If you can make scones (or muffins or banana bread), you can make these sparkly, gloriously poufed cinnamon rolls—no waiting for yeast to do its thing. It’s all because the tiny Violet Bakery didn’t have the space to proof yeasted doughs, so founder Claire Ptak had to get crafty with a quick bread-style technique inspired by cookbooks from the 1950s. 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. Adapted slightly from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak (Ten Speed Press, 2015). To read the whole story, head here. —Genius Recipes
Watch This Recipe
Violet Bakery's Cinnamon 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
In This Recipe
Heat the oven to 390°F (200°C) (355°F/180°C convection). Generously butter a 12-cup deep muffin pan.
First, prepare the filling. Melt the butter and leave in a warm place so that it remains liquid. Mix together the light brown sugar and cinnamon until no lumps remain, then set aside.
Now make the dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine all the dry ingredients with the cubes of butter and mix until you have a coarse meal. Slowly pour in the cold milk while the mixer is running, until the dough forms into a ball and comes away from the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and leave to rest for a few minutes. Fold the dough gently over itself once or twice to pull it all together let the dough rest a second time, for 10 minutes.
Clear a large surface, dust lightly with more flour, and roll out the dough into a large rectangle until almost 1/8 inch (5mm) thick. Brush the surface of the dough with the melted butter and, before the butter hardens, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on to the butter. You want a good, slightly thick layer.
Now roll the long side, keeping it neat and tidy. Gently tug the dough toward you to get a taut roll while rolling away from you in a spiral. Once it’s all rolled up, gently squeeze the roll to ensure it’s the same thickness throughout. Use a sharp knife to cut the roll crosswise into 12 even slices. Take a slice of the cinnamon roll, peel back about 2 inches (5cm) of the loose end of the pastry and fold back under the roll to loosely cover the bottom of the roll. Place in the muffin pan, flap side down. Repeat with remaining slices.
Bake the buns for 25 minutes, or until golden and well-risen. As soon as they're out of the oven, flip them over onto a wire cooling rack so that they don't stick to the pan. Dip each cinnamon bun into a bowl of sugar. These are best served right away while still warm, but can also be served at room temperature or re-warmed in a low oven (especially good with a scoop of ice cream for dessert).
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore.