There are two types of baked treats for tea time - small items which look highly decorative, and sit on a cake stand for afternoon tea, and the less dainty items which are just grabbed from the cake tin when you need something sweet with your afternoon cuppa. Buns definitely fall into the second category - there's nothing dainty or refined about a cinnamon bun - just sweetness and spice and a feeling of contentment after it's finished.
Although I haven't had consistent success with yeast baking, I have had the best results from Dan Lepard's recipes, so his recipes were my first port of call. I really liked the look of the Lemon and Almond Buns, published in both the Guardian and his recent book, Short and Sweet, but in the end chose the Cinnamon Buns recipe from his column in the Guardian. I think one reason I chose it was because of the incredulity of the commentators on the recipe, about including Ryvita crumbs in the filling! It made me want to reassure myself that of course Dan knows what he's talking about! There was also less butter in the cinnamon bun dough, and I could be cautious about how much I added to the filling. Another reason for using Dan's bread recipes is that his almost 'no knead' method suits my old arthritic joints - if I overdo any physical activity, it's quite likely that any joints involved will be immobile the next day; hands that don't work are not a good thing!
|Buns before proving|
I followed the recipe quite closely, and only made one change to the ingredients. I didn't want the buns to be too dark, so used a 50:50 mixture of light and dark muscovado sugar for the filling. When it came to dabbing a little butter over the dough, I used as little as possible, about another 50g. I think that either my yeast wasn't in the best condition, or my kitchen was very cold, because it took well over an hour for the shaped buns to rise enough before cooking. They also took 25 minutes to cook to a rich golden colour.
The lemon and cardamom flavours were noticable in the plain dough, and the Ryvita crumbs gave some texture to the spicy filling. In a world where there were no worries about fat consumption, I might have added twice as much butter to the filling, to make it richer and stickier, but these were perfectly adequate for an everyday Tea Time Treat.