I’ve had a craving for cinnamon buns for a while now, but I know they can be a lot of work to make from scratch so I’ve been putting them off. Last time I had homemade cinnamon buns was when my family made them when I was a child – so a long time ago!
After some internet scouring I came across a recipe from Ambitious Kitchen, which can be found here. This recipe declares that they are “the best cinnamon buns in the world” so I obviously had to put that to the test. I basically had everything I needed to make these and I only had to get cream cheese for the frosting.
Join me as I venture into the world of homemade cinnamon buns with this review of Ambitious Kitchen’s recipe. No, I am not being paid to review this recipe and yes I will be 100% honest so if there is something that doesn’t work out I’m going to be completely transparent. Also, I don’t believe in posting the recipe in my blog – if you want to try making them yourselves please head over to Ambitious Kitchen – recipe linked above!
First step was gathering all of the ingredients. There were a a couple of ways in which I strayed from the recipe – honestly I can’t help it, I don’t know if I’ve ever followed a recipe exactly! In their recipe, Ambitious Kitchen swears that the only way to get the best fluffiest cinnamon buns is to use bread flour. I don’t have bread flour and wasn’t about to buy some just for one recipe, so I used normal flour. Also, their recipe calls for instant or quick rise yeast. I had on hand active dry yeast, which is different from instant and quick rise yeast in that you have to let it proof before you add the other ingredients. Quick and instant yeast is just how it is named – you can just keep moving on with your recipe as directed.
In the first image below on the left you can see my proofed yeast ready for the rest of the ingredients!
Mixing all the ingredients for the dough was pretty straightforward. The only thing you can really mess up is your yeast, unless you’re using the quick or instant and unfortunately you won’t even know if you messed it up until you leave it to rise. You’ll know if you messed up because it won’t rise properly.
The directions for putting together the dough were very easy to follow and I liked that they included extra tips, including information about heating your milk properly because yes, if it is not the right temperature it will mess with your yeast as well as making sure you’re using a room temperature egg as well.
Now it was time to knead that dough! The recipe called for mixing the dough with a stand mixer. Unfortunately I do not own one – yet! I do have one on my Amazon Wish List. Using a stand mixer they recommend mixing for 8-10 minutes, or kneading it by hand for the same amount of time. However, I think that it too long to knead by hand. Dough can be really tricky and you don’t want to over work it because it can be tough and you won’t get that nice fluffy texture you’re looking for in a cinnamon bun.
You can see in the first photo above what the dough looks like when it’s first mixed and it’s quite sticky. And that’s okay! You’re going to dump it on a well floured surface and work it – fold and push – until it comes together and isn’t as sticky as when you started. It’s really hard to describe but you’ll know it’s ready when you feel it. And this only took a few minutes.
Now it was time to proof! The recipe directs you to put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel. Now, I live in an apartment so I can’t exactly just throw a towel in the dryer to warm it up. I did however warm a tea towel with my hair dryer and that worked just as well!
Look at that dough! It definitely doubled in size if not more – so far so good!
Now it’s time to roll it out, spread the butter, rub in the deliciousness that is the cinnamon and brown sugar. Again, the directions for these next steps were clear and there was no confusion about what should be done. I may or may not have rolled my dough out a tiny bit too much though.
I just used a butter knife to gently spread the butter over the dough, spooned the topping over it evenly and used the bottom of the spoon to rub it in.
Then it was time to roll! Recipe says to roll it tightly, which is harder than it sounds! You also have to make sure you’re rolling it evenly. As directed, I cut off the ends because there isn’t much going on there.
Here was when I was able to tell that I had initially rolled out my dough a bit too much – I was able to get 11 rolls instead of 9, which is what the recipe says you will get – and that was even with cutting off the ends.
Once cut and placed in the baking pan, it was time to let them rise again before placing in the oven. They only needed to bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes so I figured while they were baking, I would make the cream cheese frosting. The recipe is actually very similar to the one I use for my cupcakes.
I made a double batch of the frosting since I had two extra cinnamon buns and to be frank, I freaking love cream cheese frosting and wanted lots for my buns!
The cinnamon buns came out looking and smelling incredible. The colour was perfect. A few of them rose in the oven and the center popped out a bit, but that’s okay. I did let them cool a bit before smothering them in frosting so the frosting wouldn’t completely melt.
They looked and smelled glorious and I absolutely could not wait to dive in!
After putting in all of that work, was finally time to taste test. They were totally worth the wait! They were soft and fluffy and the cinnamon flavour really came through. Mixed with the tangy cream cheese frosting they were absolutely to die for. I kept the left overs in a container in the fridge, and when I was ready to eat one I would put it on a plate and quickly microwave it for about 15 seconds – just to take the chill out. I have to say they were even better the next day!
Now for my rating. I rate based on a few different things – ingredient availability or substitutions, does the time spent match how long the recipe says it will take, tips included, as well as obviously taste.
I give the ingredient availability and substitution a 9/10. The recipe makes it seems like it will be a failure if you don’t use bread flour but that absolutely is not true. I used normal flour and they still turned out amazing and were nice and fluffy.
The recipe says it will take 2 hours prep time and 20 minutes cook time. I definitely spent way longer than this making them – I would say it was more like 3 to 3.5 hours. After prepping the dough, which takes about 20 – 25 minutes, I then let it rise for 1.5 hours. There’s two hours right there. Then that does not include the rolling it out, rubbing the filling in, rolling it, cutting it, letting it proof again for another 45 minutes before baking.
The cooking time was close, mine took about 27 minutes to be baked to the nice golden colour. But then there was the additional time of cooling and frosting. So for time I would say 7/10 because I think unless you’re rushing it’s going to take a little longer.
One thing I loved about this recipe was all of the tips they included – it was very informative. They even included ways to make overnight cinnamon rolls, and information on how to make them freezer friendly! 10/10 for tips.
Honestly, these were so amazing. Reminded me of the one’s my family made when I was a kid and I could not get enough of them and neither could me husband. We were both super sad when they were all gone. The texture was soft and fluffy and the cinnamon flavour was on point. The cream cheese frosting was so good. I think these would be good glazed with some butter/brown sugar as well. Taste is definitely a 10/10!!
Averaging out the scores from each category, these cinnamon buns get an overall score of 9/10 and they deserve it! If you’ve been wanting to try making your own cinnamon buns their recipe is a great place to start!
Have you made this recipe before? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!