Sunday, January 15, 2023

Cinnamon Bun Scones

It might surprise people who are familiar with my breakfast preferences to learn that I did not grow up eating cake for breakfast. Or even sweet cereal.
 My mother was into health food long before it was cool.  The only breakfast cereals in our house were things like Shredded Wheat and Grape Nuts…or hot grain-based cereals (oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, etc.).  My favorite breakfast as a child was buttered toast with a soft cooked egg (my mother was ahead of the curve on eggs too: she refused to believe they were bad for you.  Time has of course validated her belief.).  Given all of this, I assume that I inherited my sweet tooth from my father…who, much to my mother’s consternation, preferred sweet things for breakfast (if he even ate breakfast).  When he had cereal (hot or cold), he doused it liberally with sugar.  Most of the time he skipped breakfast altogether—choosing to down a glass of “Carnation Instant Breakfast” instead.  

But occasionally (to make all of us happy), on a Sunday or a holiday morning, my mother would make pancakes or waffles (often with a stealth addition of wheat germ) …or maybe a coffeecake…or cinnamon rolls.
  I don’t have a memory of her making regular yeasted cinnamon rolls.  Rather she made buttermilk biscuit dough and formed that into cinnamon rolls.  They were really good. 

In my restaurant days I occasionally made a version of her biscuit cinnamon rolls for morning staff meal.  Instead of buttermilk biscuit dough, I used the cream biscuit dough we used at the restaurant.  If my mother’s rolls were very good, the cream biscuit version was outstanding.  But that was a long time ago…and as the years passed, those biscuit cinnamon rolls fell off of my radar entirely. 

Then, about a year into the pandemic, as I was trying to come up with things I could sell to my clients that I prepared in my kitchen…and they finished in their kitchen…I remembered those biscuit cinnamon rolls.
  I had already sold regular cinnamon rolls (as well as my scones…and a sweet Danish-style braid).  It occurred to me that the finishing process for a biscuit style cinnamon roll would be easier for my clients to manage than the traditional yeasted style.  (They would just need to pull them out of the freezer and bake…as opposed to having to thaw and prove before baking.)  I decided to make them with my cream scone dough and dubbed them “Cinnamon Bun Scones.”  They turned out to be very popular (several people said they liked them better than regular cinnamon rolls). 

In a serendipitous turn of events, the cinnamon bun scones happen to bake best when they are baked from frozen.  You can of course make them, form them and bake them straight away, but they will not be as neat looking since the outer edge has a tendency to split or crack when the formed buns haven’t had some time to relax (in the fridge or freezer).   

If you have made my cream scones, you already know how easy the dough is to make. When you roll out the dough for the cinnamon buns, instead of pressing the dough into a thick disc as for scones, you will roll it out into a thin square.
  So, to begin, instead of forming the dough into a round, form it into a thick flat square.  This will help you keep the sheet of dough in a square shape during the rolling process.  It is not difficult; if you have ever struggled with yeasted cinnamon roll dough, I think you will find this dough very easy to work with.

When I started up with my blog again a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t thinking about these cinnamon buns…or even what my next post was going to be.
  I just knew that I missed working on my blog and wanted to find a way to make it a regular part of my life again.  Then, when I opened up the “blog post” file on my computer to work on my Sweet & Spicy Snack Mix for New Year’s Eve, I discovered the beginnings of a post about my Cinnamon Bun Scones…written exactly a year ago.  It was a bit disconcerting to see that I had tried to start up again and failed.  But it also gave me an immediate topic for my next post…which I knew would help get me back into the habit.  So rather than seeing it as a failure, I’m thinking of it as advance planning.  

Cinnamon Bun Scones 

230 g. (2 c.) all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
50 g. (1/4 c). sugar
1 1/4 c (290 g.). heavy cream, plus more for brushing

30 g. (2 T.) butter, melted
50 g. (1/4 c. packed) brown sugar
1 T.  cinnamon

Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Powdered Sugar Glaze (see below)

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl.  Whisk to blend well.  Stir the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula while pouring in the cream, continuing to stir until a soft dough is formed. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, dust lightly with flour, and knead briefly (8 to 10 times).  Roll the dough out into an 11-inch by 11-inch square (it will be about 1/4-inch thick).  Spread the melted butter over the dough, leaving a half inch strip without any butter across the top edge.  Combine the cinnamon and brown sugar in a small bowl.  Spread over the buttered surface of the dough in even layer…making sure to cover the dough right up to the two side edges. 

Starting with the edge nearest you, roll the dough up jellyroll-style. Be careful not to stretch the dough.  It should be just snug.  Pinch along the long seam to seal.

Using a sharp knife, slice the log into 8 or 9 even rolls.   

Place the rolls, cut surfaces up, on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush each roll with some cream and sprinkle generously with the raw sugar. 

The rolls may now be baked…or frozen.  To bake right away, place the tray in a preheated 425° oven until golden brown and springy to the touch—about 15 to 18 minutes. (You may also form them and refrigerate them for a few hours before baking. They may take a minute or two longer when baked from a refrigerator temperature...just keep an eye on them.)

To freeze, place the tray of sugared buns in the freezer.  When hard, transfer the buns to a freezer bag.  They may be kept frozen for 4 weeks (after that, the baking powder loses its potency).  When ready to enjoy, place the buns on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake directly from frozen in a 375° oven until golden brown and springy to the touch—about for 25 to 30 minutes.­

Cool the buns briefly and then drizzle with the powdered sugar glaze and serve.   Makes 8 to 9 buns.

Powdered Sugar Glaze
: In a small bowl combine 76 g. (2/3 cup) powdered sugar with 1 T. (15 g.) milk.  You should have a thick glaze that drizzles slowly from a spoon.  Adjust with more sugar or more milk as needed to obtain this consistency.

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