Cinnamon Buns From Heaven

3:59 AM

Every Christmas morning we always take a short break while opening presents so I can bake our traditional cinnamon buns (fresh from the can) for breakfast.  This year I nixed the canned variety and went all out, making it from scratch.

A friend of mine passed this recipe to me years ago and I am just now domestic enough to slow down and take the time to make it.  It is a little time consuming to make, but I was definitely in the Christmas mood when I was preparing this.  They were a big hit! They were really soft and gooey, and the only thing that I would change would be the icing.  I really liked it, but I think I would prefer something more like a cream cheese icing.  Regardless, it really fit in well with our Christmas tradition and as long as future Christmases aren't too busy, I'll be making these again! This is a HUGE batch by the way...I wasn't thinking about how much this would make, and it took me two 13x9 baking dishes! Definitely halve this if you don't need that much!

Cinnamon Buns From Heaven
Yields 12-18

1 cup warm water
2 envelopes active dry yeast
2/3 cup sugar water, plus 1 teaspoon
1 cup milk, heated to lukewarm
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 eggs, lightly beatened
2 teaspoons salt
7-8 cups flour, or more as needed
1 cup butter, melted
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 1/2 cups raisins (optional)
Creamy Glaze:
2/3 cup butter, melted
4 cups confectioner's sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 - 1/2 cup hot water

For The Dough:

1.  Combine the warm water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a cup and stir; set aside.  In a large bowl, combine the milk, remaining 2/3 cup sugar, butter, eggs, and salt.  Stir well and add the yeast mixture.  Add 3 1/2 cups flour and beat until smooth.  Stir in enough of the remaining flour until the dough is slightly stiff - it will be sticky.

2.  Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes, adding just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking.  Place in a well-buttered glass or plastic bowl.  Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Punch down the dough and let it rest for 5 minutes.  Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 15-by-20 inch rectangle.

For The Filling:

1.  Spread 1/2 cup of the melted butter on the dough.  In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and the cinnamon.  Sprinkle over over the dough, then sprinkle with the walnuts and raisins, if desired.  Roll up like a jellyroll and pinch the edges together to seal.  Cut the roll into 12 or 18 slices.

2.  If making 12 buns, use the remaining 1/2 cup melted butter to coat the bottoms of a 13-by-9-inch baking pan and an 8-inch square baking pan; if making 18 buns, use two 13-by-9-inch pans.  Sprinkle the pans with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar.  Place the cinnamon bun slices close together in the pans.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough is doubled in volume, about 45 minutes.

3.  Preheat the oven to 350˚.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the buns are nicely browned.  Let cool slightly before glazing.

For The Glaze:

1.  In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, confectioner's sugar, and vanilla.  Add the hot water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you have a spreadable glaze.  Spread the glaze over the buns and serve.

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