When you’ve been in a relationship as long as I have (we just recently celebrated 11 years together), you have memories attached to a whole host of different things. Music, scent, places and most importantly food, in my case. I have memories of C and I eating dodgy street food in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia as well as pigging out on the biggest burger ever at Planet Hollywood in Kuala Lumpur. I have memories of eating roadhouse ice cream and him driving around to find me plums in the middle of winter due to a pregnancy craving. In fact, most of our memories together have some or another food attached to it. Cinnamon buns or cinnamon rolls as they are also known, is one of those foods. I remember us first discovering this indulgent treat when we had been together for around 3 years. We ate them countless times because we just couldn’t get enough of them. So when I decided to make my own recently, all those memories came flooding back.
I don’t know about C but I think the main reason I like cinnamon buns so much is because us Afrikaners adore cinnamon. It’s the main flavour in most of our comfort foods. Milk tart, Sousklytjies, Melk kos, Pancakes (crepes) with cinnamon sugar. These are all treats our mothers and grandmothers fed us when we were sad or cold or felt lonely. Just the scent of cinnamon makes me feel at home. And with these sticky cinnamon buns, the whole house smells of this delectable spice when you bake them. Of course, it also helps that these buns are made with buttery brioche, topped with more butter and more cinnamon sugar. Definitely not a waist-friendly recipe but as an occasional treat, you can’t get much better than this!
- 125 ml 1/2 cup warm milk
- 70 g 3 tbsp sugar
- 10 g 1 tbsp dried yeast
- 4 eggs
- 500 g 4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 175 g 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed (remove the butter from the fridge 30 minutes before you want to start. Butter needs to be slightly soft.)
- 1 egg beaten (for egg wash)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 125 g 1 stick butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 250 g 1/2 lb pecan nuts, roughly chopped
For the brioche directions, click here. (You won't need to allow the dough to rest overnight).
While the dough is rising, combine all the syrup ingredients (except for the butter) in a saucepan and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the syrup is the consistency of maple syrup. Add the butter and mix well then remove from the heat.
When the dough has risen for 2 hours, place on a floured surface and roll out into a oblong shape ensuring the dough is no more than 1cm thick.
Spread the butter over the dough then mix together the sugar and ground cinnamon and sprinkle over the top. Top with half of the chopped pecan nuts.
Roll the dough up tightly then cut into 4-5cm thick buns.
Pour half of the syrup in the bottom of an oven-proof casserole dish then scatter over the remaining pecan nuts.
Place the buns on top of the syrup and nuts, allowing a little room in between them for the second proving stage.
Cover the buns with a piece of cling wrap then allow to rise for another 1-2 hours.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°c.
Before placing in the oven, pour the remaining syrup over the top of the buns (re-heat if necessary) then place in the oven.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until the buns are golden brown and cooked through.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.