon roll recipe that smothers them. They had a delicate flavor. I loved the depth of flavor in the sweet dough. It was soft and tender. The fondant icing. eh. I could take it or leave it. Maybe Cinnabon ruined me, but I like cream cheese frosting on my buns. The fondant icing did compliment the flavor very well though. My husband said they were great. And my 2 boys devoured one a piece and asked for another. If I make them again, I will use another flavoring extract or none at all. I was not fond of the lemon with the cinnamon. Maybe orange, or plain ole niller.


The sticky buns… hrmm.. Where did I go wrong? They came out more hard caramel like than just sticky. It was well on its way to being candy brittle. Maybe it cooked too long? It got crunchy on the outside and I had to pry them off the pan to release them. I cooked them the minimum time in the recipe for the sticky buns. Only 30 minutes. They did seem a little on the dark side for me, but the recipe said they may be darker on the top, which in turn would be the bottom. And you had to be sure to let the bottom cook, which would end up being the top. I added walnuts and dried tart cherries. The walnuts in the caramel were fantastic. I mean I LOVED them. However, I wish I had used plain raisins instead of the tart cherries, I think their flavor was too much for this recipe. It needed a subtler dried fruit. Or no fruit. The walnuts would have done well as the star of the show. Next time I will check them earlier and take them out as soon as they are done.


I did really enjoy making these cinnamon buns and sticky buns. Thanks Marce for this very tasty Challenge! And thanks to the Daring Bakers again for having me. I am having a blast!!! Please check out the Daring Bakers Blogroll to see how the other fabulous bakers did!


Cinnamon and Sticky Buns
(from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice)

Daring Bakers Challenge #10: September 2007

Host: Marce (Pip in the City)
Post Date: Sunday, September 30

Allowed Modifications:

  • You can mix up the spices to your liking. Meaning you don´t have to use cinnamon if you don´t like it. I´m thinking you could use ginger, allspice, cardamom, etc. (Personally, I´m going to leave the sticky buns as they are and mix up spices in the cinnamon buns)
  • You can do both cinnamon and sticky buns or choose one.
  • You don´t have to use nuts for the sticky buns if you are allergic or you don´t like nuts.
  • You don´t have to use raisins for the sticky buns, and you can substitute the raisins for any other dried fruit you like and think would work with the other flavors.
  • Recipe ingredient exception allowed only if allergy or an ingredient not available or cost prohibitive in your region

Days to Make: One (1)
Active/Resting/Baking Time: 15 minutes to mix, 3 1/2 hours fermentation/shaping/proofing, 20 – 40 minutes to bake
Recipe Quantity: Eight(1) – twelve (12) large rolls or twelve (12) – sixteen (16) small rolls

Making the Dough


  • 6 1/2 tablespoons (3.25 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons (2.75 ounces) shortening or unsalted butter or margarine
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract OR 1 teaspoon grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 1/2 cups (16 ounces) unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast*
  • 1 1/8 to 1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk, at room temperature OR 3 tablespoons powdered milk (DMS) and 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon sugar (6 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, or any other spices you want to use, cardamom, ginger, allspice, etc.)
  • White fondant glaze for cinnamon buns or caramel glaze for sticky buns (at the end of the recipe.)
  • Walnuts, pecans, or other nuts (for sticky buns.)
  • Raisins or other dried fruit, such as dried cranberries or dried cherries (for sticky buns, optional.)

*Instant yeast contains about 25% more living cells per spoonful than active dry yeast, regardless of the brand. Instant yeast is also called rapid-rise or fast-rising.

Step 1 – Making the Dough: Cream together the sugar, salt, and shortening or butter on medium-high speed in an electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a large metal spoon and mixing bowl and do it by hand).

Note: if you are using powdered milk, cream the milk with the sugar, and add the water with the flour and yeast.

Whip in the egg and lemon extract/zest until smooth. Then add the flour, yeast, and milk. Mix on low speed (or stir by hand) until the dough forms a ball. Switch to the dough hook and increase the speed to medium, mixing for approximately 10 minutes (or knead by hand for 12 to 15 minutes), or until the dough is silky and supple, tacky but not sticky. You may have to add a little flour or water while mixing to achieve this texture. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it around to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.

