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Fluffy-Gooey Genius Cinnamon Rolls (No Yeast Know-How Required)

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If you can make scones (or muffins or any other quick bread), you can make these sparkly, gloriously poufed cinnamon rolls—with no wait time, and no mastery of yeasted doughs required.

Violet Bakery's Cinnamon Buns
Violet Bakery's Cinnamon Buns

Wait, they don’t require proofing or punching or other know-how about yeast behavior? Anything the airport Cinnabon can do, I can do better? Yep, this is all true.

These beauties are among the most popular treats at the famed London sweet shop Violet Bakery (who—news flash—you'll see making the next royal wedding cake!). But instead of traditional yeast-rising, these buns are made using baking powder, the same speedy leavener that powers our favorite scones, biscuits, and beloved quick breads.

It’s all because the tiny bakery didn’t have the space to proof yeasted doughs, so founder Claire Ptak had to get crafty. And so, as she writes, “I came up with these yeast-free buns in my home kitchen by looking through the cookbooks of the 1950s, when everything was about how to make things more quickly.” (Incidentally, the Germans have their own version of this swiftly made dough called quark öl teig, or fresh curd cheese and oil dough.)

And quick they are: From mixing to rolling to baking there are only a couple brief pauses to give the dough just enough time to relax (and you enough time to heat the oven and clear some dishes out of the sink). There is one extra handy trick in the process—to make sure the good, gooey cinnamon sugar in the middle doesn’t all seep out the bottom, you’ll tuck the end flap of rolled dough under its bum. Ta-da!

That’s it—you can bust these out the morning of brunch if you’re an early bird, without waiting for yeast to do its thing. Or, better yet (if you’re like the rest of us), you can make them ahead and freeze them in their muffin tin, then bake them straight from the freezer.

Don’t expect these buns to precisely recreate the yeasty flavors and pull-apart texture of a slower-risen roll—but they achieve something magical in their own right. And they do a remarkable job of hitting all the other notes of a classic cinnamon roll: the poofy, soft innards and cascading, buttery crust, the sparkle-dusted first bite giving way to sticky-sweet goo. And, maybe most importantly, they nail that whole-house-is-a-sweet-cinnamony-doughy-fairyland aura. Cinnabon will have absolutely nothing on you there.

Violet Bakery's Cinnamon Buns

Violet Bakery's Cinnamon Buns

Genius Recipes Genius Recipes
Serves 12 buns

For the filling

  • 75g (1/3 cup) unsalted butter
  • 250g (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the cinnamon buns

  • 560g (4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 240g (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 300g (1 1/4 cups) cold milk
  • sugar, for dipping
  • butter, for greasing the pan
Go to Recipe

Photos by Rocky Luten & Bobbi Lin

Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected]—thank you to genius baking wizard Sarah Jampel for this one!

Tags: Easter, Tips & Techniques, Genius Recipes, Holiday Entertaining