To me, holiday mornings mean the perfumed steam of saffron buns coming out of the oven. This recipe is the result of years of planning, experimentation and breakfast eating by my stepdad and my family. Ever the physicist, my stepdad tracked the results in a little brown notebook. I rolled the dough. After you eat a single batch of these, you will never eat a Cinnabon again. (Of course, my stepdad knows about this contest). —Katherine Walecka
warm water, at 110 degrees F
bread machine yeast
threads saffron (a large pinch)
milk (we usually use skim but any dairy milk will do)
melted but not hot butter
salt (not kosher or coarse)
ground cardamom (or 1/3 of a pod, ground)
all purpose flour; gold medal is best
all purpose flour
soft butter (very easily spreadable with fingers)
cinnamon, freshly grated if you can
light corn syrup
In This Recipe
Mix first three ingredients (water, sugar, yeast) and allow to sit 20 minutes, until thick foam develops.
Using a mortar and pestle, grind saffron and sugar into fine orange powder.
Heat milk to 110 degrees F. Mix the saffron/sugar powder into this warm milk.
Add the butter, eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, and cardamom to the warm milk. Mix until the eggs are well blended.
Add the foaming yeast mixture to the other liquid ingredients (the egg-milk-saffron mixture).
Mix first flour addition (four cups) into the liquid ingredients just until smooth. Turn dough out onto a surface with the remaining 1/4 flour.
Knead until the dough is no longer sticky. Return dough to a butter-greased bowl. Let the dough rest 20 minutes.
Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough into a rectangle that measures 18"x24".
Spread sheet of dough with 3 TB soft butter
Sprinkle top surface of buttered dough with 3/4 tsp freshly grated cinnamon.
Spread out over buttered, cinnamon-sprinkled dough 3/4 cup brown sugar. Try to get relatively even coverage.
Drizzle over the top of the sugary dough 3 TB of light corn syrup. The purpose of the syrup is to prevent the butterscotch from crystallizing.
Roll the dough up into a roll that is 24" long.
Cut the roll into 12-16 equal segments, using unflavored dental floss. Place rolls, evenly spaced, into two buttered 9" cake pans.
Allow rolls to rest until they double in bulk (about one hour). Preheat oven to 350.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until the tops of the rolls are dark brown. Invert the pans over a serving plate, and the rolls should release. Do not frost. Enjoy, preferably with hazelnut coffee and a nice dad.