Before we get too far from the holidays and into the cold frozen bleakness of January, we need to talk about cinnamon buns. Specifically the ones I made for our Christmas morning breakfast. Even though cinnamon buns are our traditional Christmas breakfast and have been as long as I can remember, I’ve never been thoroughly satisfied with my own results until recently. Recently, as in the Christmas before last (2016). This is not to say I did not make this version previous to that Christmas, I just didn’t take the time to write it down in my Holiday meal notebook (I have kept a running record of the meals I make for Christmas and New Years for years in a notebook specific to those holidays).
It’s based on the Lemon Cheesecake Morning Bun recipe I am madly in love with. If you haven’t tried that yet, you need to. Seriously. Yes, they are good, but the dough is an absolute dream to work with, which is why I decided to give it a go in my cinnamon bun recipe. I can’t tell you how I came up with this filling version, all I know is that when I went to plan this year’s menu, I opened up my notebook and found the note to myself regarding last year’s breakfast. So I made it as noted again, this time sharing it with the world here because I finally, at the age of 48, have a go-to cinnamon bun recipe for Christmas breakfast.
It’s worth noting this recipe can be made ahead of time, frozen and then pulled out to defrost Christmas Eve then popped in the oven Christmas morning. It also makes two pans of cinnamon buns, so we have a spare in the freezer for later in the winter. I make the dough mostly as written in the recipe (I use a few cups of whole wheat flour and bread flour and buttermilk) but following the first proof, when it comes to the filling, I do this instead:
Cream together 4 oz softened cream cheese, 4 oz softened butter, 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and a dash of bourbon. Spread half the mixture on half of the prepared dough.
For the glaze, I stuck with the glaze from my trusty 1980’s Betty Crocker cinnamon roll recipe glaze: 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 tablespoon milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir until smooth and spread over warm buns.
I find adding a little bit of cream cheese helps give the butter and cinnamon some traction for sticking to the interior of the bun, but I don’t go hog wild on the cream cheese. You don’t even notice it’s there. One last note – I have also made the original lemon buns subbing a jar of jam (strawberry and cherry) for the lemon and holy moly, that was good too. Either way, the dough is a great starting point for a yummy hot breakfast.