Lockdown 2.0 is upon us, so here at HQ we’re focusing on selfcare. This year has been hard, and now is the time to find what makes you cosy and happy. For us, one thing we love to do is bake. Here is a recipe from our friends at the Luminary Bakery to make the ultimate comfort food…CINNAMON BUNS.
Cinnamon Swirls with Cream Cheese Frosting
MAKES 8 LARGE BUNS
For the dough
675g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
70g caster sugar
11/2 tsp (7g) fine salt
31/4 tsp (10g) fast-action dried yeast
1 medium egg, beaten
400ml whole milk, warmed to lukewarm
70g unsalted butter, softened
For the filling
150g unsalted butter, softened
75g soft light brown sugar
75g golden syrup
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
For the frosting
50g unsalted butter, softened
100g cream cheese, at room temperature
200g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Make the Dough
To make the dough, combine the flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other, making sure they don’t touch. Toss the salt in some of the flour surrounding it and do the same with the yeast, finally mixing them all together until combined. (If the yeast comes into direct contact with the salt it can retard it and stop the buns rising.) Weigh out 25g of the beaten egg (about half – reserve the other half for an egg wash later) and mix into the warm milk. Make a well in the middle of the flour, pour in the milk mixture and use a butter knife or bench scraper to bring it together into a soft ball of dough. Get your hands involved, kneading it in the bowl before tipping it out onto a clean work surface.
Knead the dough for 10 minutes, using a bench scraper to keep the surface clean. Avoid dusting it with extra flour (this will give you hard, tough buns). It will be very sticky so try slapping it on the work surface and folding it over repeatedly, to keep it from covering every inch of the surface. Alternatively, use an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook to do all the messy kneading for you.
Add the butter to the dough and knead for a further 5 minutes until glossy and still slightly sticky to the touch. Try the ‘windowpane test’ (see page 31) to be sure it’s ready. Return the dough to the mixing bowl, cover with a damp tea towel or clingfilm and leave somewhere warm to prove until doubled in size (1½–2 hours).
Make the Filling
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a bowl, mix the butter, sugar, syrup and cinnamon into a smooth paste using a wooden spoon or spatula. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the mixture over the base of a 30 x 25 x 5cm baking tin and set aside.
Once the dough has proved, knock out the excess air by squashing and punching it back into the bowl a few times. Scrape the dough out onto a very well-floured work surface and use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough out into a 60 x 30cm rectangle, about 2cm thick.
Make the Swirl
Evenly spread the remaining filling mixture across the dough, right to the very edges. Find the shortest edge of dough and fold over 1cm of it, then continue to gently roll the dough up into a tight swirl, using your fingers and thumbs to work from one side to the other. Roll it as tightly as possible. You should be left with a dough sausage about 30cm in length.
Mark out, then use a very sharp knife to cut the sausage of dough into 8 even slices. Place the slices, swirl-side facing up, on the cinnamon-smeared baking tin, spacing them about 2–3cm apart. Leave somewhere warm for 40–60 minutes to prove a second time, covered with a damp tea towel or clingfilm. They should have doubled in size and started to touch one another.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas Mark 6. Brush the top of each swirl with the remaining beaten egg, then bake for 20–25 minutes until golden brown. Once baked, transfer the tin to a wire rack and let them cool completely in the tin.
Make the Frosting
To make the frosting, beat together the softened butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer or spatula until smooth. Add the icing sugar in 3 stages, mixing in each third before adding the next. Once it’s smooth and creamy, mix in the vanilla extract. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag and pipe zigzags over the top of each cooled bun. If you don’t have a piping bag, don’t worry – you can use a spoon to drizzle or smear the frosting over the tops of the buns instead. Enjoy!
This blog post is part of our new series of Lockdown Comforts. We’ll be posting once a week with some special selfcare ideas to help you find your best cosy happy self.