Cranberry Cinnamon Buns

Some delicious cranberry cinnamon buns with cream cheese icing

I have been blessed. Christmas is approaching and I have been blessed, among other things, with really cool last minutes projects, and I’m trying to embrace the chaos as much as I can. That’s why this one it’s going to be short and really sweet. I just wanted for you guys to have the recipe on hand for the upcoming holiday weekends. There’s absolutely nothing like cinnamon buns during December, especially during Christmas morning!

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Recipe notes:

1.     For this recipe is super important that all the ingredients are at room temperature. Remember that yeast is very happy and thrives in a warm environment.

2.     When resting the dough to rise, I look for the warmest corner in the house, which is a nightstand in our bedroom. Besides topping it with a kitchen towel, I wrap it with a light blanket and a clean t-shirt, again, to keep it nice and warm. Don't wrap it up too tight though so it breathes.

3.     I used a bit vanilla to add a floral note. You can go all the way to a full teaspoon or nothing at all.

4.     When stretching the dough, do not press the rolling pin too hard. Gentle strokes from the center out are good enough to stretch it to a ¼” thickness. Don’t stretch it too thin either.

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Cranberry Cinnamon Buns

Cranberry Cinnamon Buns

Coconut milk, lukewarm - ⅓
Instant yeast – 1 envelop
Eggs, at room temperature – 3
Egg yolks, at room temperature - 2
Unbleached organic all purpose flour – 3 ½ cups
Raw sugar - ⅓ cup + 6 TBSP
Vanilla extract – ½ to 1 Tsp (see notes)
Fine sea salt – 1 Tsp
Butter, at room temperature and in pieces – 12 TBSP (6 ounces)
Cranberry sauce or your favorite marmalade or preserves – about ½ cup
Sugared cranberries (optional) – about ¼ cup
Cinnamon – 1 Tsp

Cream cheese icing

Cream cheese, softened at room temperature – 8 oz
Confectioners sugar – 1 cup

Total time - 4 hours plus overnight chilling Active time - 20 minutes for making the dough and 20 minutes for stretching a making the rolls
Equipment - Standup mixer (highly recommended), rolling pin, large deep skillet or pot, slotted round spatula

In the bowl of a standup mixer with the hook attached pour the coconut milk and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow the yeast to dissolve for 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, slightly beat the whole eggs with the yolks. Dump the flour in the mixer bowl and knead in slow speed (#2 in the Kitchen Aid) just for 30 seconds. Add the beaten eggs in a stream and knead just until they seemed incorporated. Add the sugar, vanilla and salt and knead for 15 minutes. After that, add the butter by pieces. If you see that the pieces are sticking to the walls of the bowl, stop the mixer and bring the butter to the bottom of the bowl as much as you can, then continue kneading. Don’t do this more than two times so you don’t mess the kneading process and don’t worry if some pieces of butter come up again through the walls of the bowl, they will come together eventually. Knead for an extra 10 minutes, until the dough is completely smooth.

Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and wrap it up with some extra kitchen towels or a blanket (see notes). Remember, dough likes to be warm. Place the bowl in a warm corner to rise double its size, about 2 hours.

Stretch just a bit the dough from center towards the edges to redistribute the yeast and release some of the gases, 2 to 3 times. Cover with a sealing plastic paper and a kitchen towel and wait 5 to 10 minutes before placing in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, mix the 6 tablespoons of sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Dust plenty of flour on a clean flat surface and turn the dough on it. Using a rolling pin stretch it until you got a rectangular shape and the dough is about ¼” thick (see notes), always starting from the center out. Cut the edges to have straight lines through the rectangle. Sprinkle all of it’s top with the cinnamon sugar. Spoon the cranberry sauce or marmalade at different spots of the dough and the sugared cranberries as well (if using). Starting from the longest edge, roll the dough until the end. Work on the seam by pinching with your finger as much as you can. You may try to pull a bit of dough from one side to the other and vice versa until the seam almost disappears. Cut the log into 1 ½” rolls. Reshape each roll with your hands and check the seam is still closed. Place each roll on a pie or baking dish. Cover again with a couple of kitchen towels, blankets or cloths and let rise for 1 to 1 ½ hour, until they are puffed. Knead the leftover dough stripes into balls and put them to rise as well.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Bake the rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until the buns look dry and the top has a golden brown color. If you see they are starting to burn before the 20 minutes, cover the dish with aluminum foil for the last 5 minutes of baking.

In the meantime, in a stand mixer or with an electric hand mixer beat in medium speed the softened cream cheese until for a few minutes, until soft and creamy. Start adding the sugar, waiting a few seconds between additions to allow the sugar to incorporate. Beat for 5 minutes more, until the sugar is well incorporated into the cheese.

Retire buns from oven. Wait 5 to 10 minutes before spreading the cream cheese icing. Serve warm!

You may store any remaining bums in an airtight container, over the counter for the first day and in the fridge for the next 3 to 3 days. Reheat in microwave for a few seconds before serving.