Step 2 – Fermentation: Ferment at room temperature for approximately 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.

Step 3 – Form the Buns: Mist the counter with spray oil and transfer the dough to the counter. Proceed as shown in the photo below for shaping the buns.

(Transcription in case photo did not print: (A) Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, lightly dusting the top with flour to keep it from sticking to the pin. Roll it into a rectangle about 2/3 inch thick and 14 inches wide by 12 inches long for larger buns, or 18 inches wide by 9 inches long for smaller buns. Don´t roll out the dough too thin, or the finished buns will be tough and chewy rather than soft and plump. (B)Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough and (C) roll the dough up into a cigar-shaped log, creating a cinnamon-sugar spiral as you roll. With the seam side down, cut the dough into 8 to 12 pieces each about 1 3/4 inches thick for larger buns, or 12 to 16 pieces each 1 1/4 inch thick for smaller buns.)

Step 4 – Prepare the Buns for Proofing:

  • For cinnamon buns: line 1 or more sheet pans with baking parchment. Place the buns approximately 1/2 inch apart so that they aren´t touching but are close to one another.
  • For sticky buns: coat the bottom of 1 or more baking dishes or baking pans with sides at least 1 1/2 inches high with a 1/4 inch layer of the caramel glaze. Sprinkle on the nuts and raisins (if you are using raisins or dried fruit.) You do not need a lot of nuts and raisins, only a sprinkling. Lay the pieces of dough on top of the caramel glaze, spacing them about 1/2 inch apart. Mist the dough with spray oil and cover loosely with plastic wrap or a food-grade plastic bag.

Step 5 – Proof the Buns: Proof at room temperature for 75 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces have grown into one another and have nearly doubled in size. You may also retard the shaped buns in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, pulling the pans out of the refrigerator 3 to 4 hours before baking to allow the dough to proof.

Step 6 – Bake the Buns:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with the oven rack in the middle shelf for cinnamon buns but on the lowest shelf for sticky buns.
  • Bake the cinnamon buns for 20 to 30 minutes or the sticky buns 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown. If you are baking sticky buns, remember that they are really upside down (regular cinnamon buns are baked right side up), so the heat has to penetrate through the pan and into the glaze to caramelize it. The tops will become the bottoms, so they may appear dark and done, but the real key is whether the underside is fully baked. It takes practice to know just when to pull the buns out of the oven.

Step 8 – Cool the buns:

  • For cinnamon buns, cool the buns in the pan for about 10 minutes and then streak white fondant glaze across the tops, while the buns are warm but not too hot. Remove the buns from the pans and place them on a cooling rack. Wait for at least 20 minutes before serving.
  • For the sticky buns, cool the buns in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes and then remove them by flipping them over into another pan. Carefully scoop any run-off glaze back over the buns with a spatula. Wait at least 20 minutes before serving.

Toppings for the Buns:

White fondant glaze for cinnamon buns

Cinnamon buns are usually topped with a thick white glaze called fondant. There are many ways to make fondant glaze, but here is a delicious and simple version, enlivened by the addition of citrus flavor, either lemon or orange. You can also substitute vanilla extract or rum extract, or simply make the glaze without any flavorings.

Sift 4 cups of powdered sugar into a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon or orange extract and 6 tablespoons to 1/2 cup of warm milk, briskly whisking until all the sugar is dissolved. Add the milk slowly and only as much as is needed to make a thick, smooth paste.

When the buns have cooled but are still warm, streak the glaze over them by dipping the tines of a fork or a whisk into the glaze and waving the fork or whisk over the tops. Or, form the streaks by dipping your fingers in the glaze and letting it drip off as you wave them over the tops of the buns. (Remember to wear latex gloves.)

Caramel glaze for sticky buns

Caramel glaze is essentially some combination of sugar and fat, cooked until it caramelizes. The trick is catching it just when the sugar melts and lightly caramelizes to a golden amber. Then it will cool to a soft, creamy caramel. If you wait too long and the glaze turns dark brown, it will cool to a hard, crack-your-teeth consistency. Most sticky bun glazes contain other ingredients to influence flavor and texture, such as corn syrup to keep the sugar from crystallizing and flavor extracts or oils, such as vanilla or lemon. This version makes the best sticky bun glaze of any I´ve tried. It was developed by my wife, Susan, for Brother Juniper´s Cafe in Forestville, California.
NOTE: you can substitute the corn syrup for any neutral flavor syrup, like cane syrup or gold syrup.

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature.

2. Cream together for 2 minutes on high speed with the paddle attachment. Add 1/2 cup corn syrup and 1 teaspoon lemon, orange or vanilla extract. Continue to cream for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.

3. Use as much of this as you need to cover the bottom of the pan with a 1/4-inch layer. Refrigerate and save any excess for future use; it will keep for months in a sealed container.


50 thoughts on “Rolls and Buns, whats not to like?

  1. Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful! =)

    And you’ve taught me something I never knew.. here’s my confession.. I’ve never had a cinnabon. Can you believe it?? How sheltered am I? Ugh. I need to find a store – ASAP.. because I’ve always wanted to try them, but now that you’ve told me they use cream cheese icing.. well.. I MUST TRY ONE! *swoon*

    Well, even though your sticky buns turned out a lil crispedy, they sure are gorgeous! I think you did a fabulous job, sweetie!


  2. Your buns look lovely. I’m sorry that the sticky buns didn’t turn out as you hoped. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. But so long as they tasted good, it’s all good right.

  3. Me too, more cinnamon! And yes to the cream cheese icing that would be grand. But I really liked the lemon – but then maybe that went with the blueberries I used.
    Your cinnamon rolls looking mighty fine.
    The buns – looking good!

  4. Laurie!
    Tried finding ‘slush’ all over on blogspot but couldnt. Luckily I had the brains to check your name on the blogroll! Yeah, too little cinammon sugar. Well done on trying the sticky buns too! And yours look just lovely. (couldnt bring myself to type “your buns look great”) *being cheeky* Well done!

  5. They look sinfully gorgeous! Mine came out the same way, very walnut brittle-like but delicious all the same. Nibbling on the hard bits from the baking pan afterwards was half the fun though.

  6. I totally agree — MORE cinnamon and just “niller” flavoring. I’m not a lemon fan in this sort of thing and have noticed it in the fondant in other rolls I’ve purchased. Your buns look quite tasty even tho’ you said you had to “pry them out.” Thanks for the comments on the cherries, because I thought about using them as well. Maybe dried apples…?

  7. Your sticky buns look delicious! When did you release them from the pan? It’s very helpful to do this very short after baking – otherwise the caramel starts getting hard.

  8. i had the same issue with the dough, but had thought i had overmixed it, which easily happens with the Thermomix being so powerful. but you’re right, it was no problem due to rolling it with oil later…

  9. Shall we take our children and meet up at a Cinnabon halfway between us? Do some field testing as to what exactly that cream cheese icing is supposed to taste like? 🙂
    Lovely work, even with the caramel having gone hard. Maybe your oven runs hot? Or just put it up one shelf next time.

  10. Great job on this month’s challenge! I think after reading most everyone who made the sticky buns posts, they all said the same, the buns got a little over done on the caramel side. And I think you hit the nail on the head with the cinnamon comment, I would have liked a bit more in mine too!

  11. Lisa- OMG how can you have never had a Cinnabon?? Oh my. If I thought they would ship properly, I would send you a box full!!!

    KJ- Your so right, sometimes things dont go as you plan, but we sure ate them in a hurry anyway!

    Steph, foodbeam and Peabody- Thank you!!!

    Dagmar and Ilva- Next time I know to add more cinnamon, a lot more!

    Tanna- Thank you!

    Dharm- haha, I didnt know I was being so sneaky. Glad you found me!

    Butta Buns- Agreed, I was prying every sugar coated nut off that pan I could. Seriously good!

    Laura- Yes, I love that yeasty smell. It really does make a house feel more comforting.

    Kellypea- I was rethinking the cherry comment, because Im wondering if they would have been better had the buns been pulled from the oven earlier. I may have to test that out a second time.

    Anne- Thanks!

