My mom hates cinnamon with a passion, so growing up, I never knew the joy of cinnamon sugar toast, snickerdoodles or pumpkin pie at home. She can smell the stuff a mile away, and always steers clear. Even now, when I bake something for her with the tiniest amount of cinnamon, she will wrinkle her nose like a four year old and say, “Ew. Cinnamon.”
Thankfully for me, I discovered cinnamon at the mall where I would shamelessly line up again and again for free samples of Cinnabon. Those were the days they freely gave out samples without asking, “Where’s your mommy?” Those were the days before liabilities, constant parental supervision and allergies.
That first taste of the doughy, sweet, cinnamon sugar cream cheese topped swirl of deliciousness and I was hooked. It was heaven on a toothpick! It was better than Coco Pebbles, Fruit Rolls Ups, and Fun-Dip.
I would stand at the baking window, on my tip-toes, and watch the sullen teenagers roll out the dough, butter it up, and then sprinkle on the magic: brown sugar and cinnamon. I could watch them for hours, the methodical cutting, nestling, and baking of the buns. Come to think of it, I did watch them for hours while my parents had coffee a couple tables away, chatting with friends, nothing knowing what my brother and I were up to.
Once my mom actually bought me a whole Cinnabon. It was huge, larger than the size of my head; I couldn’t finish it so we took it home where I ate it over the next few days. It was good times. Even now, cinnamon buns remind me of a simpler time when all it took to make me happy was a couple of mesmerizing hours watching the cinnabon bun makers and the heady smell of brown sugar and cinnamon.
Clone of a Cinnabon adapted from All Recipes
1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened
1. Combine the warm milk and yeast in a bowl. After a few minutes, add the sugar, butter and lightly beaten eggs. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl, make a well and add the liquid ingredients, stirring to combine into a dough. Knead until smooth, cover and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
2. After the dough has doubled in size turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.
3. Roll dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls.
4. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
5. Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.