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Quick and Easy Cinnamon Bun Bread

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Bun Bread

A hot cinnamon bun dripping with icing and sticky with brown sugary sweetness is one of life’s great indulgences. I like making them at home from time to time, but many prefer to buy them as a treat when they’re out and about. There is something to be said for buying them from a coffee shop or bakery, too. You get instant gratification and portion control. You don’t, however, get the satisfaction of baking them yourself, nor do you get to fill up your house with the smell of fresh cinnamon buns – a scent that is almost as good as the first mouthful of a fresh batch.

Regular cinnamon buns start out with a sweet yeast dough that is rolled out, then spread with a butter and brown sugar filling, before being rolled up into neat little buns and baked. This recipe eliminates all of those steps, delivering a pan full of cinnamon bun goodness in less than an hour!

The recipe, adapted from a recipe found on a container of rapid rise yeast, doesn’t give you real cinnamon rolls – no rolling involved, remember? – but it uses all the same ingredients and flavor elements, just combined in a faster and easier form. The dough is mixed up and poured into a prepared baking dish. After a mere 15 minutes of rising time, during which you can prep the filling/topping, a brown sugar streusel mixture (a typical cinnamon bun filling) is pressed into the dough. The whole thing is popped into a non-preheated oven and baked until done. The bread doesn’t look as gorgeous as a tray full of cinnamon buns, but once the icing is drizzled on it looks equally tempting.

The bread has a slightly cakey texture to it, with a rather tender texture instead of a chewy one, as there is virtually no time to allow for gluten to develop here.  The dough still tastes quite rich, especially with the topping mixed into it. It tastes just like regular cinnamon buns and is outrageously good when warmed up. This is the perfect thing to whip up on a weekend morning or a weeknight for dessert: little prep, little cleanup and big flavor rewards.

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Bun Bread, sliced

Quick and Easy Cinnamon Bun Bread
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tsp active dry or rapid rise yeast
2/3 cup warm milk (100-110F; low fat is fine)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

3 tbsp butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground cardamom

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk or cream

Lightly grease an 8×8-inch square baking pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Dissolve the yeast in a measuring cup filled with the warmed milk, then stir milk mixture, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and egg into the flour mixture. Mix well, until very smooth. Pour into prepared pan and let rest for 15 minutes.
While the dough rests, mix together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom in a small bowl using a fork until all the butter has been incorporated into the sugar and mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly on top of rested dough and press the mixture down into the dough with your fingertips (or swirl in with a spatula.)
Place pan into a cold oven, then set the oven temperature to 350F.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until bread is lightly browned at the edges and the center of the bread springs back when lightly pressed. Some of the sugar mixture on top may still be bubbling.
Cool for at least 30 minutes before whisking the powdered sugar and milk together to form an icing and drizzling it onto the bread.
Serve warm. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave.

Serves 9.

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  • Allie Mom
    March 30, 2011

    4 little girls, one sleep over, 30 minutes = 0 cake left

  • jes
    May 29, 2011

    “quick” is not the word id use to describe this recipe i woke up at 6 am and am done making this at 8 am! plus it did not rise like someone here already said. but it tasted great!

  • Pat Smith
    June 15, 2011

    My 15-year-old made these tonight and, although she is not a very experienced baker, they were fabulous! A bit sweet, I think next time we will reduce the sugar in the topping. Texture of the bread was very nice.

  • mom
    November 20, 2011

    I’m just making these and I’m doubtful they will work. The instructions say ‘pour’ the batter. But 1.5 cups flour and 2/3 cups milk will never make a pourable batter. I ended up added another 1/3 cup milk just to make a batter that didnt have flour remaining. How do others get a batter than can be ‘poured’???

  • Nicole
    November 20, 2011

    Mom – Try scraping the batter into your pan instead, as it is a very thick mixture. You don’t need to add extra liquid.

  • Fis
    January 7, 2012

    Almost didn’t make these…but did and WOW! Ridiculously easy…put it all together in minutes. Scarey how easy it was actually. I have a gas oven…took a peek at the 25 minute mark but needed an extra 10 mins. I reduce the sugar in the batter by just a bit. The struesel topping brown sugar I reduced to 1/2 cup and made less drizzle 1/2 icing sugar and 1 1/2 tbsp of milk….lastly I added chopped pecans.

    Too Good! Thanks for posting.

  • Fis
    January 7, 2012

    Too Good and too easy…thanks! Reduced sugar in the dough by just a bit. The brown sugar reduced to 1/2 cup and drizzle frosting to 1/2 cup icing sugar and 1 1/2 tbsp milk.
    Added chopped pecans to the top. Baked in my gas oven for 40 minutes…after checking at the 25 min mark.

  • Fis
    January 7, 2012

    Sorry for double comment…didn’t see the first post

  • Quinn
    January 17, 2012

    These were two thumbs down at my house. The recipe seemed so simple… Which is probably why they didn’t taste like much. Won’t make again.

  • LY
    April 17, 2012

    Really easy and yummy. Halved the sugar needed for the filling but still too sweet. Will reduce further the next time. A keeper. Thx for sharing.

  • Tiffany
    August 18, 2012

    I’m not a very good baker but I felt like making something today and I found this recipe. Pretty proud of myself given that this was my first time making cinnamon buns. My mom loooooved it! She said it was the best tasting cinnamon bun she had ever tasted, and that meant a lot because cinnamon buns are her favourite! I didn’t use all of the sugar for the topping though because my mom was watching me put the ingredients together and she requested a decreased amount of sugar. Very simple and irresistibly delicious recipe, thank you!

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