    Claudia- I think I let them sit about 5 minutes or so before I toppled them onto another pan. I think I just plain overcooked them. But I know better for next time!

    johanna- I think next time I may add a little more flour than I did. Im unsure. Its a difficult thing if your not experienced deciding if your dough is “silky” or not.

    Maryann- Thank you!

    Jenny- Hrmm, where is halfway? That may be worth thinking about for sometime in the future! LOL Although, Ottawa are the Pens arch enemy this season. HA!

    breadchick- Yes, I know to check on them a lot earlier next go round. And I will add more cinnasugar to them as well.

  12. Gabi and Chris- Thanks!

    JennDZ- Cinnabon has ruined half the US when it comes to cinnamon rolls. But how can we fault them, they are soooo wicked good!

    April- I know reading all these posts makes me want to bake them again!

    Jenny- I have an addiction to dried cherries right now, I think maybe they just cooked too long as my stickies were over done. I think its worth another shot.

  13. I’m a bit of a cinnamon fiend myself. So usually I start a recipe by assuming it’s not going to have enough cinnamon to my tastes and add accordingly ! 🙂

  14. Bruno- Thanks!

    Y- I should have added more since I knew it probably wouldnt be enough, but I was sticking to the rules!! Something Im not always good at.

    Ivonne- Thanks!

  15. Your buns look truly scrumptious. I agree (sort of) about the cinnamon, next time I would leave it out and do nutmeg, cardamom or allspice. Anne, from anne’s food, says traditional Swedish cinnamon buns are done in paper cases….how about a cinnamon bun cupcake?

  16. Anita- Thank you!

    african vanielje- I have been thinking about a cinnamon roll cupcake. And I really would like to try the stickies at least IN a muffin pan, no liner. Mmmm.

    veron- I would make them again for the smell alone!

  17. They look gorgeous…even the sticky ones that you said got a little bit candied! I liked the lemon in the fondant, but, like you mentioned, I think I may try it with just good ol’ vanilla when I make them again…bravo to you for being courageous and making BOTH version on the first challenge…I was too wimpy as a new girl to do that! 🙂 They look super duper yummy!

  18. Never had a cinnabon, hadn’t even heard of them until now. Of course I’ve tried many a delicious cinnamon bun, as my thighs do show. I’m going to try all sorts of cinnamon roll recipes now as I can’t believe they can be made at home so easily!

    You did both – so brave and they look gorgeous! I liked the lemon and I loved the icing but like I said will give different recipes a go.

    Thanks so much for your comment on the DB blog. xx

  19. Belinda- Thanks so much, I will def try them again with vanilla as well.

    Tartelette- I am totally shocked that so many have never had Cinnabon!! I seriously wish they would taste the same if I shipped them. I think everyone should have them at least once.

    Amanda- That goes for you too with the Cinnabon! I was surprised as well that they were so easy to make at home. My fear of yeast is no more. And again, I am so, so sorry about your cat. xo

    Deborah- I will cut the time back next time for sure. Thanks!

    Kelly-Jane- Thank you!

  20. I had to come over and say Hi! Thank you for the comment and I love your pictures. Your pics defintiely look like you totally got into the challenge. WoW! I love making homemade cinnamon rolls but they do take a lot of extra time. The smell is soooo good! Anyways, hope to get to talk to you again,

    Shandy 😀

  21. I don’t know what the deal is with the brittle sticky buns, but maybe using a glass dish for them would help you check how fast the bottoms were cooking. Both the sticky and cinnamon buns look great though!

  22. I agree with you on the smell of baking–yeasty smells, baking smells, all of that, it should be bottled!

    Lovely buns, too! I’m glad you got out of the more flour-more milk- more flour loop. I’ve been there. For a long time, too.

  23. I experienced the same challenge with “tacky versus sticky” and like you, just gave up and forged forward. Great challenge though… both versions of your buns look terrific!

  24. baking soda- Thanks!

    Shabneez- Ive been thinking about a cinnamon roll cupcake, its on the long list of things Id like to try. Thanks!

    Dolores- Im still not sure I had the dough silky like it stated in the recipe. I think maybe that just comes with experience. Thanks!

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