Friday, January 1, 2010

The Easiest/Hardest/Yummiest Cinnamon Buns You Will Ever Make

My family has been making these cinnamon buns for over 10 years. We make them whenever a crowd is gathered for breakfast, always at Christmas and always on beach trips. The recipe is easy but there have only been a few times we have made this recipe without any problems. As I describe the steps I will also describe each way this recipe has taken a wrong turn to try to keep you out of the pitfalls we have found throughout the years. We keep making them because they are definitely worth it!

Step 1. The night before, melt 1 stick of butter in a saucepan. Don't walk away from the pan while occupied with other steps of the recipe, because butter will burn and turn brown. Been there. If this happens, repeat step 1, unless of course you used your last stick of butter on the first try, then you will need to go to the store, and good luck finding a store open on Christmas eve or at 10pm at the beach.

Step 2. Add 1 cup of brown sugar. This is usually a safe step, unless you underestimated the amount of brown sugar you have in your pantry or forgot to bring it to the beach. If so, see the "Go to Store" part of step 1.

Step 3. Add one 3 oz box of COOK & SERVE vanilla pudding. I repeat COOK & SERVE vanilla pudding, NOT instant! Trying to satisfy our instant gratification society, the grocery store will try to throw you off course by hiding the cook & serve vanilla someplace off to the side. Choose wisely, or risk going to the "Go to Store" part of step 1. Also make sure that it is the 3oz box, not the bigger box, because it is very hard to try to divide it into 3oz, believe me I've tried.

Step 4. Add 2 teaspoons cinnamon. You're pretty safe here, provided you've checked your pantry supplies and remembered to bring it to the beach.

Step 5. Pretend like you can see me adding 3 tablesp0ons of milk in one of these pictures. Stir everything together to make caramel colored yumminess. DO NOT add the pudding while waiting for your family member to go to the store to get the brown sugar you forgot to bring to the beach. By the time they return, you will have a gloppy mess. This will cause you to have to return to the store to get more pudding because you waited until the very last night at the beach to make these and by this time it will be midnight and nobody will be happy.

Step 6. Earlier in the day, lay out 1 package of frozen roll dough to thaw (I use Rich's brand). If you forget to do this, and you probably will if you are anything like me, you can put the rolls in a slightly warm oven to speed the thawing process. Not too long though we don't want dinner rolls here.

Step 7. Spray a 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray. Spray well now, sticky buns should stick to your fingers not the pan!! If the toppings/sauce separates from the bread, there is no recovery. Trying to scrape the toppings out of the pan to add back to the buns does not work!

Sprinkle in nuts or raisins. We're not partial to raisins, and we have one family member who does not like nuts, so you can see below he has his own designated corner.

Step 8. Break the rolls apart into walnut size pieces and add them to the pan in a uniformly random fashion.

Step 8. Pour the sauce all over the pan.

Step 9. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge overnight. They are supposed to rise to the top of the pan by morning. I will save you some grief and can tell you not to panic if they don't rise. They very rarely rise all the way and it depends alot on the temperature of your fridge. If you are the first one up and have some time, sit them out on the counter for awhile, or put them in a slightly warm oven or just go to step 10. It's all good.

The picture below shows how well ours rose this Christmas (not very well).

Step 10. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Make sure the oven is on bake not broil. On a beach trip not long after we were married, I put the buns in the oven which I didn't realize was set on broil (you had to set the temp separate from the bake/broil options and I just assumed it was on bake). I told Jason to keep an eye on them and to take them out when the timer went off and then I went to take a shower. Obviously it was the beginning of our marriage because he did exactly what he was told. He kept an eye on them sure enough. Even as they started to burn, he kept an eye on them and did not take them out until the timer went off. Blackened cinnamon buns and a smoky beach house are no fun at all.

Here's what they should look like:

Step 11. Place a cookie sheet on top of the pan and then flip over. Hopefully if you paid attention to step 7, they will come right out of the pan.

Yum! These make my mouth water just looking at the pictures! When's the next special occasion? President's day?

Here is the recipe that you can copy/paste:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 3oz package Cook & Serve Vanilla pudding
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
3 Tablespoons milk
1 package Rich's frozen roll dough, thawed
Chopped pecans (optional)
Raisins (optional)

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the next 4 ingredients and mix well. Sprinkle nuts/raisins if desired in a 13x9 inch pan coated with cooking spray. Break the rolls into walnut size pieces and place evenly into pan. Pour cinnamon sauce over rolls. Cover pan with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. Rolls should rise to top of pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Invert onto baking sheet.

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